Singer Billy Gilman has 'come out' as a gay man just hours after fellow country music star Ty Herndon opened up about his homosexuality for the first time in a new magazine expose.
Herndon, 51, revealed he is a "proud and happy" gay man in a new interview with People magazine, which was released on Thursday (20Nov14).
The Living in the Moment singer hoped that telling his truth would inspire others who are afraid to come out, and it appears his big reveal touched Gilman.
In a video posted on YouTube hours later, the former child star announced he was gay after learning a photojournalist was hoping to break the story after capturing shots of Gillman and his partner.
Revealing he is "happily sharing" his life with the unnamed guy, Gillman told fans he wanted to break the news to them personally.
He said, "It's taken me a good many weeks as to how to approach this video, but today a fellow country artist and friend made it easier to make this video... Ty Herndon, who I've known and been a fan of, congratulations on such a courageous effort... I wanted my fans who have stuck by me for many, many years to know."
Gilman, 26, explained that ongoing rumors about his sexuality may have cost him lucrative record deals, adding, "In recent years when I did come back to Nashville, there were rumors: 'Is he or isn't he...?' Being a gay male country artist is not the best thing... but, after selling over five million records, having a wonderful life in the music industry, I knew something was wrong when no major record label wanted to sit down and have a meeting and listen to the new stuff. I'd do a showcase in Nashville and no major label showed."
Growing emotional on camera, Gilman added, "It's difficult for me to make this video - not because I'm ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist or a gay person, but it's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this knowing that I'm in a genre and an industry that's ashamed of me for being me.
"I can honestly say I’m scared to death, but I thank each and every one of you for your support. I know some people won't agree with this and that's OK, but I felt it was time to be honest and to be truthful. I love you all and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you."
Gilman became the youngest singer to have a Top 40 hit on the country music charts with his song One Voice in 2000, when he was 11.