2 Country Superstars come out of the Closet!

It was a big day for country music yesterday, TY HERNDON has officially come out of the closet . . . and his announcement inspired BILLY GILMAN to do the same.  They’re the first two openly gay male mainstream country stars.

It was four years ago when CHELY WRIGHT came out as a lesbian, and there was hope that it would encourage more gay country stars to follow suit but that didn’t happen.  Maybe things are about to change.

Ty, who is 52, opened up in an interview with“Entertainment Tonight” saying, quote, “I’m an out, proud, and happy gay man.  I have an awesome relationship that I’ve been in for a good number of years.  [I] love him very much and he loves me.”

Sadly, he spent a long time hiding the truth.  He’s had two sham marriages with both women fully aware of his sexuality.  He told “People”, quote, “I had people around me that I trusted 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.’  It was unfortunate that I had to do that, but I felt that’s what I had to do to have my career.”

He also struggled with alcohol and drug addictions . . . and was arrested in 1995 for exposing himself to an undercover male cop.  Those charges were eventually dropped.

But it was five years ago when Ty realized it was time to tell the world:  Quote, “During an ANTHONY ROBBINSseminar, I realized I had an incredible story that could possibly help someone’s son or daughter’s life not be as difficult as mine has been.

“Maybe they wouldn’t have to go through as much pain and suffering.  It’s time to tell my truth.”  (Ty’s “ET” interview is in two segments.  One at the top of this link, and the other is about half way down.)

Perhaps the most inspiring part of Ty’s announcement is how it helped Billy Gilman tell his story.  Billy posted a video on YouTube yesterday where he said, quote, “I have a partner [that] am happily now sharing my life with.”

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