11:31am PT by Joe Lynch, Billboard
Country Singer Ty Herndon Comes Out as Gay
Country singer Ty Herndon has come out as gay in a new interview with People: "I'm an out, proud and happy gay man."
The 52-year-old country singer earned three No. 1 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart in the '90s with "Living in a Moment," "What Mattered Most" and "Man Holdin' On (to a Woman Lettin' Go)." This revelation makes Herndon the first openly gay man in country music with any No. 1 country singles to his name.
"I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. They've been my mistakes, and I own them," Herndon told People. "I've done a lot of work around forgiveness with people that I've hurt and people I've not been honest with because of my sexuality."
Herndon was married twice, divorcing his second wife in the early '00s.
The Mississippi-born, Alabama-raised singer admitted he came out to his family when he was in his 20s. He decided to share his sexual orientation with the world while attending a seminar with life coach Anthony Robbins, realizing he had "an incredible story that could possibly help someone's son or daughter or grandchild's life not be as difficult as mine has been."
Herndon said he knew his sexuality from a young age and struggled reconciling it with his faith.
"I was 10, sitting in church and horrified that I might be a homosexual. Whatever that word meant, I knew that I probably was one. And I know there's a lot of those kids still out there. Telling my story is an opportunity to help just one of them."
Herndon, who has been in a relationship with his partner, Matt, since 2008, is still a practicing Christian.
"I sit on the tailgate of my pickup truck, and I meditate, and I talk to God," he said. "That's really all I need to know. I have a connection to something bigger than myself, and no one's going to tell me that I can't have it.
"[Gay people] can be loved by God, they can be married one day, they can have a family, they can give their parents grandkids," Herndon said. "And they're not broken, they're not sinners and they're perfectly beautiful."
This article was first published on Billboard.com.