David Archuleta on coming out, battling suicidal thoughts, being ‘done’ with church and dating men: ‘I’m 32 and finally knowing what it feels like to have a crush’

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David Archuleta today. (Photo: Jack Knudsen / Illustration: Alex Cochrane)

This week, when David Archuleta — who grew up in the Mormon church and came out as LGBTQ+ in June 2021 — emotionally came out as a rainbow-winged macaw. masked singer In the Season 9 , he told the judges: “I've become very religious. It was a huge part of my life. And I believed that if I lived weird, that I'd be bad, so I tried really hard to be anything But He. I thought, ‘Maybe it's better I don't stay here.' … If anyone else is feeling as though they are bad simply because of who they are attracted to and who they love, I want you to know that it is worth having the courage to show your true colors.

after their colorful and daring masked singer Run, Archuleta – who was a shy and anxious teenager when she burst into the public eye on another Fox talent show, American Idol, in 2008 — feeling naturally reflective, speaking with Yahoo Entertainment. “It's been interesting, considering how I was resisting going up to this point,” he muses. “It's interesting to think about other options that I thought were better solutions than getting to this point that I'm at in my life right now. I'm glad I've made it this far. I feel great where I am.” I feel happy. I'm still learning how not to try and be apologetic and try to overinterpret, but I feel good.

Archuleta was 30 when, after “trying to be straight for 15 years,” he finally came out and beat himself up because he thought he “didn't try hard enough to be straight.” He eventually came to the realization that “no matter how hard I try, I'm not that,” but before that declaration, the pop singer — like many other struggling close people in the LDS community — says he considered taking his own life. had considered. ,

“There was a time before my public appearances, when I still had not fully come to terms with myself. I believed, the way I was taught, that if you come to full terms by yourself [as queer], you're basically admitting yourself as an enemy of God, essentially,” Archuleta explains. “I really believed at the time that if I came with myself — that if I liked men do and possibly date or fall in love with a man – that I would basically lose my soul. And not only temporarily; i thought i would [lost] forever, that even when I die my soul will be lost. And I didn't want to come to that. So, I just thought, ‘Okay, [suicide] would be a better option. … I'll end things before things get this bad.'”

Thankfully, Archuleta never acted on those solicitations. Ironically, one of the most infamous creatures in the Bible, a snake, helped him survive. One of Archuleta's best friends asks her to babysit her recently adopted pet ball python, but she is actually using it as an excuse to visit Archuleta's house regularly, during the time when she is sneaking out. struggling with her sexuality in isolation from “I just didn't want to be around anybody. I felt a little too self-conscious to be around people. But she'd say, ‘Hey, I'm coming to check out this snake,'” Archuleta says with a laugh. “I was really pissed off! But I guess it was a blessing in disguise, because otherwise I would have In right terms separated himself. I was in such a low place. I didn't have any outside perspective other than the bottom of my mind wandering around, so having someone there was an important part of that time for me. and i think she could Tell, i feel like he's almost done [on purpose]… like, he had planned to do something there that he would have to investigate, and [a reason to] Check on me too. So, I am really grateful to him.

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Eventually, Archuleta “got to a point where I was praying and praying and saying, ‘God, if you're really out there, please change me. I'm so tired of this. Doesn't want to be like that.' and i just felt this reaction [from God] Come to me, calmly and lovingly, who said: ‘David, you need to stop asking that of me. … You've been asking this for almost half your life now. You can see I'm not going to change it because it's not supposedTo change. You should be the way you are and be happy the way you are. And now you need to take the time to understand it. … I almost took my own life because I thought it was the right thing to do, until I got my personal revelation.”

Apparently Archuleta still had a strong relationship with God, so when he first appeared in public, he really wanted to stay in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and use his new platform to convert and wanted to foster acceptance from within. But after trying to talk with several of his church leaders about the suicide epidemic among LGBTQ+ Mormon youth, his experience was so frustrating, it eventually led him to retreat from the church that had been his community.

