X Factor winner Joe McElderry said he was straight yesterday after a prankster apparently posted a message on his Twitter account saying he was gay.

The 19-year-old deleted a tweet yesterday which said: “It’s been difficult living a lie for so many years.”

Afterwards, he wrote: “Guys my twitter has been hacked!”

He told the Sun he was “straight and single”.

The singer, from South Shields, brushed off rumours about his sexual orientation in December after winning the show.

An ex-girlfriend said he had been subjected to homophobic bullying at school because he preferred singing to sports.

But McElderry said he was straight, although he was still a virgin.

He said: “I’m straight. I’ve had girlfriends, but I don’t have one right now. I haven’t slept with anyone, but I’m a young lad and I’m concentrating on my music.

“I know I’ll probably get offers but for me it’s all about the singing for now.”