Joseph “Joe” McElderry has come out
gay after an incident with his twitter account.
McElderry won the sixth season of the
UK's singing talent contest The X Factor last year.
Since then, he's climbed to the top of
the UK and Irish Singles charts with his number one single The
Climb. He's currently recording his first studio album with the
help of former American Idol judge and The X Factor
creator Simon Cowell.
The 19-year-old fresh-faced McElderry
told UK tabloid The Sun that he's “proud” to be gay.
“When I was doing X Factor I
genuinely thought I wasn't gay, and then I kind of just got to the
point where, actually, maybe I am,” he said.
“It is a liberating feeling,” he
McElderry insisted that he did not
realize his sexuality until someone hacked his Twitter account and
published a post saying he had been “living a lie.”
He described the experience as a
“I think the Twitter thing was the
point when I realized I was gay,” he said.
He's since told his separated parents.
“OK, fine,” Dad said.
Rumors that McElderry is gay have
persisted on the Internet, but the singer has previously denied such
Since winning The X Factor,
McElderry has been in demand. In addition to recording his first
album, he's also signed a modeling deal with Next Models, and has met
with Disney executives.