I'm gay, says Philippine pop star Charice
Agence France-Presse in Manila
Philippine pop star Charice has announced she is a lesbian, ending weeks of media speculation following a drastic image change where she ditched her teen starlet look and adopted a more edgy style.
The 21-year-old star, who initially found fame on YouTube and gained international recognition through appearances on the American show Glee, disclosed her sexual orientation to The Buzz, a local showbiz talk show. "Yes, I am a tomboy," Charice said on Sunday, when asked if she was gay. Now, I feel free. I can go out of the house without fear and be certain that I'm not stepping on anybody's toes."
"To those who can accept me, thank you very much," she said tearfully.
Charice also said she was estranged from her mother, who raised her single-handedly and entered her in singing competitions when she was young.
Her revelation received positive feedback and expressions of support from Filipinos, with many taking to social media to praise her.
"Have you any idea how many young people you inspired today? More power, blessings and love to you!," tweeted Tony Award-winning actress and singer Leah Salonga, a fellow Filipino international star.
Charice's decision to come out was also praised overseas. "So proud of you!" tweeted US celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.
Born Charice Pempengco, the diminutive pop star has a significant following both at home and in the US, appearing on major television programmes such as the Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show, and playing the character Sunshine Corazon in Glee.
She has also toured globally with award-winning American composer David Foster, and her first international studio album released in 2010 broke into the top 10 of the Billboard 200, in a first for any Asian solo singer.