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 added.

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 “turning point.”

“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 claims.

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.