Judas Priest's Rob Halford Reflects on Coming out as Gay

The Judas Priest singer says he made a 'completely unmeditated' decision to come out publicly.

Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford made headlines when he came out as gay in the late '90s, and now he's reflecting on what he calls a "completely unmeditated" decision to do so.

Speaking to The Guardian, Halford, 72, recalled the moment he first publicly shared about his sexuality, saying, "The day I made that announcement on MTV New York, it was completely unmeditated and just a pure, subconscious stream of banter. It was only after I released myself from my f—ing heavy metal prison that I realized what I'd done. I had no idea that it was gonna go around the world like crazy – I was away from Priest at the time."

Halford went on to add, "Any gay person that has the right time in their life to step forward and let their identity be what it is without any clutter or interference, it's unbelievable, the elation. Firstly, you set yourself free. Secondly, all the ammunition and innuendoes, they evaporate. It's the gay guy from Judas Priest – what can you throw at him now?"

As for how the public, and heavy metal fans overall, took the news, Halford shared, "There was very little backlash and I was really thrilled by the acceptance. Pure speculation: if I hadn't come out when I did, and then gone back into Priest, I think I might have stayed hidden because I love this band so much and I protect it with every fiber of my being."

Finally, he added, "The world is a much better place now, thank God, but we've still got homophobia, racism, and these stupid parts of humanity that drive us nuts. You've really got to face it head-on, so please come out, wherever you are! Proud and loud."

Halford is considered to be one of the greatest heavy metal vocalists of all time. He joined Judas Priest, as the band's lead vocalist, in 1973. He performed on their first 12 albums before leaving the band in 1992 to pursue a solo career. He later rejoined in 2003 and has sand on the band's past five albums, including their most recent, Invincible Shield, released in March.