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Sunday, 10 March, 2002, 10:30 GMT
Pop Idol Will: 'I'm gay'
Will Young
Young said the news would not be a surprise to many
Pop Idol winner Will Young has announced he is gay, and said he has never hidden his sexuality.

The 23-year-old TV contest winner, whose first record became the fastest-selling debut single in UK history, said he was very comfortable with his sexuality.

In an interview with the News of the World, the former drama student said: "I feel it's time to tell my fans I'm gay.

I've always been discreet... I'm not a campaigner when it comes to my sexuality

Will Young
"It's totally no big deal, just part of who I am.

"For me it's normal and nothing to be ashamed about. I'm gay and I'm comfortable with that. I really don't know what the fuss is about.

"I'm sure this will not come as a surprise to many people, although I've always been discreet and I'm not a campaigner when it comes to my sexuality."

The Pop Idol's first record, the double A-side Anything Is Possible/Evergreen was released on 25 February and sold more than a million copies within one week, going straight into the charts in the top spot.

'Media pressure'

He remained at number one on Sunday.

I don't wish to talk about it any further... my private life is my private life

Will Young
He later told reporters "media pressure" had led him to talk about his private life.

He went on: "I have never made any secret of this to my family and friends.

"I don't wish to talk about it any further and I hope that people will respect that as my private life is my private life."

The singer is managed by 19 Management, run by ex-Spice Girls svengali Simon Fuller, who created Pop Idol with judge Simon Cowell.

Manager 'relaxed'

Young told the News of the World he had had a long conversation with Mr Fuller about his coming out, and the latter was "totally relaxed and supportive".

The newspaper reported that Young had only ever had two close relationships, and was now too busy for a partner.

Will Young
Young has become the fastest-selling UK artist
Music industry experts have predicted Young could earn 5m in his first year alone.

A Pop Idol tour will see the 10 contestants who reached the final stages of the ITV1 talent search performing at several concerts around Britain during March.

Young is set to sing for members of the royal family and the public at a Buckingham Palace concert to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee on 3 June.

However, he failed to appear on the BBC's Top of the Pops last week despite being available for the show, after producers refused his managers' demands that he sing both tunes on the show. It broadcast a video instead.

Will Young
Will being gay affect his career?
See also:

10 Mar 02 | Music
Young stays top of the pops
08 Mar 02 | Music
Pop Idol managers 'naive'
01 Mar 02 | Reviews
Will takes web by storm
25 Feb 02 | Music
Will Young's solo gamble
12 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Moody makeover for Will
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