Clay Aiken “Probably Didn’t Know” He Was Gay During ‘Idol’

Clay Aiken 'Tried And True'

appeared on ‘The View’ on Wednesday (June 2), where the singer said that he didn’t reveal he was gay when rising to fame in 2003 on the second season of ‘American Idol’ because he wasn’t sure of his sexual preference. “I probably didn’t quite realize then, at the time, what was going on,” Aiken said. “There’s a lot of stuff in the industry, in the media industry, there’s pressure from different sides. I think you have to learn to love yourself first and then when you do that you’re ready.” Clay revealed he was gay in September 2008 for a People magazine cover story.

Watch his ‘Unchained Melody’ performance on the ABC program via YouTube below the cut (an exit interview with Clay and Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go’s has since been removed).

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19 thoughts on “Clay Aiken “Probably Didn’t Know” He Was Gay During ‘Idol’

  1. Mimi says:

    It certainly makes sense. Clay came from a very conservative, Southern Baptist family. I bet he had to come to grips with who he is. Isn’t it great that he now is proud of who he is and advocates for equality. This is a young man who has grown into an amazing man.

  2. Sooze says:

    I love that exit interview and his performance of Unchained Melody. I’m glad Clay is discussing his journey, it’s been interesting. I hope it helps someone who may be struggling with their sexuality. It’s not an easy, one size fits all situation. Each person is unique (imagine that).

  3. Jeff says:

    Thank you for the videos! That is an amazing performance.
    Maybe he will get to co-host. Bring it on!

  4. kallie says:

    Coming out is a personal decision and growing up in a conservative background in NC, there are many who feel it is a choice, an abomination. Of course he was confused. But when he officially, came out, he has been a gay rights advocate and with his humor and literacy is an excellent spokesman. Now he wants to get back to the music and Decca is the perfect vehicle for him. He sounds wonderful on Tried and True.

  5. RIFAN says:

    I saw the show and thought Clay handled himself very well. Wonder when such intrusive questions will cease. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for him—it must have been a very confusing time. Like Clay, I look forward to the day when such announcements will not be necessary.

    His performance of “Unchained Melody” was phenomenal.
    What a rare talent–hope he keeps singing and touring–seems to be what he was born to do.

  6. Sandi says:

    He’s cute, funny, and sings the snot out of Unchained Melody.

  7. Luluasst says:

    Incredible performance! Thanks for these. Also I agree, no one should have to come out. It’s a shame media make it a big deal.

  8. DB says:

    Understandable. When you have been raised to believe you make a choice for your sexual orientation, it must be very confusing to come to terms with being gay.

  9. Pat says:

    Doesn’t matter to me if he’s gay/straight/black/white/blue polka-dotted/or purple-striped. He’s a phenomenal singer and a really nice guy.

    Good luck with your new CD Clay! I’m off to buy my copy today!!!

  10. joanie says:

    I believe Clay when he said he was confused about his sexuality during American Idol. Every gay and lesbian has to decide for themselves when the time is right for them. It’s sad that in today’s society anyone has to publicly state their sexuality, gay or straight.

    I think Clay made the right decision, as he now seems at peace, he’s confident, and seems to be very happy.

  11. Corinne says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated on Clay. The “Unchained Melody” video shows off his awesome voice to great advantage. The rest of “Tried and True” are equally delicious.

  12. Jess says:

    To see how much he has matured over the years and his journey both personally and musically is amazing. He was a bit of a late bloomer in some ways, but he’s beyond that now. His new CD, Tried and True is very well done. Hopefully he will do more of this music in the future and add some new standards written just for him.

  13. Haley says:

    I just love him.

  14. jules says:

    Clay is a good person and an exceptionally talented performer. I love the way he sings Unchained Melody, and I’d be thrilled if he were a guest host on The View.

  15. diane says:

    Unchained Melody was just beautiful. Love the song and they way Clay Aiken performs.

  16. ImGranny says:

    Thank you for the great videos! Clay Aiken’s performance of “Unchained Melody” took my breath away! Just beautiful! Such talent!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Josh says:

    Great performance. Keep killing it Clay.

  18. matt says:

    Am I the only one willing to say what a phony and a liar this guy is?? Of course he KNEW he was gay during Idol…he told Kimberly Locke DURING Idol he was gay! He lied to his Christian conservative fans who BELIEVED he was ALSO a Christian conservative, while he was having secret gay-sex encounters for 5 years! He purposely hid behind the skirt tails of his female fanbase for one purpose – to keep selling them CDs and concert tickets! And now he has the nerve to pretend to care about gay causes when he’s never done a thing for equality, instead he attacks other gays like Adam Lambert in the media out of jealousy because his career is over and his female fanbase is gone! What a pathetic joke he is. Please go away Clay!

  19. Susie says:

    I wish other posters would not be so judgmental. While Clay was figuring out his sexuality and how to live his life, he also had to figure out how to tell his conservative Christian family – he had to risk that maybe they would reject him, maybe the fans would reject him. Did he even fear that maybe God would reject him? It’s not easy making the decision when to come out – or if to come out publicly. Look how long it’s taken Ricky Martin. Clay’s comments on Adam have more to do with style (which again Christian conservatives might find offensive) rather than Adam’s sexuality. Clay’s own performance style is pretty family-friendly. Adam’s sometimes is not, though Adam is phenomenally talented. Clay’s female fanbase is not gone – but he’s no longer being marketed to the Disney/youth crowd, and there’s definitely been a drop-off in his young fans. As a humanitarian, Clay still maintains a very active off-stage role both in UNICEF and in his Foundation, the National Inclusion Project, which has achieved national prominence in developing programs to bring children with disabilities into the mainstream, especially in camp and recreational activities together with so-called typically developing kids. Kudos to Clay for having the courage to become a parent and to openly support gay rights, though he confesses he is late to the table and not deserving of any commendations. He does have a wonderful voice and as a live entertainer, he’s just amazing. Am looking forward to his summer tour with AI buddy, Ruben Studdard. The two are hilarious together – and their voices complement one another. Should be a lot of fun.

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