Hours after country music star Ty Herndon told People magazine he is “an out, proud and happy gay man,” another country sensation on Thursday released his own YouTube video with a similar announcement.
Billy Gilman nervously says in the video that Herndon inspired him to come out, too.
“Congratulations on such a courageous effort,” says Gilman, who has a partner of five months, “someone who I am happily now sharing my life with.”
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In 2000, at the age of 11, Gilman debuted with the single One Voice, which became a top 20 hit on the Billboard country charts.
Gilman says in his coming-out video that country music execs today are extremely uncomfortable signing openly gay performers. “After having sold over five million records, having a wonderful life in the music industry, I knew something was wrong when no major label wanted to sit down and have a meeting and listen to the new stuff.”
Gilman’s video, My Story, already has about 170,000 views. His twitter reaction: “Absolutely humbled.”