Don Philip: Why I Had To Tell Britney Spears I’m Gay

Posted on June 20th, 2012 at 4:29 am

When Don Philip sang "I Will Still Love You," with Britney Spears in 1999, he was a tormented soul struggling with his sexual identity.

Although Don had a recording contract at the age of 19, he gave it all up because he didn't know how to face being gay. "I was going through some deep inner demons," he tells RumorFix.

So on Sunday when the now 32-year-old auditioned for X Factor at the Oracle Arena in San Francisco, 13 years of emotions rose to the surface -- and Don did something he wasn't brave enough to do back then: he announced to Britney and the country that he's gay.

Here's how that happened.

PICTURES: Britney Spears Debut As New Judge On "The X Factor"

When Britney recognized Don as her former duet partner, fellow judge Simon Cowell asked, "Where have you been?" Don says the question was extremely symbolic for him. Where had he been? "I've been learning to love myself and all the things that go with that," he tells us exclusively.

But, he wasn't ready to tell that to Simon. So when L.A. Reid grilled him with, "I know you have a secret. I know you have a secret," Don finally let it out."The secret I have is that I'm gay -- and it's the answer to everything," he told the judges. "It's what's held me back!"

PREVIOUS: 'X Factor' Drama: Britney Spears And Demi Lovato's Bitter Feud

His struggles with being gay flashed through his mind -- trying to get his mother's acceptance, thoughts of suicide and the need to feel loved.

"I've never been able to give an answer until now. It may sound like a small reason, but it's a big f***king reason -- being gay and scared. The scared part never leaves."

Don says he botched his audition after that. "I just had this Aha moment -- I had nothing left."

Since Don's brave coming out party was reported, he's received thousands of letters and emails from kids saying "Thank you for being brave, maybe I can be brave too." Don says, "How powerful is that?"

Don says his gay announcement may mean the end of his music career, but he says it's OK because, "I feel good. I feel free."

Don asked us to mention his favorite charity, He Cares Foundation, which builds homes for children in Manila.

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  • 17 Responses

    1. Discseller says:

      why would be gay end his music career? tons of people in the entertainment industry are gay.

      • Brendan says:

        Tons of people who are NOT in the entertainment industry (i.e., people who buy and listen to your music) aren’t gay, and some are homophobic. So… yeah… it could very much ruin one’s career, though I’m hoping the world is changing fast enough.

      • BrandonM says:

        Tons may be gay but only a handful are out and most of those came out only after they were established superstars, doing so only at the point they were about to be outed by a tabloid. There is still intense pressure to remain closeted because this country is so intensely polarized and hateful over sexuality.

    2. Swimrec21 says:

      What a douche. Why do people let being gay define them? 

      •  The problem is that society defines people as gay. He’s not a douche. If you have this “label” stuck on you through all your life, knowing that you’ll always be a gay singer, a gay doctor or gay lawyer, simply because you can’t just be perceived as “singer”, “doctor” or “lawyer”, it’s gonna be pretty hard to let go of this kind of feeling.

      • BrandonM says:

        Singers are defined by the songs they sing; pop singers almost exclusively sing about romance, sex, and breakups. It’s bloody hard to find 10 or 12 songs to put on an album that don’t have pronouns signifying you’re singing specifically about or two a person of a particular gender. And it’s expected that girls will sing about guys and guys will sing about girls.

        Everything in this world is heteronormative; we don’t even realize how many things in popular culture and day-to-day life are disclosures or expectations of heterosexual relationships.

        While lipstick lesbians kissing or having porny sex are a fantasy for some straight guys, virtually all straight guys and most straight women now (and even more 15 years ago when he was recording) are completely thrown and turned off by gay guys. This is more true in this country than overseas. Boybands and that style of singer were marketed equally to gays as to straights in the UK, and Japan actually likes androgyny, but the U.S. is intensely homophobic, with evangelical interest groups that take it upon themselves to wipe all evidence of homosexuality out of the world.

