Fez Marie Whatley, co-host of SiriusXM's The Ron and Fez Show, announced he is gay during his show's Friday broadcast.

Whatley, who has spent 20 years playing a flamboyant gay character on the air, said he was devastated to find out that his fiction had become reality.

“Coming to this realization was devastating,” Whatley said. “After all those years of denying it, it was true. Fez Whatley was no longer a character that I played on the air. He was me. And now it wasn't funny anymore. I was now everything that I joked about. I got depressed … I couldn't make myself be Fez Whatley anymore. I was terrified about being really gay.”

Whatley decided to come out on the one-year anniversary of his father's death.

The 47-year-old radio host added that he had found inspiration in the openly gay comics that have come before him.

“There are too many important issues out there facing gay Americans for me to just be yelling out the occasional protest from the closet. I see comedians like Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Mo Rocca, and most recently Todd Glass, and they haven't lost their sense of humor. They're entertaining and still make a difference in the community.” (The audio is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)