Rob Halford: My Coming Out as Gay on MTV Gave Me ‘Enormous Feeling of Freedom’

Looking back at the time he casually referred to himself as a ‘gay man’ during a question-and-answer session, the Judas Priest frontman claims he has a wonderful memory of the day.

AceShowbizJudas Priest‘s Rob Halford experienced an “enormous feeling of freedom” when he came out as gay on MTV in 1998.

The heavy metal legend admits he never planned to announce to the world that he was homosexual when he casually referred to himself as a “gay man” during the Q&A but once he did, it gave him an “enormous feeling of freedom.”

In an interview with Apple Music’s Hattie Collins, he said, “It was one of those things where I’m at MTV in New York, I’m talking about a project that I was working on [Two with guitarist John 5]… And in the casual course of the conversation… I said something to the effect of, ‘Well, speaking as a gay man, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And then I heard the producer’s clipboard bounce on the floor… ‘Oh my God, he’s come out.’ “

Halford explained that as he walked back to his hotel he thought to himself, “that’s it, now everybody knows.”

“So wow, it was just this enormous feeling of freedom, and the pressure was gone, and there’s no more talking behind your back because you have all this ammunition of power as a gay person now, as an out gay person…So that’s my wonderful memory of my great coming out day.”

Elsewhere in the chat, the 69-year-old admitted he is still unsure whether he would have publicly come out if he had decided to make a more grandiose statement.

“I think if I’d … I still say today, if I’d have really thought this through, like today’s the day I’m going to come out, maybe I even wouldn’t … maybe I may not have come out per se, because it’s still a big moment for so many of us, with a close friend, with someone at school, with mum and dad, with whomever, to actually say, ‘Hey, I’m a gay guy or I’m a gay girl.’ It’s just a big, big deal. It’s just a glorious, glorious moment.”

The “Breaking the Law” rocker added that hiding his sexuality had a detrimental effect on his mental health as the band rose to success, he would hide away in his hotel room for fear of being outed.

“[I thought] ‘Oh, I better not come out because it will upset my mum and dad…it’ll upset my band and my fans and record company,’ ” he said. “I couldn’t go to clubs, I couldn’t go to bars because it was suggested, ‘Don’t do that, because paparazzi might get you and we’ll have to do the cover story’ and all this innuendo.”

“Mentally, on top of being the gay man in the closet, I had all these extra pieces piled onto my life at that time.”

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