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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Michael Stipe: I'm gay
Michael Stipe
R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe in performance
Rock band REM's frontman Michael Stipe has revealed he is gay, ending speculation about his sexual orientation.

The 41-year-old singer told Time magazine he was a "queer artist" who had been in a relationship with a man for three years.

His revelation comes after years of speculation about his sexuality and false rumours that he had Aids.

Stipe told the magazine he believed it was the right time to reveal his sexuality.

"I was being made to be a coward about it, rather than someone who felt like it really was a very private thing," he told the magazine.

Stipe said he had been in a relationship with "an amazing man" for about three years, adding that he was not a celebrity.

Equal opportunity

In previous interviews Stipe had said he did not think of himself as straight, gay or bisexual and had been in relationships with both men and women, saying: "I'm an equal-opportunity lech."

His frank admission came as the band promoted a new album, Reveal. The album was produced in Ireland.

Peter Buck
R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, facing charges of air rage in court on 18 June
The band's guitarist Peter Buck, one of the founder members of the band along with Michael Stipe, was recently charged with a six offences following an alleged air rage incident on a British Airways flight.

The case was adjourned until June 18 and Buck, 44, was granted bail with a surety of 30,000.

REM's last concert was in London's Trafalgar Square at the end of April when they were the headline act marking South Africa's Freedom Day.

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See also:

11 May 01 | Music
REM's Reveal: Your views
11 May 01 | Reviews
REM reveal all
28 Apr 01 | Music
REM relish Mandela concert
23 Apr 01 | Music
Peter Buck's rich pageant
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