David Archuleta captured our hearts as the baby-faced runner-up of American Idolin 2008. Since then, he embarked on a wildly successful music career and took a two-year hiatus to be a missionary. As the straight-laced, religious young man we've watched him become, it came as a shock to many when he revealed that he was part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Archuleta has since embraced his queer identity, opening up in various interviews about the struggle to stay true to his faith while also staying true to himself. In a new interview with People, the singer revealed the years-long struggle to suppress his identity. Only a month before he came out on Twitter, Archuleta had a revelation while sitting down for dinner with his then-fiancée.
"I was panicking. I didn't move for 30 minutes. I was thinking about having to be her partner and being intimate," Archuleta said. "She said, 'What the heck is going on?' I was like, 'All I know is I can't be around you. I need three weeks. I'm going to work really hard. I'm going too fast. I'm going to pray.'
Archuleta was a member of The Church of Latter Day Saints and was raised to condemn same-sex relationships. "I didn't want to accept that I was into guys," he confessed. The American Idol alum said he dealt with repressed feelings of guilt over his sexuality for years, and it led to the demise of three engagements, all of which were with women. "No matter how hard I tried to marry a girl, it wasn't right. And if you talk to my exes, they'll tell you it was rough."
It has now been almost 15 years since his hit single "Crush" was released. The blissful pop single tells of a crush that he just can't shake. However, he didn't fully understand what he was singing about until he finally kissed a man at the age of 30.
"It felt effortless," Archuleta said. "I was like, 'Oh, so this is what it feels like to like someone.' Now I see why everyone relates to my song."
This cathartic process of coming out has allowed him to embark on a path of self-discovery, intervening before Archuleta could have done something worse. In the interview, the singer also admitted that he contemplated suicide.
"You just start feeling like, 'Oh, there's probably no point for me to live. I probably would be better off not living anyway. God would probably forgive me if I ended my life because it's better than what I could become, which is if I'm gay or LGBT of any sorts, I'm going to be in big trouble spiritually,'" the singer said.
Archuleta is in a much better place now. He said he has since started dating men, although he won't comment on whether or not he's taken.
"I've allowed myself to love myself for everything I am, to not be conditioned to shame myself — and to be not ashamed of who I am feels wonderful," he says, "because I didn't think it was ever okay to love myself."
Below, watch the video for Archuleta's latest single, "Faith In Me."
If you or someone you know is LGBTQ+ and is considering suicide, please contact The Trevor Project here for resources and counseling.
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