During an appearance on the Dec. 14 episode of Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast, Shawn Mendes said the rumors surrounding his sexuality over the years took a toll on him. The "Wonder" singer is straight, but some people speculated otherwise, and the spotlight only intensified the pressure on Mendes. "It was so, so frustrating for me because there were some people in my life that I was very very close to, who were gay and in the closet," he shared. "And I felt like this real anger for those people. It's such a tricky thing. You want to say, 'I'm not gay but it'd be fine if I was gay — but also there's nothing wrong with being gay but I'm not.' You don't really know how to respond to the situation."
He continued, "I've realized that we just have to stop having to be experts and politicians about it, especially as a famous musician who's a guy. I need to be really f*cking messy and say the wrong things and apologize and say the right thing after I apologize and be confused about how to respond when people say I'm gay. Everyone's been calling me gay since I was 15 years old. I'm not gay and I'm like, 'What does that mean?' I had these problems with the way my voice sounded. I'm like, 'How do I sit?' I'm always first to cross my legs and sit with a position of this feminine style and I really suffered with that sh*t."
He also pointed out that speculation about a person's sexuality is even tougher to face if you're LGBTQ+. "I think a lot of guys go through that and even worse than that there are just so many guys who are gay and in the closet and must be hearing sh*t like that and just being like, 'I'm terrified to come out,'" he said.
During his conversation with Shepard, Mendes also discussed the importance of getting in touch with his emotions. "Guys need to just be vulnerable," he said. "We need to cry. Stop thinking this is being brave and strong and start thinking is the opposite, actually. We're holding in these emotions and not crying and being assh*les. Nothing about that is nice."
Camila Cabello, his girlfriend, helps him process his feelings. He explained, "I'm in a relationship where my girlfriend is like, 'We're going to get in bed and you're going to put your head on my chest and you're going to cry into my chest. You're going to tell me how you feel because if you don't do that you're just going to be an assh*le for the next week and I'm not going to deal with that sh*t."
If you're a fan of Mendes' music, you know he sings about these ideas on his recent single, "Wonder." (Sample lyric: "I wonder when I cry into my hands / I'm conditioned to feel like it makes me less of a man.")
Mendes, 1; toxic masculinity, 0.