To be honest, I don’t know a lot of the specifics around Sam Smith. He’s signed to Capitol Records, which also boasts Mary Lambert on their roster. (MY QUEEEEN.) That alone has a huge impact on an artist’s coming out. Not being in a publicly “debunked” relationship and a poorly managed and handled boy band probably helps, too. As well as not having a disgusting figure behind the guiding force of his career. (Max Clifford, Simon Cowell’s former publicist).
Also, one of his three managers is a man he fell in love with. Elvin Smith. This is only a rumor, apparently, but it’s been reported on in British press/tabloids. A little bit of digging found this DM article. Iiiiinterestingly, this article links Sam to two familiar faces in the 1D fandom: Nathan Sykes (The Wanted) and Ariana Grande.
Oh what tangled webs we weave.