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Country singer Ty Herndon says he's a 'proud and happy gay man'

Posted at 6:31 PM, Nov 20, 2014

Country singer Ty Herndon reveals he’s gay to both “Entertainment Tonight” and People magazine, confirming decades-long rumors that have followed him through the ups and downs of his career.

The 52-year-old singer tells “Entertainment Tonight” that “I went to great lengths to cover up (being gay) to be a country star.”

The singer says he’s known about his orientation since he was a child, but he has kept that a secret from the general public because he has been determined to be a star in country music, claiming to “Entertainment Weekly” that his career is “my life. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.”

Herndon tellsPeople that he does worry about how the revelation might negatively affect his standing with some of his fans, but adds, “I'm still the same person. Fans just know a little more about me now.”

Herndon went to No. 1 with his first single, “What Mattered Most,” in 1995. His subsequent hits included “I Want My Goodbye Back,” “Living in a Moment” and “Loved Too Much.” His most recent album was 2013’s “Lies I Told Myself,” and he plans another solo release next year.

The Nashville-based singer was born in Mississippi and raised in Alabama.

He cites the growing de-stigmatization of gays in Nashville and the fact that youth still struggle with being gay as reasons for coming out now.

“I’m an out, proud and happy gay man,” he tells People.

Both People and “Entertainment Tonight” bring up Herndon’s past struggles with drug abuse (he says he has been off drugs for many years), and also that he was charged with exposing himself to a police officer in 1995. That charge was dropped, and Herndon says he was under the influence of drugs at the time and doesn’t even remember what happened.

The singer has been married and divorced twice, to women he says both knew he was gay. He has also revealed his orientation to a number of friends and family over the years, but never before publicly acknowledged it.

He tells “Entertainment Tonight” that he has been in a relationship with a man for a “good number of years,” and adds, “I love him very much, and he loves me.”

He says he hopes they can marry someday.