January 11th, 2011
10:25 AM ET
Country singer Chely Wright came out as a lesbian last May, but she's only now speaking up about the repercussions of revealing her sexuality.
"My record sales went directly in half. If it appears from the outside in that it’s helped my career, it could be because I haven’t talked about the negative," she tells lesbian pop culture blog Autostraddle. "My life has been threatened. I get nasty letters every day, 'I’m through with you Chely Wright, you’re going to hell.'"
Wright, whose hits include "Shut Up and Drive" and "Single White Female," says she decided to come out after nearly taking her life by putting a 9 mm gun in her mouth.
"I spent every ounce of energy hiding the fact that I was gay," she says. "And then I found myself without my partner because we broke up, and I looked around and realized everything I gained in material wealth meant NOTHING to me. No one knew me. I had no real friends. I couldn’t reach out to my friends and say I have a broken heart because they didn’t even know I had a relationship. And, I put a gun in my mouth."
But in the end, she decided not to pull the trigger, and instead took action by being honest about her life.
"I knew that if I had a gun in my mouth, I could imagine how many kids were sitting in their bedroom with a bottle of pills or on the verge in some other way," she explains.
Despite some of the backlash, Wright has no regrets about going public.
"In coming out I had a feeling that it would diminish my wage earning, and that feeling was correct," she says. "And, I am fine with that."
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