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Adam Lambert on 'Behind the Music': 'I Was Ashamed of' Being Gay

The “American Idol” alum will share intimate details about his life on the special, airing Sunday, Aug. 7.

Adam Lambert

As one of the few openly gay mainstream pop artists on a major label, Adam Lambert has served as an inspiration to young people everywhere. In a candid interview for Behind the Music, Lambert opens up about realizing his sexuality and overcoming obstacles on his road to success.

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“I think when I was in about sixth grade, that’s when I first realized that I was probably not the same as the other boys,” Lambert admits. “I was kind of in denial for a while and it was all in my own head. And to me it was a deep secret. I was just not ready to talk about it with anybody.”

“I think at that age it was something that I was ashamed of, because it was so different,” he continues. “No one talks about that in school and that’s one of the things that’s so hard about being a young person and realizing that you’re gay, or bi, or whatever. We’re not told that that’s okay.”

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After years of “playing along” through high school, asking girls to dances and following the fashion norms, Lambert is happy with where he is today.

“I wouldn’t want to go through my career hiding anything, or trying to cover something up. It’s just not my style,” he says. “I’m proud of my sexuality.  I have no hang ups.  I have no shame but for me, it’s not about wearing a t-shirt saying ‘gay,’ it’s ‘Adam.’”

The American Idol Season 8 runner up also recalls his college days and making the difficult decision to leave them behind in favor of pursuing his childhood dream.

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“I really sat and I evaluated what I wanted.  I loved musical theater. That’s what I want to start doing.  Since I was a kid that had been my big dream… I want[ed] to be a Broadway star. If you want something, you have to have the courage to go grab it,” he recalls.

Lambert’s revealing special will feature interviews from his mother, Idol victor Kris Allen and RCA exec Barry Weiss, who remembers seeing Lambert's star power early on.

"He felt like an arena artist -- a multi-platinum artist from the first time you saw him," Weiss says. "He's extremely charismatic and he feels like he was built to do this. The biggest challenge [was] how are we going to bottle this and turn this into an album?"

Behind the Music airs on Vh1 on Sunday, Aug. 7th at 10 p.m.