ty-herndon-650-430Country star Ty Herndon’s music career took off in the mid-’90s when his hit song “What Mattered Most” put him squarely on the charts. Five years ago, Ty decided that what really matters most to him these days is sharing his story. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, he revealed that he is gay and is in a committed relationship with a man.

Asked if either of his ex-wives are aware of his sexuality, he responded that they “absolutely knew.”

The 51-year-old singer also told People that he’s struggled with his true self since he was 10 years old, and that there were early signs his family picked up on.

“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,” Herndon remembered. “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.”

Ty’s path has not been without its bumps in the road. In 1995 he was charged with exposing himself to a police officer (the charge was later dropped in a plea bargain), and drug abuse played a role in his life as he attempted to live a lie.

“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.”

He and his longtime partner Matt plan to one day start a family together, and Ty remains committed to his music career, though he is unsure of how his large fan base will react.

“[Being gay] is just an addendum. I’m a gay man, and I’m looking forward to living the rest of my life authentically and happy,” he said, adding, “I’m still the same person. Fans just know a little more about me now.”

Ty joins Steve Grand as the only out male country singers.

Ty discusses his decision to come out in an interview with ET below.

 

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