Ty Herndon, whose country music career has spanned two decades, has come out as gay.
“I get to be free today. I'm born again today, and I feel like I'm not gonna have any trouble sleeping tonight,” Herndon told Entertainment Tonight.
The twice married country star, whose charted 17 times on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, said he was in the closet because he was afraid that country music wasn’t ready for a gay star.
"I had a lot of people around me that I trusted at a time and I was like,'Hey, you know this about me but the world doesn't. So I'm gonna need to call on your services for a little while,'" he confessed. "It was unfortunate that I had to do that, but I felt that's what I had to do to have my career. Standing on some pretty solid legs today, so I get to tell my truth today."
Herndon, who told People that he began to come out to family member when he was 20, opened up about his past issues with drugs and his current partner in a candid interview wit ET.
"I have an awesome relationship that I've been in for a good number of years," said Herndon. "[I] love him very much and he loves me."
The 51-year-old singer is hopeful about the future of his career. "Traditionally in country music, we don't see a lot of support for the LGBT community, but that's changing so much," he said. "Nashville is changing so much. I mean my goodness… Kacey Musgraves won Song of the Year for [the lyrics] 'follow your arrow, wherever it points' and two amazing songwriters that happened to be gay wrote that song."
Check out a preview of the interview, which airs tonight, below: