American Idol runner-up and Broadway actor Clay
Aiken announces he is gay on the cover of People
magazine's next issue, out Friday.
recently became a father to a baby boy with friend and
record producer Jaymes Foster, whom he met while
performing on the show that launched his
career. His son, Parker Foster Aiken, was born in
"I cannot raise a
child to lie or to hide things," he says, according to
the People cover.
orientation has been the subject of much tabloid
discussion since the musical sensation left American
Idol's second season as runner-up to Ruben
Studdard. Though members of the press have prodded Aiken
with questions about being gay, he
has steadfastly refused to reveal his sexual
orientation; in 2006 he called Diane Sawyer "rude" on
Good Morning America for even asking.
Also in 2006,
talk-show host Kelly Ripa caused an uproar when Aiken, who
was guest-hosting Live With Regis and Kelly
with Ripa, put his hand over her mouth so he could interject
in an interview with Dancing With the Stars'
Cheryl Burke and Emmitt Smith. Ripa pulled away,
saying, "Oh, that's a no-no. I don't know where that
hand's been, honey!"
then a cohost on The View, said she took
offense to the incident. "To me, that's a homophobic
remark," O'Donnell said on the show. "If that was a straight
man, if that was a cute man, if that was a guy that
she didn't question his sexuality, she would have said
a different thing."
that Aiken had been shaking hands with people and
that it was flu season at the time.
Later that year a
Green Beret claimed to have had a sexual encounter with
Aiken in the National Enquirer. He later
apologized, saying he should not have told his story without
Aiken took a
leave from absence from his role as Sir Robin in Broadway's
Spamalot earlier this year. He will reprise his
role from September 19 to January 4.