Singer Duncan James says “people were shocked” when they heard he was gay.

The 35-year-old has been speaking to the Metro about taking part in The Big Reunion – along with the rest of boy band Blue.

Even though Duncan came out three years ago, some of his fans only learnt about his sexuality from watching the ITV show last month.

“People were shocked when they heard I was gay,” the singer said. “A lot of people on Twitter seemed shocked when they saw me talk about it on The Big Reunion but I came out three years ago. It’s funny, because when the story came, I thought everyone knew so I guess that was a misconception.”

Duncan said coming out had been a huge relief. “Still to this day a lot of people are frightened to come out and there is a lot of stigma about it in certain countries but we’re much more accepting in Britain.”

He added: “Most people don’t give a shit if you’re gay, straight or whatever but there are a lot of people who are still closeted and afraid to come out so I hope my little story will show you can do it and nothing bad’s going to happen. You can be proud of who you are regardless of who you have sex with – it shouldn’t mean anything. It’s hard to take that step to come out, I found it difficult, but it was a weight off my shoulders.”

Last month, the singer revealed he had previously dated one of Blue’s male dancers in a secret relationship.