An Australian popstar who was accidentally outed by a radio host has spoken of the stress of life in the closet.
Antony Callea was runner-up in Australian Idol and has subsequently had the highest-selling single in Australian chart history with The Prayer.
The singer’s sexuality was blurted out by traffic reporter Vic Lorusso. In March he accidentally revealed on air that his male friend’s partner was in fact the Aussie heartthrob.
The Sydney radio station quickly issued a statement saying that Mr Lorusso wasn’t aware that Mr Callea’s sexuality was a secret.
Mr Callea had been denying gay rumours for the past three years, and publicly stated: “I’m not gay. I don’t know why people say I am. A lot of people just make up rubbish.”
After his outing he gave an interview confirming he is gay, and said that while making the TV show he felt pressure not to come out – he did not want to be the “gay” contestant.
In today’s interview with Australia’s Daily Telegraph, Mr Callea said that he felt more relaxed being honest.
“I used to have this barrier up, part of me was scared. Releasing that weight off my shoulders has made me feel comfortable with myself; comfortable with anyone around me too. It’s a lot easier for me to walk into a room. There are no secrets any more.”
One of the most prominent gay men in Australia, Justice Michael Kirby, praised Mr Callea’s bravery in a speech in April.
“Frankly I’d trade 10 judges for one pop star. I think it’s a wonderful thing that he’s expressed the truth and he’s getting on with his life,” he said.
The judge urged all Australians to “face up to the scientific fact that a small proportion of every society are gay, and that’s just part of reality.”
Mr Callea said the positive reactions from his fans and others surprised him.
“I had so many letters, not only from people like Justice Kirby but from teenagers and 30-year-olds who have gone through the same thing.
“I got one from a 15-year-old boy who said: “I came out to my parents after I read your story, but it wasn’t the best response because they kicked me out of home. Now I’m living with my aunty.”
“Then I got ones from people saying: “If you can do that and you’re in the public eye then anyone can do it.” If it helps one person, that’s great.
“You only live once, so why try to live a completely different life?” he told the Daily Telegraph.