Clay Aiken first came out during American Idol, now wants people to “hush”

Almost exactly two years after appearing on Good Morning America to refuse to discuss his sexual orientation, Clay Aiken was interviewed by Diane Sawyer again yesterday (the interview continues today), and this time, the openly gay Clay said that he first revealed he was gay to someone else on American Idol 2.

“When I got on ‘Idol’ and people were cheering me on and being supportive, there you are in an environment that is more open and more accepting and in an environment where you don’t feel like such an outcast. I told Kimberley Locke, who was a fellow contestant with me on ‘Idol.’ She was the only person I’d ever told and she kept it to herself for years and years,” he said.

Now, however, he wants people to “hush.” “I’m not making an announcement of any kind,” Clay said. “I’m speaking about it so people will stop asking questions about it so they’ll know to hush. You’ve got your answer, you know what’s going on.”

Clay also talked about his fan’s reactions, and said, “I’m sure that there are people who will grapple with it, you know. I’m sure that emotions will run the gamut from people who already knew, to people who really believed that it wasn’t true. You know, the best I can do is say that I tried and I know that you know this, as hard as I could over the past five years, never to lie about it.”

That, of course, isn’t quite true. For example, in 2003, he told Rolling Stone, “One thing I’ve found of people in the public eye, either you’re a womanizer or you’ve got to be gay. Since I’m neither one of those, people are completely concerned about me.”

Four Four runs down Clay’s history of statements about his sexual orientation, and notes that “it’s a process and, certainly, one’s road to self-acceptance is no one else’s business…unless it’s made public and paved with potholes for a segment of the population that’s so much more important collectively than your adult-contemporary polluting ass.”

Meanwhile, the man who outed Clay by talking about having sex with him now says he’ll now close his blog after years of harassment from some Claymates who were defending their man’s heterosexuality. John Paulus wrote, in part,

“Today, one might think that I would be celebrating the pain of those who have hurt me. One would be wrong to think such. There is no joy or celebration that rests in my soul. I hurt for each of them as I know their pain. I have only compassion and forgiveness for them. I understand why some have done what they have and never have I harbored any hate in my heart even in the most difficult of times. Life is about forgiveness and I pray that you will one day find it within yourselves to forgive each other. … Words will never express how grateful I am to those who have stood by and supported me through these trying years. I will forever be indebted to you and will never forget all that you have done for me. To those I have hurt, I apologize to each of you from the bottom of my heart. Be strong and may truth be its foundation.”

After Birth of His Son, Aiken Says It’s Time to ‘Let the Guard Down’ [Good Morning America]
New Kid on the Block [Rolling Stone]
The truth has outed [Four Four]

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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.