Hank Williams Jr.’s Son, Sam, Opens Up About Coming Out as Gay

by Suzanne Halliburton
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The son of Hank Williams Jr. used a music video to reveal to the world he’s gay. And Sam Williams said he’s hoping his truth will help young folks living in small towns who may struggle with their identity.

Sam released the music video to “Tilted Crown” about two weeks ago. He then sat down for an interview with Apple Music Country’s Proud Radio with Hunter Kelly. It’s a show about country music interviewing LGBTQ artists and allies. People magazine then reported on the interview. And that’s how Sam Williams came out to the world.

The music video shows Sam sitting in a theater as he watches parts of his life play out on stage. There’s someone who looks like he could be Hank Williams Jr. But Sam told Apple Country that the man on stage wasn’t necessarily representative of his famous dad.

The younger Williams said the older man, who wears a cowboy hat in the video, “that’s not necessarily playing my dad, that’s playing society as a whole. (He’s) pointing young kids in direction of like, ‘This is what girly girls do. You wear this pink bow and you go to Sunday service.’ Or, like with little boys, ‘You go hunting…’ [or] ‘This is what you’re supposed to be doing, son.”

And Sam talked more about life with Hank Williams Jr. “My relationship with my dad wasn’t really like that at all. He didn’t push me to be in music. He pushed me go to hunting, I do have to give him that. … I just wanted to clear that up… It’s a little bit hard for me to watch because it’s just so honest, and it just brings back so much, and it’s all there on the surface.”

Son of Hank Williams Jr Said His Family, Friends Knew He Was Gay

Williams said his sexual identity wasn’t a secret to his family, friends or those who manage his career. But he’d never confirmed it publicly until the music video reveal or the interview with Apple Country. The country music genre always has had gay performers. But it’s only been within the last decade or so that some of them have felt comfortable enough to reveal their true selves. In February 2021, TJ Osborne of Brothers Osborne announced that he was gay. He became the first openly gay singer signed to a major country music label to come out. Others like Chely Wright and Ty Herndon enjoyed huge careers in the 1990s before coming out within the last decade.

Sam Williams said that if he didn’t come out, he “was promoting invisibility” and “wasn’t being myself.”

He also said “I identify as gay, and I’ve never said that to anybody else. I mean, people at my label know and people in my personal life know, but this is the first time that I’ve ever been, besides a show or two, that I’ve ever been this public about it. And it is scary, but it feels good.”

Sam is the youngest of five children born to Hank Williams Jr. His mother was Mary Jane, Hank Jr’s wife who died earlier this year. Sam also wrote a song about his grandfather, Hank Williams Sr., early in his career.

Check out the new music video: