Shawn Mendes reveals devastating impact of constant rumours of him being gay
Shawn Mendes, the Canadian singer and songwriter behind hits such as Treat You Better and three number one albums, has a very passionate fanbase - but it's not always so healthy. There are plenty of people out there that have focused on one single aspect of him: his sexuality.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the musician revealed that the high level of attention on his personal life has caused him a lot of stress over the last few years, especially given the internet's obsession with proving that he's gay.
There are memes and jokes about him being closeted, videos that analyse his body language, and rampant speculation over how they can 'out' him. This has led to Mendes watching his own videos, noticing these traits such as how he crossed his legs once, and try not to do it again.
“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,” he says. “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.”
Earlier this week Shawn Mendes admitted he had dated Hailey Baldwin, who is now with Justin Bieber, but even his admissions of being straight haven't had much effect on what people think of him. Last year, he read some YouTube comments (never a good idea) about his sexuality, when he decided enough was enough:
“I thought, ‘You fucking guys are so lucky I’m not actually gay and terrified of coming out.’
"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?”
So, he recorded a Snapchat story on the spot, in which he choked up and explained to his followers why they shouldn't spend so much time focusing on his sexuality. “I noticed a lot of people were saying I gave them a ‘gay vibe,’ ” he said. “First of all, I’m not gay. Second of all, it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or wasn’t.”
Unfortunately, the video only made people talk more, with many finding reason to believe he was just covering it up. His anxiety only rose when Taylor Swift texted him to check if it was okay for her to upload a video of her putting glittery eye makeup on his face. He said yes, but thinking of the reaction, soon regretted it.
“I felt sick,” he said. “I was like, ‘Fuck, why did I let her post that?’ I just fed the fire that I’m terrified of.”
Mendes grew up with 15 female cousins, “braiding hair and painting nails," and would make his parents laugh by putting on makeup. "Maybe I am a little more feminine — but that’s the way it is," he said. "That’s why I am me.”