Country star Ty Herndon comes out as gay

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Country Star Ty Herndon:  I'm Gay

After nearly two decades in country music, Ty Herndon is ready to be honest with his fans: He's gay.

The country star opens up about his past, present and future in an interview with Entertainment Tonight's Nischelle Turner that rivals ABC's country soap Nashville with its real-life drama. Herndon discussed everything from his former drug use, his failed marriages and his current relationship.

"I have an awesome relationship that I've been in for a good number of years," Herndon tells ET in a new sit-down airing Thursday. "[I] love him very much and he loves me."

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Married twice before, Herndon reveals that both of his ex-wives were "absolutely" aware of his sexuality.

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Country star Ty Herndon comes out as gay
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 24: Ty Herndon and Chris McDaniel attends the 2013 Nashville film festival at Green Hills Regal Theater on April 24, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Beth Gwinn/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (L-R) Christopher J. Hanke, Chely Wright, Kristin Chenoweth, and Ty Herndon pose backstage after the 'I Am Harvey Milk' Benefit Concert at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on October 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 24: ty Herndon attends the 2013 Nashville film festival at Green Hills Regal Theater on April 24, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Beth Gwinn/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 08: Ty Herndon Performs at the Aristo Center Stage party at The Stage On Broadway on November 8, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Tony R. Phipps/Getty Images)
Ty Herndon during The 40th Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals at Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JULY 13: Singer/Songwriter Ty Herndon attends the opening of The New Fuse Nightclub at The Gaylord Opryland Resort, hosted by Kid Rock & Kim Kardashian in Nashville, TN. on July 13, 2008 (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)
Ty Herndon arrives at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Ty Herndon rides in the CMA Music Festival's Kick-Off Parade in Nashville, Tenn. on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
LAS VEGAS - MAY 15: ***EXCLUSIVE/MINIMUM PRICING*** Singers Sara Evans and Ty Herndon backstage at the 42nd Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards All-Star Jam held at the MGM Grand Conference Center on May 15, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/ACMA/Getty Images for ACMA)
Ty Herndon, Trisha Yearwood and Toby Keith during The 32nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards - Arrivals and Pressroom at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - APRIL 23: Singer Ty Herndon attends the 32nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 23, 1997 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - APRIL 22: Miss USA 1998 Shawnae Jebbia and singer Ty Herndon attend the 33rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 22, 1998 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - APRIL 21: Singer Ty Herndon attends the 33rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards Artists Reception on April 21, 1998 at the Country Star Restaurant in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Ty Herndon and LeAnn Rimes during 33rd Annual Country Music Awards Artists Reception at Country Star Restaurant in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
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"I had a lot of people around me that I trusted at a time and I was like,'Hey, you know this about me but the world doesn't. So I'm gonna need to call on your services for a little while,'" he confessed. "It was unfortunate that I had to do that, but I felt that's what I had to do to have my career. Standing on some pretty solid legs today, so I get to tell my truth today."

The news brings new meaning to the singer's latest album, Lies I Told Myself, which was released in 2013. Today, Herndon reveals that the biggest lie he told himself is "that I couldn't be gay in country music."

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"I've dreamed about being in country music since I was 6 years old," he said. "It's my life, it's what I do, it's who I am, and I went to great lengths to cover up that fact to be to be a country star."

Rumors surrounding Herndon's sexuality first surfaced back in 1995, when an undercover male police officer alleged that the star exposed himself in a park.

"I wish I had really great recall or memory about that," Herndon said of the allegation. "I think I had been up for like 6 days doing drugs the night and the day was really a huge blur for me."

Now fully clean and sober, Herndon is looking forward to a future with his partner of five years, joking with ET that he hoped a proposal might follow his big reveal. "God, I'm hoping he asks me right after this interview!" he said.

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"I do want children one day, you know," he added. "I do want to be married one day."

But for now, Herndon says he's thrilled to be seeing increasing levels of acceptance in Nashville.

"Traditionally in country music, we don't see a lot of support for the LGBT community, but that's changing so much," he said. "Nashville is changing so much. I mean my goodness... Kacey Musgraves won Song of the Year for [the lyrics] 'follow your arrow, wherever it points' and two amazing songwriters that happened to be gay wrote that song."

Herndon continued, "It gives me a lot of hope that that Nashville is ready for this. I get to be free today. I'm born again today, and I feel like I'm not gonna have any trouble sleeping tonight."

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Tune in to Entertainment Tonight on Thursday for more from our sit-down with Herndon.

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