        Singers like Don Philip were marketed to the same audience as Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, which is basically tweens, though grade schoolers and adults were part of the mix as well. That makes it even more challenging to come out, with overprotective parents thinking their kids or their peers aren’t already gay and this will be some sort of indoctrination. Record companies and managers know this, and are not eager to spend money on talent that could bite them in the ass, no pun intended.

        • Bnabes says:

          Comments not stories please

        • Don Philip says:

          Wow couldnt have said it better my friend.. Coming from a very religious background and pressured by my label to keep my sexuality a secret ..from the highest up proved to be to much for me. at the time.. I am so much better now. I would not have chosen to come out in that manner but I felt the pressure. I am so glad today to be okay fresh and whole.. thank you for this posting.. Don Philip NEW music is coming..

    3. Way2Go says:

      I think he was in love with Britney Spears. She broke his heart and now tells her he is gay and maybe ruining his own singing career because he can’t be with her.

      • Jordan Lawrence says:

        As hurt as he looked, I think he really genuinely just wanted another shot at a singing career, but his emotions got the best of him. As a bi-curious male, for lack of a more significant box to put myself in, I had …Baby One More Time and listened to it religiously in my early teen years. I didn’t even really think about boys at the time, not until later really–but this post isn’t about that. The point is, when I saw him come onscreen tonight on X, a million things flashed across my mind as I was seeing his emotions and feeling his remembrance… how heartbroken he looked when they said no. That wasn’t about him and Britney. It might be easy for you to imagine all that…but honestly none of us can really know what kind of relationship Britney and Don had as recording buddies, especially in those early years. It’s silly to speculate where there is no respectable room to do so. You don’t lie about coming out, just to hide your broken heart, and then tell the whole country.

    4. fromatwelveyearold says:

      andy warhol was gay, yet he’s the most famous modern artist of all time.. 

    5. Bluebird says:

      Sorry to be rude but he seemed to be mentally unstable or depressed when I watched his audition. Is he obsessed with Britney or something?

      But I feel for the guy. Really sad what happened to him. I hope that he can recover from his sadness and get his real gift back.

    6. Jeff says:

      He is obsess with Britney. Having you seen his FB. HE’S A MESS

    7. "I'll Leave It Up To You" says:

      He should not have given it all up. He should have just gone with the flow, explored his sexuality as a young lad. I mean, he was 19 years old for crying out loud. He must have been somehow forced out of the music industry. Britney must have known something about it. I guess that was how the bond started (as recording artistes) and what he was trying to recreate on X Factor stage but broke down in tears instead (he was probably just overwhelmed with the fact that he was standing on stage recapturing those moments as an artiste). He looked distraught. I hope he will make a strong comeback once he is ready to accept who he really is and be brave about it. Good luck, Don!

    8. sandy gavin-atkinson says:

      What a liar this guy is. All he did was talk about irrelevant stuff that had nothing to do with the question Simon asked about what he’d been doing for the last 10 years which is why Simon had to ask the question 4-5 times. Don kept saying….” I had to learn to love myself”….”I accepted myself”….”When you sing with truth” blah, blah, blah. Simon kept telling him he wasn’t asking about his mental state and told him to stop talking to him like that and to tell him what he had been physically doing for the last 10 years meaning as a job. His oddball behaviour had the effect of Simon finally giving up asking the question, the audience booing him, and L.A. Asking him what he was hiding. All of Dons lies were exposed when the unedited cut of the audition was leaked which can be viewed in YouTube. You can clearly see the Judges did not bully him out of the closet like he claimed, you can also see him insinuating that Brittany was a homophobe as well as his mother which was part of the reason for him not being able to come out as gay which in his mind caused him to quit the music business. Simon called him out on it though siting the real reason was likely his lack of vocal skill and not having the right temperament…which does sound more likely, I mean who would be dumb enough to throw away a possible high profile music carreer simply because he was gay….as if no one else had delt with the same issue in the same type of circumstances.

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