Ten years on from a massive hit single which brought global fame, one half of Russian pop duo tATu has said that it is “weird”, that her country’s government has introduced anti-gay laws, because “a lot of people from the government with the big positions are gay”.

The pair, real names Lena Katina and Julia Volkova, released All The Things She Said back in 2003, and became gay icons worldwide. The video has been viewed on YouTube over 44 million times.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Beast, Katina, 27, reflected on becoming famous at seventeen, and brought up the anti-gay law introducing in Russia in June, which bans the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors.

She said: “The government not a long time ago made a new rule you can’t show that you are gay in public, which is weird—a lot of people from the government with the big positions are gay. Why people can’t be free?… In Russia the situation with the LGBT is still really tough. I think we changed this a little bit.”

Despite the fact that the pair are both straight, they were considered gay icons because of the passionate kiss which takes place in the music video for the song, and because of its themes.

“I looked at it as my role … like a movie. We play in a role in a movie. That was my role. I never was a lesbian. I never was attracted to a girl. I never had that,” she said.

“I had some thoughts, because I was pretending to be who I wasn’t. And then, I was thinking about it a lot, ‘Why am I concerned?’ There are so many actors playing different roles in movies. I will just look at it as a movie. If I am helping people with this role, then why not.”

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.

Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.

The laws have so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka as a form of protest.

On Monday, the Russian Interior Ministry confirmed that recently introduced anti-gay legislation will remain in force during the Sochi games. A petition which has gathered over 150,000 signatures, calls for the 2014 games to be relocated to Vancouver, following the passage of anti-gay laws in Russia.

In an interview last week, a senior International Olympics Committee member said: “Russia must respect the Olympic Charter, or we will say goodbye to them”, broaching the question of relocating the games with the IOC for the first time.

The international football governing body FIFA earlier this week called on Russia to give “clarification and more details” about the laws ahead of the 2018 World Cup due to take place in the country.

The music video for All The Things She Said, is available to view below.