AceShowbiz - Tevin Campbell has finally come clean about his sexuality. After years-long speculation that he is a closeted homosexual, the beloved former R&B child star has confirmed that he identifies as a gay man.
Tevin, best known for his 1993 hit "Can We Talk" penned by Babyface, talked about his life as a gay man in the music industry during a sit-down on the "PEOPLE Every Day" podcast. "I didn't hide anything about me. I didn't try to act a certain way or anything," he said, but also noted of that era in the industry, "You just couldn't be [gay] back then.
While the 45-year-old said he always knew he's gay, he never really thought about how it would impact the culture and what it would mean to LGBTQ+ representation in the industry. "It was work, I didn't have time to process any of that," he explained. "I knew my sexuality. But I didn't think of the representation that I didn't see in the business. I didn't think about those things."
On his journey to discover himself, Tevin opened up, "When I came out to my family and friends [at] about 19 or 20, that was it for me. And then I went on the road of discovering myself. I didn't know who I was."
Tevin credited his growth to the six years he spent performing in the Broadway musical "Hairspray" beginning in 2004. "Being around people who were like me, LGBTQ+ people that were living normal lives and had partners. I had never seen that," he shared. "That was a great time in my life."
Tevin dropped hint at his sexuality earlier this year when he responded to a Twitter user's question about famous singers who are rumored to be gay. "Tevin is...," he simply wrote along with a rainbow emoji.
Of the chatter that was sparked by his tweet, Tevin said, "It was a casual thing for me." Not bothered by people's response, he added, "I love my fans, but what they think about my sexuality is of no importance to me."
Reflecting on his impact on the culture, Tevin said, "I refer to myself as a former child star because that's just what I am. I don't think the sex symbol thing worked, but the love songs last."
"I had no idea at the time, like when I was 15 or 16 recording this song that it would have that impact," he added of his sultry 1990s hits like "Can We Talk" and "I'm Ready". "I was just a kid singing in the studio."
When asked about his thoughts on successful queer black stars like Lil Nas X and Frank Ocean, Tevin acknowledged, "It wasn't like that in the '90s. But I'm glad I get to see it. I'm glad that's changing. There are a lot of kids, especially young black boys that need to see representation." He added, "They're not being taught to love themselves because of who they are."
Having fully come to terms with his sexuality, Tevin gushed, "What makes me happiest right now is how far I've come in life. You know, there are a lot of child stars that don't make it. But a lot of us do… and the fact that I've embraced me."