Gay pop star Brian Kennedy has revealed why it took him 10 years to come out of the closet.
In his most candid interview yet, Brian said he decided that after a decade of success and being in the public eye, he had to come clean about his sexuality.
He admitted: “I’ve had times when I’ve had to deal with things that are private and personal.
“But I suppose it was about 10 years into my career that I realised that I couldn’t be as personal and private as I had been because it looks like you’re hiding.
“It looks like you’re ashamed of something, which I’m certainly not. I’m the most reluctant role model there is because I don’t feel qualified enough.
“But I wanted to let people know, especially young people, that it's not a bad thing to be gay — it's a good thing to be gay.
“I think if you’re happy and confident about your sexuality then the press tend to ignore it.
“I'd be more newsworthy if I was really f****d up about it.”
The Belfast-born balladeer cited troubled singer George Michael as how not to behave.
He said: “Exactly! I just want to shake him and say ‘George, get back in the studio and make some records!’
“I think deep down there is a little bit of a cry for help going on. It's not happy behaviour.”
“Of course, it’s endlessly entertaining reading about what he’s got up to this week, sorry George if you ever see this, but I think deep down there’s a little bit of a cry for help going on — it’s not happy behaviour.”
The Raise Me Up singer laughed off the media frenzy surrounding his controversial first book The Arrival of Fergal Flynn, which led to speculation that he had slept with a priest.
Brian, 42, said: “I knew before I released it that there would be more focus on the whole gay thing, on my sexuality and all that.
“The press focused on whether I'd had and affair with a priest — sadly, none of the priests around when I was growing up were hot enough!
“There is a great freedom when writing fiction, so I was just having a field day.
“I mean, obviously there are similarities (with the character and I) in that we were both young men, trying to make it in the music business while coming to terms with our sexuality — obviously I’m talking about myself there.
“But then I was able to give the character some great qualities that I was just not brave enough to possess. I wanted the book to be sexually graphic and I wanted to write a book that I would want to read.”
“I wanted to write a book about how sex is honest between two guys.
“Paul Brady's father said a very funny thing after the book came out. He said ‘Jesus, if I didn't know what you fellas got up to, I do now'.
Brian’s next book will be a tell-all autobiography which promises more startling personal revelations.
He added: “Emotionally, a lot of very difficult things are coming up — I’m being very honest about my life to date.”