X Factor’s Jaymi Hensley has officially come out as gay.
The Union J boyband member was encouraged by his mentor on the British reality show, Louis Walsh, to reveal his sexuality.
The 22-year-old told The Sun that Walsh said out of the two big boybands he manages there is a gay member so it ‘fits the formula quite well’.
‘Every boyband has got to have a gay one! And Louis just said “do it!”’ he said.
Ever since Union J made it to the live shows, there had been rumors in the tabloid press about Hensley’s sexuality.
He said: ‘I came on to the show not wanting to be judged for my personal life.
‘But people have caught wind of it and I just wanted to set the record straight. It is not a big thing for me — I came out when I was 14 to my family and friends and never had one piece of negativity.
‘It is a brave move. There could be negative people, but they are just sad and stuck 20 years ago.
‘I hope the reaction will hopefully be, “OK, we kind of knew, but well done on coming out”.
‘I don’t want people to think I have hidden this to gain votes because I am so proud of who I am. I hope people respect me for being honest.’
His bandmates – Josh Cuthbert, George Shelley and Jamie “JJ” Hamblett – have known since Union J was formed for this year’s X Factor and supported him.
Hensley said he would love his career to take off to the heights of One Direction, adding ‘not enough people in the music industry are open about their sexuality’.
He has been in a relationship with his hairdresser boyfriend, 21, for three years. He revealed the pair are planning to marry and have kids.
When Hensley was asked if he glad he came out, he said: ‘I’m gay and I’ve never been happier!’
The X Factor continues tonight (18 November).
Check out Union J singing Adele’s Set Fire To The Rain here: