US country artist Chely Wright has announced she is a lesbian.
The 39-year-old Kansas native came out after months of rumours about her sexuality.
Wright revealed this week in People magazine that she had prayed not to be gay and had “lied” to herself for years.
She said: “My truth is I’m gay. My truth is that I hid my homosexuality for my entire career.
“I lied every day, I lied to myself for a long time and then when I stopped lying to myself, I still did a lot of lying to my fans and there are a lot of lies to my family and to my friends,” she says.
“Country music is not cool with an openly gay country music artist,” she says. “I read liner notes as if they were bedtime stories; nowhere in there did I read anything about a homosexual.”
Wright added that she invented a prayer she said three times a day: “Just take it away, please, please, please God, don’t let me be gay.”
She said she had considered suicide but then decided to come out after believing that God intended her to be honest.
Wright is releasing her memoir, Like Me, and her new album, Lifted Off the Ground, this week.