Clay Aiken says “it doesn’t make any sense” for him to say he’s gay

Update: Clay Aiken came out as gay in Sept. 2008.

In the final part of his Good Morning America interview, Clay Aiken addressed rumors about his sexual orientation by refusing to address them directly. He answered the questions in such a way that allows them to be read two different ways. That is, the interview can be read as him saying he’s gay but won’t talk about it, or it can be read as a sort of “won’t dignify that with a denial” approach.

Because Diane Sawyer is such an enterprising, ethical journalist, she basically let him walk around every hard question, and softballed him on the others. She began by suggesting that the whole world was watching because, she told Clay, “you are ready to come out and say you’re gay.” He replied,

“(laughs) That would not make any sense for me to do that. That doesn’t make any sense. I’ve gotten to a point now where I feel it’s kind of invasive. You know? You know what, forget it. It’s what I do in my private life is nobody’s business anymore. Period. You know? It’s one thing to try to be open and talk to people and try to share as much as I can, and of course I want to do that. But at some point, it becomes just really rude, you know?”

Most notable, perhaps, was that, unlike in previous interviews, such as the Rolling Stone interview from 2003, he didn’t deny that he was gay. In fact, he said it was a mistake that he’d previously done so:

“I was naive, I guess, at the time. I walked out of that American Idol door after being sequestered in a house for 16 weeks into the real world. I think the world was spinning. I mean, I think it was spinning real fast. The room was spinning. It surprised me, I guess, a little bit.”

He did say that “stuff about me that I read in the magazines isn’t true,” but Diane Sawyer, reporter extraordinaire, didn’t ask a specific enough question to give that any meaning. Does that mean John Paulus’ story about their encounter in a hotel room? Or stories about his alleged personal ads on the Internet?

Diane Sawyer asked him, “Are you curious about people’s personal lives?” And he said no–except for, you know, gossip about Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, and Brad Pitt:

“No. No, I’m not. And I’ll tell you why: because I’m so tired of people being curious about mine. [Diane Sawyer: You've never speculated about somebody?] The only time I can remember getting caught up into it was that whole Jennifer-Angelina thing. Just a little bit.

Earlier, he said that he just doesn’t understand why Diane or anyone else wants to know if he’s gay.

“I don’t understand why you want to know. I don’t understand why it’s any of your business. I don’t think you’re rude because I figure, you know, people have a job to do. And yes you have a job, I just don’t understand why people care, to be honest with you. I say, you know what? I’m not spending my time my time with this any more. This is a waste of my time.”

Incidentally, the only time in the interview he used the word “gay” was to answer a question about Jesus. He said, Jesus “loves everybody. Muslim, Jewish, Christian, gay, straight, black, white, everybody.”

Diane Sawyer asked him a very ambiguous final question: “Are you going to be able to hold this position forever, this line, is this final?” Clay said, “I’m very stubborn, so probably so.”

Clay Aiken Says Sexuality, Private Life Are Nobody’s Business [Good Morning America]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.