American Idol’s Sanjaya Malakar Comes Out as Bisexual

Sanjaya Malakar.
Jim Smeal/Shutterstock

Sharing his truth. Sanjaya Malakar‘s sexuality faced scrutiny when he was a teenager on American Idol, but he can proudly share that he’s bisexual more than a decade later.

“I identify as bisexual,” the singer, 32, shared on the August 22 episode of “The Adam Sank Show” podcast from DNR Studios.

Malakar is now 32 and a pastry chef. But he was only 17 when he began to take part in the on-line baking competitions. American IdolHe is still trying to find his identity after season 6. “At the time, I did not know, which was why it was so weird for me,” he said of speculation about his sexuality during his reality TV years.

He placed fifth on the singing contest after finishing his run in seventh place. I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!Season 2, where he was again asked about his sexuality.

“I do hair and I’ll sit in the corner and knit, so it confuses people,” he said during a 2009 episode of the NBC series. “A lot of my friends refer to me as their ‘straight gay best friend’ because we’ll go do things that stereotypically you would do with a gay guy.”

The Washington native explained on “The Adam Sank Show” that he truly wasn’t sure of his sexuality, and having people tell him he was gay as a child was not helpful.

“I always got along with theater kids. I always got along with gay kids and girls, so I was like, ‘OK, these are my people,’” he recalled. “But I don’t know. Everyone keeps telling me that I am gay, and I’m like, 7. I don’t even have any attraction to anyone, so why are you telling me this?”

Malakar continued: “I was exploring my life as a child, and then American Idol happened, and everyone was like, ‘Oh, he’s gay.’ And I was like, ‘OK, well now I have to say no, because at this point they’re forcing me to make a decision and define myself.’”

He didn’t feel comfortable with having to choose a label before he understood he was bisexual. “You had to be as hyper-masculine as possible to fit in, and coming up in 2007, it was like, ‘Being gay is OK, but you have to define yourself, and there’s this or that,’” the former reality TV personality recalled.

The PR professionals working with Malakar were trying to make him a brand, which didn’t help him figure out his identity. “All of my publicists were like, ‘Oh, just tell everyone you’re single. Be ambiguous. No one needs to know anything about anything because you don’t want to lose your fans,’” he said. “And I’m like, ‘OK, but why am I manipulating what I know of myself to figure out what kind of fans I’m going to get because I’m still trying to discover who I am?’”

Now, Malakar is out and proud — but that doesn’t mean he’s having a coming out conversation with everyone he knows. “I’ll come out to people if it’s a situation like this, but if I’m not trying to f–k you, it doesn’t matter,” he explained.

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