Eurovision star Ryan Dolan has came out as gay – revealing struggles over his sexuality left him suicidal.
The Only Love Survives singer, 28, was depressed for years as he feared telling his family and friends – and now wishes he came out years ago.
He said: “I wish I had came out a long time ago, when I was 15. I just think my youth was wasted worrying all the time about it.
“And I think if I had been open about it then I would have been a lot happier. I really did struggle growing up with that in my head and wondering how people would take it.
“I really got depressed about it for years. I did contemplate suicide. I never attempted suicide, but it was always a thought in my mind.
“I know depression can be hereditary, and I know it’s in my family. Over the last five years I’ve lost two uncles and an auntie to suicide – all on the one side of my family – my mum’s side.
The Co Tyrone star – who came last at the Eurovision for Ireland – has now wrote a semi-autobiographical song Start Again about growing up with his secret and feels coming out has changed his life.
He said: “Now I’m completely happy, the last few years have been the happiest of my life since every one in my family knew.
“My life changed and the weight of all that stress lifted off my shoulders, having dealt with it for all those years, it went away.
“I couldn’t be happier… