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Chely Wright to Frank Ocean

Coming Out is Liberating

But Career-Damaging

7/4/2012 8:33 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Country star Chely Wright -- the first gay country singer to come out of the closet -- tells TMZ, she was moved to tears when she read Frank Ocean's declaration that he's gay (or bi), but she says freedom comes at high cost.
Chely says, "I can't think of a better way for Frank to celebrate Independence Day.  It's spectular."
But Chely also says she realizes many country and hip hop artists and fans have an intolerance toward gays, and it certainly has had an impact on her career.
She says her record sales have dropped to 1/3 of what they were before she revealed in 2010 that she's a lesbian. She also said that a number of venues have made her persona non grata, because they fear fans will boycott her performances.
Chely also notes that no other country star has come out of the closet since she did, but says both she and Frank are forging a path that will eventually allow people to live their lives openly and without shame.

So we gotta ask ...


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Chely Wright is a stunningly gorgeous woman. I'm sad that I would never get to check out her "inner beauty".

811 days ago


Chely Wright has tried to become famous for coming out even though most people hadn't heard of her beforehand and her career was in the bargain bin. Also, she is a nasty and narcissistic person, bringing Brad Paisley and her sexual relationship public. That is why she is shunned in Nashville, not because of her sexuality.

811 days ago


The irony is that people are afraid to come out because they are afraid of public backlash...but atleast with me I feel the more people come out the more the public is understanding of the LGBT community. This kid makes incredible music gay or not.

811 days ago

No Name Jane    

Maybe if she could talk about something else beside her sexuality people would buy her albums. Every interview she gives is all about her being a lesbian. What you do in your bedroom should not be the most noteworthy thing about you.

811 days ago


I'm sorry but Chely Wright is the first country singer to come out as gay. k.d. lang did it way back in 1992. While she's been singing contemporary music since then she was still seen as a country singer at the time.

811 days ago


I am ashamed to share the same world with you homophobic's. People need to stop using the Bible as an excuse to hate gay people. Everyone deserves respect, love and tolerance. What two consenting adults do is NONE of your business. All these Bible thumpin' dumbasses amuse me. Funny how some people let a magical book dictate their lives. You people must really have pathetic lives if you're SO concerned about what random strangers do in the privacy of their bedrooms.

811 days ago


It is finally out who Kim and Kayne are having the Bi threesome with.

811 days ago


As a longtime country music fan, I can confidently say that announcing her sexuality had nothing to do with her recent music sales.

Chely only had one number one song, which was in 1999. She never had another song hit the top ten. The rest of the singles she released barely made it out of the top 40/50 songs on the chart. Furthermore, the last song she had to even chart was in 2005.

It saddens me to hear her put the blame on her sexuality. There are many country musicians who openly support gay marriage, and there are also many fans who support it as well. I'd hate for anyone to base their opinion on country music after seeing Chely's take on it. I really hope she will come to a realization soon and stop trying to put herself back into the spotlight due to her sexuality.

811 days ago


I love music, all kinds. I could not care less about the artist's sexual orientation, only how they sound. Don't know how legitimate her concern is...... I've honestly never heard of her before!

811 days ago


She was NOT the first CW chick to come out! Do not believe her press hype!

811 days ago


Shes basically a one hit wonder with "Single White Female" in 2001. She had a #14 with "Shut Up and Drive" in 1997. She says that coming out hurt her record sales but her last album was in 2005 and nothing made the charts. But she didn't come out till 2010. So her being in the closet some how affected her sales?? She had been dating Brad Paisley 2 yrs before that album dropped.

811 days ago

Huge Richard    

As I believe one poster said, she got more publicity out of her announcement than she had seen for years. TMZ did stories on her, she had articles in major newspapers and magazines, she did interviews on TV. She probably figured everybody would run out to their stores or to iTunes and snap up her music. The bottom line is, it's about the music and hers is just OK at best.

811 days ago



811 days ago


When Chely Wright came out, most people commented "WHO?" She wasn't a well-known country artist to begin with.

811 days ago


Well, I have loved Chely Wright since her Woman on the Moon album came out. She has never been popular in country music but she did have a pretty strong following still as an Indie recording artist, largely thanks to the song "Bumper of my SUV". With that being said, I bought her new album when it came out and I thought it was a terrible album and it made Never Love You Enough actually seem like a spectacular album. She can blame her sexuality all she wants, but announcing she was gay had minimal impact on her career. If she put out quality music, there are still plenty of people who would pick it up.

Adam Lambert for example has been openly gay since he left Idol and his sales have been fine. Melissa Etheridge has continued to have a strong following, despite coming out in the 1990s. If you want to go back before Elton John, Dusty Springfield was well known to be a lesbian and still had a strong following. Sexuality has little to do with success if you put out a quality product.

811 days ago
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