EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Country Star Ty Herndon Comes Out as Gay
By Sophie Schillaci
After nearly two decades in country music, Ty Herndon is ready to be honest with his fans: He's gay.
The country star opens up about his past, present and future in an interview with Entertainment Tonight's Nischelle Turner that rivals ABC's country soap Nashville with its real-life drama. Herndon discussed everything from his former drug use, his failed marriages and his current relationship.
"I have an awesome relationship that I've been in for a good number of years," Herndon tells ET in a new sit-down airing Thursday. "[I] love him very much and he loves me."
Married twice before, Herndon reveals that both of his ex-wives were "absolutely" 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 confessed. "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."
The news brings new meaning to the singer's latest album, Lies I Told Myself, which was released in 2013. Today, Herndon reveals that the biggest lie he told himself is "that I couldn't be gay in country music."
"I've dreamed about being in country music since I was 6 years old," he said. "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."
Rumors surrounding Herndon's sexuality first surfaced back in 1995, when an undercover male police officer alleged that the star exposed himself in a park.
"I wish I had really great recall or memory about that," Herndon said of the allegation. "I think I had been up for like 6 days doing drugs the night and the day was really a huge blur for me."
Now fully clean and sober, Herndon is looking forward to a future with his partner of five years, joking with ET that he hoped a proposal might follow his big reveal. "God, I'm hoping he asks me right after this interview!" he said.
"I do want children one day, you know," he added. "I do want to be married one day."
But for now, Herndon says he's thrilled to be seeing increasing levels of acceptance in Nashville.
"Traditionally in country music, we don't see a lot of support for the LGBT community, but that's changing so much," he said. "Nashville is changing so much. I mean my goodness… Kacey Musgraves won Song of the Year for [the lyrics] 'follow your arrow, wherever it points' and two amazing songwriters that happened to be gay wrote that song."
Herndon continued, "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."