'Oprah’s Next Chapter': Jason Collins Talks About Living a Lie and His Next Chapter

The NBA player talks to Oprah Winfrey about coming out in front of the world.

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Just one week after publicly declaring he's gay via a Sports Illustrated editorial, NBA center Jason Collins sat down with Oprah Winfrey to discuss coming out in front of the world. The "Oprah's Next Chapter" host wasted no time landing the interview with the 34-year-old pro athlete, who made history as the first active athlete in major American team sports to come out as gay.

Jason's parents, Paul and Portia Collins, were also on hand for the interview, as was his twin brother Jarron Collins, sister-in-law Elsa Collins, and his aunt Teri Jackson -- the first family member he came out to.

Since his public declaration, Collins told Oprah that he feels that a weight has been lifted from him: "For the past couple mornings when I've woken up, I haven't felt better in my life," he said. "It takes a toll on you when you live a lie. You buy your cover story. But it's tiring."

Part of the NBA player's "lie" was playing the role of a straight man and becoming engaged to former fiancé Carolyn Moos.

In his SI editorial, Collins wrote, "When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue."

He told Oprah, "I was good at perpetuating that lie and wearing that mask. [With Carolyn] I hadn't reached acceptance with myself. ... Deep down, I knew you can't go through with this. Ultimately I made the right decision. I wish that I would have told her the complete truth at that time."

Carolyn Moos told TMZ she was shocked when her former fiancé told her he was gay just a few days before going public with the news. "It's very emotional for me as a woman to have invested [eight] years in my dream to have a husband, soul mate, and best friend in him. So this is all hard to understand," she said. "I care about Jason tremendously and only want the best for him. I want Jason to be happy for a lifetime and stay true to who he really is, inside and out."

Paul Collins told Oprah that he and his wife were also surprised by the news of Jason's orientation and ultimately had to release the dreams that they had for their son.

"I think any parent would have that for a child. Especially since you didn't know the child was gay," Paul Collins said. "You have these things: He'll eventually get married; he's waiting for the end of his career to do that. And you just expect that that's going to happen; he'll have children and whatever that might be. And then you have to... you change from that."

Jason Collins, who is a Christian, says that he was born gay and that his homosexuality is part of God's plan for him. "We're all God's children. God has a plan for us all," he said. "We all share in God's love for each other. For me, it's always been about acceptance and tolerance and that greater understanding of different people's perspectives and accepting them for who they are."

Going forward, Collins has plans to keep his private life as private as possible, but he admits it might be difficult.

"Can you imagine the first time you step out with a partner now?" Oprah asked. "You think you're going to keep that a secret with your 7-foot self?"

"I'm gonna try," Collins laughed, adding, "But now I know that I don't have to worry that when I do step out, I won't be outed -- that I've already raised my hand in the classroom and said, 'yes.'"

"Oprah's Next Chapter" airs on Sundays at 9 PM ET on OWN.

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