The Brothers Osborne musician and his brother, John Osborne, took home the award for Vocal Duo of the Year during Wednesday's ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee. As they got up from their seats, TJ, 36, shared a sweet kiss with his partner, Abi Ventura, before taking the stage.
"He's very, very sweet. He's my boyfriend, [and] he is a cutie," TJ told ET's Rachel Smith backstage after Wednesday's big show.
TJ, who came out as gay in February, said that he had first contemplated whether or not he should bring Abi to the event, because even though he’s out and open, "some of those fears sneak up."
"I was like, 'I hope this doesn't make anyone uncomfortable, but this is how I feel.' I love this person, and I want to be open in every way," he added. "Hopefully [it can] show people that they also don't need to hide or alter themselves in any way."
While TJ was ultimately excited to appear with his boyfriend at the show, he said it was Abi who had reservations, explaining, "He was probably more nervous than anybody and he probably felt incredibly uncomfortable."
However, after his inspiring acceptance speech and powerful performance, TJ remarked on how he "just felt so accepted and loved by my peers."
After the win, the Brothers Osborne took the stage to perform "Younger Me." Before kicking off the performance, TJ shared some heartfelt words.
"For many years I would watch this show, year after year, and I always thought how incredible it'd be and I'd dream of being here on this stage," TJ said. "And there were so many things that were so many hurdles for me. And I always truthfully felt like it would never be possible because of my sexuality to be here."
"And I just wish, I wish, my younger me could see me now," he concluded before his beautiful performance.
In his interview with Time, TJ shared that he's known he was gay since he was young and that he had been out to friends and family for years.
"I'm very comfortable being gay," he said. "I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don't have a problem with. That feels so strange."
While he is comfortable with his sexuality, he acknowledged that more conservative country music audiences might not be.
"People will ask, 'Why does this even need to be talked about?' and personally, I agree with that," he relayed of discussing his sexuality. "But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn't be like, 'Oh, cool!'"
"I want to get to the height of my career being completely who I am," he noted. "I mean, I am who I am, but I've kept a part of me muted, and it's been stifling."