Country music stars Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman shocked fans Thursday when they both publicly announced for the first time that they are gay.
Herndon, 52, who revealed the secret he has concealed for decades in an interview with "Entertainment Tonight," said that he's been in a relationship with a man for five years now.
"I have an awesome relationship that I've been in for a good number of years," he told the outlet. "[I] love him very much and he loves me."
Herndon, who has two ex-wives who knew about his sexuality, said that he previously believed it wasn't possible to be gay in country music — something he now knows isn't true.
Kristin Chenoweth and Ty Herndon pose backstage after the "I Am Harvey Milk" Benefit Concert at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
"I've dreamed about being in country music since I was 6 years old," he told Entertainment Tonight. "It's my life, it’s what I do, it's who I am, and I went to great lengths to cover up that fact to be to be a country star."
He believes that Nashville is opening up to the gay and lesbian community and expressed his excitement — and nervousness — in sharing his story.
"I get to be free today," Herndon said. "I'm born again today, and I feel like I'm not gonna have any trouble sleeping tonight."
Watch the country star open up below:
Herndon's announcement inspired Gilman, 26, to release his own video proclaiming that he, too, is gay, according to USA Today.
"A fellow country artist and friend made it easier for me to make this video … and I wanted my fans who have stuck by me for many, many years to know," Gilman said in a YouTube clip, announcing that he's been with his partner for five months and has been contemplating going public for weeks.
The singer went on to allude to the fact that his sexuality has been a barrier to getting his new music heard in the industry.
"It's difficult for me to make this video, not because I'm ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist, or a gay person," he said. "But it's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this knowing that, because I'm in a genre, in an industry that is ashamed of me for being me."
Watch Gilman's video revelation below: