Ty Herndon has been telling people he’s gay for decades, but this week, he finally told People. “I’m an out, proud and happy gay man,” the country star tells the magazine. Herndon says he’s been out to friends and family for a long time but was inspired by a Tony Robbins seminar to come out publicly. He hopes that his announcement “could help someone’s son or daughter or grandchild’s life not be as difficult as mine has been.”
It’s inaccurate to call Herndon the first gay country star — Chely Wright has him beat there — but Herndon is the most successful male artist in Nashville to come out. Herndon had three country No. 1s in the ‘90s, but a 1995 arrest for allegedly exposing himself to an undercover cop hindered his career.