Ron Smits / London Ent / Splash News 1 / 3
Ron Smits / London Ent / Splash News 1 / 3

Country singer Chely Wright has come out of the closet at 39.

The crooner says that announcing she's gay was the most magical moment in her life, and that she hid her true sexual preferences because of the prevalent attitude toward homosexuality in the Southern community where she grew up.

"There had never, ever been a country music artist who had acknowledged his or her homosexuality. I wasn't going to be the first," she told, adding "I hid everything for my music."

The singer, once romantically linked to fellow country star Brad Paisley, is slated to appear on the "Today" show on Wednesday to discuss her revelation in further detail.

Wright is a decorated country music artist, having won the Best New Female vocalist honors from the Academy of Country Music in 1995; and nominations from the Academy for Best Female Vocalist and Best Video ("Single White Female") in 1999.

She releases her new memoir "Like Me," and her first album since 2005, "Lifted off the Ground," later this week.


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