After facing years of rumors, R&B singer Tevin Campbell is sharing his truth.
In the latest episode of People magazine’s “People Every Day podcast,” the former child star confirms he is gay.
“What makes me happiest right now is how far I’ve come in life,” he said in the interview, “I’ve embraced me.”
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Campbell, 45, topped the charts and became a household name back in the 1990s.
“You just couldn’t be [gay] back then,” he said in the interview while noting, “I didn’t hide anything about me. I didn’t try to act a certain way or anything.”
The Waxahachie, Texas, native was discovered by talent manager Benny Medina at age 12, and mentored by Quincy Jones.
His debut album T.E.V.I.N. went platinum. It was followed by more success with his double-platinum-selling sophomore album, I’m Ready, released in 1993. Campbell had a string of hit singles, including “Tell Me What You Want Me to Do,” “Round and Round,” “Just Ask Me To” and “Can We Talk,” and he was nominated for five Grammy Awards.
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His third album did not perform as well and his music career began to cool. Campbell said that’s around the time he began a journey of self discovery.
“When I came out to my family and friends [at] about 19 or 20, that was it for me. And then I went on the road of discovering myself. I didn’t know who I was,” he said.
The chart-topping singer then pivoted to a career on Broadway and spent six years performing in the musical “Hairspray” — something he said helped him become more comfortable with himself.
“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.”
In 2018, Campbell became a trending topic on Twitter with users questioning his relevancy and his sexual orientation. He dismissed the homophobic comments and said he had heard them all before.
“Y’all homophobes gotta do better,” the singer wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay took notice of the comments and responded with a post saying she was “rebuking any Tevin Campbell slander.” She added that she was “plotting to write him into an episode of Queen Sugar.”
In a March 2019 tweet, the OWN network posted a video on Twitter revealing DuVernay had indeed written a part for Campbell in the series.
“I’m on the set of Queen Sugar, baby,” Campbell said in the clip. “And I had a talk with all the characters. We’re not going to get into that. This is so exciting for me and I want to thank DuVernay, Ava DuVernay. She’s a doer, she kept her word.”
“@Ava is a doer, she kept her word.” Welcome to #QueenSugar, Tevin Campbell— stay tuned! ? pic.twitter.com/jKKUcBreyO
— Queen Sugar (@QueenSugarOWN) March 19, 2019
The image above is from Campbell’s Instagram page.