Singer Melissa Etheridge has said coming out gay has helped her career.

The 51-year-old Etheridge, who came out in 1993, discussed her coming out during an appearance on cabler E!'s late night talk show Chelsea Lately.

“I was known [before I came out]. I had three albums out, and they did okay. They did like a million, which is great. And then I came out and that next album sold like six, seven, eight, nine, ten million. So, I did okay,” Etheridge told host Chelsea Handler.

“Actually, it's all just a publicity stunt. I'm not really gay,” Etheridge joked.

She went on to explain that she “learned the truth at 17” and found early success earning a living singing in lesbian bars in Los Angeles, but when she signed to a music label they did not promote her sexual orientation.

Etheridge added she decided to make a formal announcement after an interviewer “changed all my pronouns in the interview to my boyfriend.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)