In a Billboard interview, out singer Darren Hayes credits Adam Lambert for increasing LGBT support in pop culture.

The 45-year-old Australian singer was the frontman of the pop duo Savage Garden until its breakup in 2001. The following year, Hayes released his first solo album, Spin.

Hayes, who entered a British civil partnership with Richard Cullen in 2006, told Billboard about how he learned about his sexuality.

“The first time I consciously knew I might be gay was sometime during promotion for the first Savage Garden album,” Hayes said. “I was traveling the world and meeting obviously gay men, or men that were gay, but didn’t fit the small stereotype the media had portrayed to me. I remember thinking maybe I was gay but I didn’t do anything about it. At my Australian record label I recall having what I thought was a secret crush on an advertising executive named Justin. I thought no one knew.”

“My publicist at the time got me aside and bluntly asked me, 'Are you gay?' I was so taken aback. I showed her my wedding ring and said 'I’m married!' and she said, 'How come you blush every time Justin walks in the room?' It was the first time anyone had ever seen behind my facade, exposed something so secret that I didn’t even admit it to myself.”

“That’s when the conversation started, and truthfully it was a painful journey. I didn’t want to be gay. I loved my wife, we were trying to have children and I knew I was going to lose the fantasy of a white picket fence and the family I wanted that I’d never had as a child. It was a year of marriage counseling and conversations with our families before we realized I had to live a different life. I came out before I’d even held a man’s hand, let alone kiss a man!” he added.

When asked, “What do you think was the most groundbreaking event in pop culture that has helped this shift towards LGBTQ acceptance since 2000?” Hayes answered: Adam Lambert on American Idol.

“Hands down. He smashed down the door of the closet. I loved Adam’s image. It was an extension of his sexuality. It was bold and unapologetically theatrical. He expressed himself loudly, dramatically, and did not give a damn whether it was palatable to conservative values. I loved that he wore makeup, nail polish and experimented with his hair. He didn’t have to come out because he was never in. I think his success proved you can be out, proud and successful by beginning your career presenting yourself as authentically as possible,” Hayes said.

Hayes currently has two comedy podcasts – The He Said He Said Show and We Paid To See This – and is writing an original musical.