After Birth of His Son, Aiken Says It's Time to 'Let the Guard Down'

Clay Aiken talks about his decision to acknowledge he's gay on "GMA" Thursday.

ByJonann Brady via via logo
September 24, 2008, 3:37 PM

Sept. 24, 2008 — -- In his first television interview since revealing he is gay, Clay Aiken told "Good Morning America" that after the birth of his son it was "time to let the guard down."

"I can't raise a kid and teach him how to lie, teach him to hide things. I can't raise a kid and teach him to keep secrets," Aiken told Diane Sawyer. "And at the same time, I also don't ever want to raise him in an environment where it's not OK for him to be exactly who he is, no matter what."

The "American Idol" alum, 29, appears on the cover of People magazine this week, cradling his new son, next to the headline, "Yes, I'm Gay."

Tune in to "Good Morning America" tomorrow for the second half of Diane Sawyer's interview with Clay Aiken.

Parker Foster Aiken, the singer's son with music producer Jaymes Foster, was born on Aug. 8. Foster, 50, became pregnant through in vitro fertilization, and she and Aiken have said they will raise their son together.

"She was ending a relationship, a marriage, which she had been in for over 20 years," he said. "She had always wanted kids; I've always wanted kids. Being a gay man, it wasn't something for me that was going to be an option either way."

Aiken, a born-again Christian, skirted questions about his sexuality for years, but first "admitted it" in 2003 while he was on "American Idol."

"When I got on 'Idol' and people were cheering me on and being supportive, there you are in an environment that is more open and more accepting and in an environment where you don't feel like such an outcast," he said. "I told Kimberley Locke, who was a fellow contestant with me on 'Idol.' She was the only person I'd ever told and she kept it to herself for years and years."

Telling his family, he said, was more difficult.

"Poor mom. I told her the day that my brother left for Iraq for the first time. We had left him at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina and were driving home and for whatever reason, I just thought, 'Well, it's a bad day already, might as well not spread it out.'"

Aiken said that the hardest person of all to tell, though, was his younger brother.

"I think at that point I was coming to realize that, you know, I don't want this to be something that he learns while he's in Iraq while he's away from home. So I told him. I cried and cried and cried. And when I was done, he said, 'OK, is that really it?' And then we walked out of the room and that was it."

"You couldn't find two people more opposite than Brett and I, yet who, who love each other and respect each other so much, and I do with him."

As far as fans go, Aiken said he did not "have any designs... that every person is going to be perfectly OK with it."

"I'm sure that there are people who will grapple with it, you know. I'm sure that emotions will run the gamut from people who already knew, to people who really believed that it wasn't true. You know, the best I can do is say that I tried and I know that you know this, as hard as I could over the past five years, never to lie about it."

In a 2006 interview with Sawyer, Aiken said that all the speculation about his sex life was "invasive" and "rude."

"What I do in my private life is nobody's business anymore," Aiken said in that interview on "GMA."

And in an interview with New York Magazine earlier this year, Aiken alluded to his asexuality.

"I have got too much on my plate," Aiken told the magazine, explaining why he was not involved in a relationship. "I'd rather focus on one thing and do that when I can devote time to it, and right now, I just don't have any desire."

After his son's birth, though, Aiken told Sawyer it was "an obvious time to just, you know, let the guard down and say, 'I have a responsibility for someone other than myself now.'"

Aiken told People magazine he expected some of his fans to be overwhelmed by the news. But after an outpouring of support from fans, Aiken wrote on his Web site: "Suffice it to say, for the first time in recent memory, I am speechless. I'm so proud to know and love all of you."

"It's taken a while for me to have faith in society to accept the fact that people are more accepting and more open-minded and more loving and caring and less interested in your personal life than I initially thought," he told "Good Morning America."

Aiken returned Tuesday to the Broadway musical "Spamalot," but he said he's most excited about his role as a new dad.

He's had talks with his mother, Faye Parker, about parenting and big dreams for Parker.

"And I've had to remind myself, you can't dream too specifically because everybody's the same way. ... But she [Faye] has done marvelously. It's great just to be able to be patient and expect things are going to take time," he said.

"Things don't change overnight."

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