Shawn Mendes opens up about the stress of gay rumors

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Singer Shawn Mendes got candid about the stress the public’s interest in his private life has caused him specifically about “this massive, massive thing for the last five years about me being gay.”

The 20-year-old singer spoke with Rolling Stone on the pressure he’s felt to “prove” he’s not gay.

“In the back of my heart, I feel like I need to go be seen with someone—like a girl—in public, to prove to people that I’m not gay. Even though in my heart I know that it’s not a bad thing,” the “In My Blood” singer says. “There’s still a piece of me that thinks that. And I hate that side of me.”

The speculation pushed Mendes into extreme paranoia. While on Taylor Swift’s tour, Swift asked Mendes if she had permission to post a video of Mendes having glittery eye makeup applied. Mendes agreed but soon after “woke up in a cold sweat.”

“I felt sick,” Mendes says. “I was like, ‘Fuck, why did I let her post that?’ I just fed the fire that I’m terrified of.”

However, he acknowledges that he is in touch with his feminine side because he grew up “braiding hair and painting nails” with his family.

“Maybe I am a little more feminine — but that’s the way it is. That’s why I am me,” he adds.

Mendes also says the constant questioning of his sexuality would be potentially damaging to his mental health if he was gay.

“I thought, ‘You fucking guys are so lucky I’m not actually gay and terrified of coming out.’ That’s something that kills people. That’s how sensitive it is. Do you like the songs? Do you like me? Who cares if I’m gay?” Mendes continued.

Mendes has been addressing rumors that he’s gay for a couple years. In 2016, he shut down the speculation in a series of Snapchat videos.

“First of all, I’m not gay. Second of all, it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or if I wasn’t. The focus should be on the music not my sexuality,” Mendes said at the time.

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