(EDGE) In a new and lengthy interview with Rolling Stone magazine, pop singer Shawn Mendes opened up about the persistent rumors regarding his sexuality.
In the piece by Patrick Doyle called "Shawn Mendes: Confessions of a Neurotic Teen Idol," the "Stitches" singer talks about bringing model Hailey Baldwin to the Met Gala and then learning a month later she was engaged to Justin Bieber, whom she previously dated.
"I texted Hailey, 'Congratulations,' and I really am happy for them. She's still one of the fucking coolest people ever — she's not just a beautiful person visually, but she's one of the most beautiful hearts I've ever met," he told Rolling Stone. Doyle then writes, "It seems like he might be about to say something more about how it all went down, but he stops himself. 'I think I'm an idiot to not, you know...But you can't control your heart.'"
The conversation then goes into Mendes' personal life, which he says all the attention stresses him out.
"I'd like to say I don't care about it, but that's not true," he told the magazine. The singer then opens up about rumors he's gay.
"This massive, massive thing for the last five years about me being gay," he said.
Doyle points to the extreme fan speculation about Mendes' sexuality, including memes that put the singer with jokes about being closeted and videos that examine his physical gestures.
"On some parts of the Internet, outing him has become a spectator sport," Doyle wrote. "Mendes often finds himself watching his own interviews, analyzing his voice and his body language. He'll see an anonymous stranger comment on the way he crossed his legs once and try not to do it again. He pulls out his phone to show me his Twitter account — his name is the only recent search."
"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," Mendes told Rolling Stone. "Even though in my heart I know that it's not a bad thing. There's still a piece of me that thinks that. And I hate that side of me."
He explained he was reading YouTube comments about his sexuality last Christmas and that's when he decided to speak out.
"I thought, 'You fucking guys are so lucky I'm not actually gay and terrified of coming out,'" the pop star said. "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?"
He then recounts his Snapchat video:
"I noticed a lot of people were saying I gave them a 'gay vibe,'" he said at the time. "First of all, I'm not gay. Second of all, it shouldn't make a difference if I was or wasn't."
Doyle writes that "the video only made people talk more. Mendes mentions a text he got just the other day from Swift. They've been friends since she took him on her 1989 tour when he was 16.
"He remembers those shows fondly — how she showed him the ropes of performing at arenas and stadiums, how she'd line up her trucks in the shape of a diamond and throw huge barbecues inside with soccer games and flip-cup. ('I wasn't drinking,' he says. 'I was just playing with water, obviously.')," Doyle adds.
Mendes then recalls about a moment when Swift asked to post a video of herself and him hanging out backstage at her Reputation tour where she put glittery eye makeup on his face. He told her it was fine that she posted it but later woke up in a cold sweat.
"I felt sick," Mendes told Rolling Stone. "I was like, 'Fuck, why did I let her post that?' I just fed the fire that I'm terrified of."
Nevertheless, the singer confessed he was ultimately fine with Swift's video. He said as a kid he'd put glitter on his eyelids to make his parents laugh and grew up with 15 female cousins, "braiding hair and painting nails. Maybe I am a little more feminine — but that's the way it is. That's why I am me."