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Singer Ty Herndon Comes Out as Gay

Ty Herndon
Mike Coppola, Getty Images

Popular ’90s country singer Ty Herndon has revealed that he’s gay.

‘Entertainment Tonight’ leaked the news on their website seemingly by accident just hours before the television show was to make the official announcement. On Wednesday, the program teased that a twice-married country male would be coming out as gay during Thursday night’s show. A video thumbnail with the words “Country Star Ty Herndon – I’m Gay” began appearing near the bottom many of the site’s pages Thursday morning (Nov. 20).

A bit later in the day, ET posted their exclusive sit-down interview with the singer, in which he confirmed the rumors that have been swirling about his sexuality since the peak of his success in the ’90s.

Herndon’s biggest hits were his debut single ‘What Mattered Most’ (1995), ‘Living in a Moment’ (1996) and ‘It Must Be Love’ (1998). His most recent album is titled ‘Lies I Told Myself,’ and he says the biggest lie he told himself is “that I couldn’t be gay in country music,” adding, “I’ve dreamed about being in country music since I was 6 years old. It’s my life, it’s what I do, it’s who I am, and I went to great lengths to cover up that fact to be to be a country star.”

Fans may remember that the singer was arrested in 1995 for allegedly exposing himself to an undercover policeman in Fort Worth, Texas. According to reports, the officer said Herndon began pleasuring himself when asked, “What do you like to do?” He denied the charges, saying he was simply going to the bathroom, and the indecency charge was later dropped.

“I wish I had really great recall or memory about that,” Herndon says. “I think I had been up for like six days doing drugs. The night and the day was really a huge blur for me.”

The singer checked himself into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center shortly after the incident. Now happily clean and sober, he is also in a stable relationship after two failed marriages.

“I have an awesome relationship that I’ve been in for a good number of years,” Herndon reveals. “[I] love him very much and he loves me.”

He adds that both of his ex-wives were aware of his sexuality.

“I had a lot of people around me that I trusted at a time and I was like, ‘Hey, you know this about me but the world doesn’t. So I’m gonna need to call on your services for a little while,'” he admits. “It was unfortunate that I had to do that, but I felt that’s what I had to do to have my career. Standing on some pretty solid legs today, so I get to tell my truth today.”

Now 52, Herndon says he would like to marry and have children someday. For now he’s just happy that country music is demonstrating more acceptance for gay musicians and writers.

“Traditionally in country music, we don’t see a lot of support for the LGBT community, but that’s changing so much,” he observes. “Nashville is changing so much. I mean my goodness… Kacey Musgraves won Song of the Year for ‘follow your arrow, wherever it points,’ and two amazing songwriters that happened to be gay wrote that song.”

He adds, “It gives me a lot of hope that that Nashville is ready for this. I get to be free today. I’m born again today, and I feel like I’m not gonna have any trouble sleeping tonight.”

With this announcement, Herndon becomes the second country singer with multiple hits to come out as gay, following Chely Wright‘s reveal in 2010.

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