After years of speculation and rumors, R&B legend Tevin Campbell sets the record straight on his personal life.
In the latest episode of PEOPLE Magazine’s People Every Day podcast, the 90s heartthrob officially confirms that he is a gay man and offers insight on what finally led him to open up to his fans.
“What makes me happiest right now is how far I’ve come in life,” he said. “You know, there are a lot of child stars that don’t make it. But a lot of us do … and the fact that I’ve embraced me.”
As reported by Billboard, rumors about Campbell’s sexuality have been floating around throughout his 30-year career. However, things came to a head earlier this year, when he posted a since-deleted tweet that said “Tevin is…” followed by the rainbow flag emoji. He explains that while he did not keep his identity a secret from those around him, the music industry didn’t really allow him that same luxury in public back then. “I didn’t hide anything about me. I didn’t try to act a certain way or anything,” he said. “You just couldn’t be [gay] back then.”
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The major turning point came in 2005 when Campbell’s starring role as Seaweed J. Stubbs in the Broadway musical Hairspray finally gave him the opportunity to embrace his true self. “Being around people who were like me, LGBTQ+ people that were living normal lives and had partners. I had never seen that,” he said. “That was a great time in my life.”
The “Can We Talk” singer also gives props to queer entertainers like Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X for breaking down doors for LGBTQ+ acts to find success in music while being openly themselves. “It wasn’t like that in the ’90s, but I’m glad I get to see it. I’m glad that’s changing,” he said. “There are a lot of kids, especially young Black boys that need to see representation. They’re not being taught to love themselves because of who they are.”
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