Duncan James has been told he's "disgusting" because of his sexuality.
The Blue singer admitted he always felt "ashamed" of being attracted to other men and though he now feels "comfortable" with who he is and has received a largely positive response from fans, there have also been cruel comments from people who warned him he will "go to hell" because of his relationship with Rodrigo Reis.
He told Britain's OK! magazine: "It took me a long time to come out as gay. I was frightened to be me. I felt ashamed. I’ve never done anything like this with a male partner before because I always felt scared. It took me a while to finally admit that I was gay.
"It’s taken 10 years since I first came out to feel really comfortable in my skin, and now I’m trying to get involved and do different things for charities, and I go to a lot of LGBTQ+ events.
"Now, coming forward and doing a shoot with another man, I feel so confident and happy that I can do that and say, 'I don’t care what you think. If you don’t like gay people, that’s your problem!'
"A lot of my fans in the UK have been really supportive, but I’ve got a lot of international fans who still find it hard to accept I’m gay. Rodrigo and I posted a picture and there were a few bad comments, like, 'It’s disgusting – look at you two. You’re going to go to hell.'
"We’re very lucky in the UK that we’re such an open country, we’re very diverse and encouraging. But there are a lot of countries that are anti-gay."
The 43-year-old star sought therapy during lockdown after his anxiety spiralled and his mental health deteriorated after spending such long periods of time away from his 27-year-old partner - who lives in Belgium and not being able to see his 16-year-old daughter Tiannie Finn either.
He said: "I started having therapy during this lockdown as my anxiety was getting worse and I wasn’t able to see Rodrigo. I’ve also been living back with my mum and I haven’t been able to see my daughter, she’s been in isolation in Manchester.
"I was getting a bit depressed and a bit crazy. Rodrigo said, 'Speak to someone.' I started speaking to a therapist online and it really helped. It’s helped with my own anxieties and worries, and it was nice to have someone to talk to.
"In Britain, we always think, 'Oh, you only need a therapist if you’re crazy.' But when you look at people in America, they have therapists for everything. I think it’s been important for us as well.
"It was just a build-up of things. We’ve all struggled with our mental health, especially this last lockdown. It’s been tough. I got to a point where I said to Rodrigo, 'I feel I have no one to talk to. I can’t escape, I can’t do anything. It’s awful.' "