Charice Pempengco has nothing to hide. After months of chatter about her sexuality, the former "Glee" singer proudly and publicly confirmed that she is, in fact, a lesbian. The revelation came during an interview on Sunday, June 2, with Boy Abunda, host of the Filipino showbiz show "The Buzz."
Asked by Abunda whether the rumors about her sexual orientation are true, Charice took her time answering. Then, smiling, she said simply, "Opo, tomboy po ako," which is Filipino for "Yes, I am a lesbian."
Relieved but emotional -- at one point during the interview, she broke down in tears -- the 21-year-old international star added, "Now I feel free. I can go out of the house without fear and be certain that I'm not stepping on anybody's toes."
Speculation about the musical phenom, once dubbed "the most talented girl in the world" by Oprah Winfrey, began a few months ago after she debuted a dramatic new image. When she was discovered on the South Korean talent show "Star King" in 2007, she had long hair and wore makeup and feminine frocks.
Later that year, Charice made her American debut on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," performing "I Will Always Love You" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," before releasing her debut album in the Philippines in 2008. She then had a streak of high-profile performances, culminating in a recurring role on the second season of "Glee."
These days, though, she's nearly unrecognizable from that girly image. After chopping her once-long, curly hair into a short, boyish cut, the singer traded in her dresses and heels for more androgynous clothing.
Until Sunday, however, she had been mum on the lesbian rumors. Addressing them during her interview on "The Buzz," she admitted she thought that some of her fans might not support her once she came out. "But to those who can accept me, thank you very much," she said. "We are all equal, whether you are gay or straight..."
In a separate video message aired on another Filipino show, she added: "I just want to say thank you, personally, to all my fans, to all the people who are still supporting me, who are still there for me. Honestly, I'm very, very happy. I can't explain how happy I am right now hearing all the positive things."