British singer George Michael has said that coming out gay has made his life more difficult.

Michael on Tuesday released Symphonica, his first studio album in seven years, which was recorded during his 2011-2012 Symphonica tour of the UK and Europe.

In comments to the BBC, Michael, who was forced to come out after a 1998 arrest for lewd conduct in a Los Angeles men's room, said he wouldn't judge someone for not coming out, “because it's about family.”

“For some strange reason, my gay life didn't get easier when I came out,” Michael said. “Quite the opposite happened, really. The press seemed to take some delight that I previously had a 'straight audience,' and set about trying to destroy that. And I think some men were frustrated that their girlfriends wouldn't let go of the idea that George Michael just hadn't found the 'right girl.' Which is what a lot of my extended family still think!”

“In the years when HIV was a killer, any parent of an openly gay person was terrified. I knew my mother well enough that she would spend everyday praying that I didn't come across that virus. She'd have worried like that,” Michael said of coming out.

Symphonica is available at Amazon.