Blue star Duncan James has revealed how difficult he found it to publicly open up about his sexuality.
The singer came out as gay over 10 years ago following a difficult period of mental health struggles.
Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy as he works with Fairy on their FAIR campaign alongside LGBTQ+ youth charity akt, he said: "It was a very different world. Tabloids were still doing stories about people being gay, it was still something very sly."
Speaking of his biggest worries before coming out, he added: "I think for me I was worried I'd lose a fanbase, being in Blue and having a predominately female audience. I was worried I'd let the boys down.
"I was worried that I'd let my mother down, I was worried my friends and family would reject me and I had all these fears that you allow to build up until it becomes a huge thing inside, when really it's not a huge thing at all.
"I allowed all of those anxieties to become sandbags that were weighing me down and were giving me mental health issues.
"I was going to see a psychiatrist, I was put on medication to make me feel better and all this because I knew I liked guys. It was something I found very, very hard to talk about."
He added: "I had a new baby at the time, that was a big worry. How would the mother of my child's friends and family respond to it?
"Claire [Grainger] knew before my daughter was born that I was gay, it was still something I was worried about.
"What is everybody going to think was my main concern, rather than worrying about my own happiness in that respect. I was frightened of letting down other people rather than allowing myself to be happy.
"I felt a lot of pressure in myself, I thought I can't come out because I won't be accepted or I'll be kicked out the band. It's extra things that you put in your head, and the extra pressures you put on yourself to believe."
The former Hollyoaks star added that, in hindsight, he wished he had come out sooner. "It wasn't the right time," he reflected. "Everything happens for a reason, timing is key with everything and you feel that you have to come out when you’re good and ready."
Duncan revealed his sexuality in a newspaper interview, but left the country when it was published.
"I couldn’t deal with he potential backlash," he said. "I was scared and I wanted to run away. I thought I was going to get gaybashed walking down the street, people calling me f***ot. I thought I was going to get beaten up and I was so scared."
"Actually, the outcome was nothing more than wonderful, and for the first time I felt like those sandbags had been lifted. I was actually happy and that was a really good feeling."
Fairy are launching a limited edition FAIR range, available from leading retailers throughout July 2019. A donation of £50,000 will go to akt.
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