It’s been two years since Ty Herndon came out to the world as a gay man.
For the first time, the country music star shares that along with an outpouring of support came strong reaction from the haters.
“Social media can be pretty hateful,’ Herndon tells People.com.
In order to protect himself, Herndon didn’t engage back then but he didn’t erase any of those hateful tweets and Facebook messages.
‘I’m still going back,’ he says.
”I’ve answered every hateful tweet or Facebook post, and I’ve answered it with love and with one simple question: “Do you know anyone that’s gay?”
‘Because nine times out of ten, they don’t, when you’re hating that hard or hating that much.’
He’s busy promoting his new album House on Fire but he isn’t through reaching haters one at a time.
‘I’ve still got some emails to get through and some, but I want to personally touch on the hate with love.’
Herndon had kept his sexuality secret when he first hit the charts in 1995 with the single What Mattered Most.
After five years of riding high, the strain took a toll and by 2002, Herndon was no longer being played on radio and had stopped touring.
His professional and personal slide that included a divorce from his second wife, bankruptcy, gaining 75 pounds, financial and legal problems and two stints in drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities.
During this new phase of his career, he earned a Grammy nomination for his 2010 album Journey On and in 2013 released the album Lies I Told Myself.