Michael Stipe has revealed he is gay.
The R.E.M frontman has rarely felt the need to publicly discuss his sexuality before, but thinks now is the right time to do so.
He said: “It was super complicated for me in the ’80s. I was totally open with the band and my family and my friends and certainly the people I was sleeping with. I thought it was pretty obvious.
“I didn’t always see that. But I see now, of course that’s the case, of course that’s needed. I’d just never felt strongly enough about a particular relationship to say, ‘Yeah, he’s my boyfriend, that is what it is.’
“Now I recognise that for public figures to be very open about their sexuality helps some kid somewhere.”
Michael, 48, also revealed he feels much more comfortable about his writing ability now he is older.
The singer started his career writing about himself but now realises he can connect with his audience without baring his soul.
He added to Spin magazine: “There are songs I wrote in the past that were gender-specific. 7 Chinese Brothers was about me breaking up a couple – and then dating both of them, a man and a woman, which is a terrible thing to do, but I was young and stupid.
“At the time I was writing about what I knew, and what I knew was myself. I found out I’m not that kind of writer. I think I’m better when I write about things that are not me.”