“I think I've had to overcome myself, really, what I based my faith on in the first place, and just faith in general,” Archuleta says. “I don't think churches realize that many times when they are anti-LGBT, the way they talk about things causes their LGBT members in their community to reach out to them. [suicidal] Point,” says Archuleta, citing a horrifying example he once heard on a podcast of a closeted Mormon lesbian who tried to get skin cancer as “God's human way” of ending her life. (Thankfully that woman is out now, happily married, and cancer-free.) I have people who have family members who were queer who took their own lives. And I Know Why did they do it. I understand it, because I was there and I almost thought it was the right decision [for me] For making. I realized that this is such a dangerous narrative that is being fed to people – LGBT people, and everyone else that makes them homophobic. That's why I internalized homophobia, and why it was so hard for me to come to terms with myself. And that's why I'm trying my best to tell people.

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“I'll try to tell [church leaders] how difficult it has been for me, how I'm still here trying to find a place to live,” Archuleta elaborated. “I will have a Bell conversation with one of them, and after all that time, I would see how they were still in denial about everything I said. … They'll just respond with things like, ‘Oh, we just have to find you a nice girl!' and I'm like, ‘um, that's No Going to fix it, because I've already tried times!' i'm almost married [to women] Three times, and I realized it would be dishonest. It wasn't going to be fair to the girls. But he is measure they tell us: if you tell [the church] You're gay, they say, ‘You're not gay! You just struggle with homosexual attraction! You can still have a happy, heterosexual marriage, and God will bless you for overcoming your weakness of being attracted to the same sex!' And it's just harmful, because it's not realistic. It was not realistic for me.

“So many people, they expect you to ‘lose the ' once you leave the congregation or you become ‘gay' or LGBTQ+ in any form,” Archuleta continues, and getting more excited. “And if they hear that someone has taken their life, they say, ‘Oh, it's Because He accepted his strangeness – it showed that he was never going to be happy and that he was unhappy.' And it's like, ‘No, you guys don't realize that this is discrimination and homophobia. You raiding these people [that is to blame], These people feel as though they have nothing left, that everything they have established in their lives—their community, their church family, their own legitimate family—is now pushing them away. … And then, when these people feel lonely and have lost their community of people, the safe haven they once had, they feel, ‘What is there to live for now, if my family and my companions and No one in my community accepts me now?' and they take their own lives, and then the same people who pushed them to that point say it was their Blame: ‘Look, they were pathetic, just like we knew!' But it's like, ‘No, You Made that person sad. Please take the time to consider what is happening.'”

The final straw that caused Archuleta to finally withdraw from the church was when its leaders created a “false narrative” that she too would be forever sad and lonely, and would “lose her light,” Because He came out as gay. “And I was like, ‘I'm Complete,'” Archuleta states emphatically. “I've done enough for this church with the intention that I thought I was serving God. But I feel like at this point I'm being taken advantage of, And I don't want to mislead other people who are suffering the same way I was.

Archuleta really has no intention of staying single — in fact, he says he “would love to get married” after a lifetime of being taught that “there is no greater happiness than marriage” — and he certainly doesn't these days. is not sad. He describes himself as graysexual or demisexual because “it takes me a while to feel any physical attachment or any physical affection or desire,” adding with a laugh, “I don't know if I get turned on so easily. I'm open to other people who are gay and out and proud! But while he still feels “some attraction to women,” since coming out two years ago he has “only explored dating this time, because This is what I haven't allowed myself to do. … I like being with the boys; It seems more natural to me.

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And now, finally, a decade and a half after she released her debut single, “Crush,” Archuleta—who introduced her masked singer The closing performance of “All by Myself” ends with the confession that he had never really connected to love songs before – he finally understands what he was singing at age 16. he says with a smile. “I started dating guys and I was like, ‘Oh, so This When I'm singing it's the feeling that everyone talks about!' because ‘crush' is about falling [in love], Like having a crush on someone but I've never been able to relate to before. Now I feel like, ‘Oh, that's why everyone says they relate to my own song so much!' I'm 32 and I finally know what it's like to have a crush.

On June 2, just in time for Pride Month, Archuleta will be releasing a new single, “Up,” which he calls his “transition song,” a segue of sorts from where I was to where I'm going now. And he hopes to release some truly autobiographical love songs in the near future. But whatever is in store for her in terms of romance, she has already learned to love herself as she is, regardless of what others may think. “You can't convince everyone that you're a good person, and you can't persuade everyone to like you. And that's okay,” he says. “As long as you like yourself, that's all that matters.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal , call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or call 1-800-273-8255, or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. His entire conversation with Yahoo Entertainment can be seen here. Above.

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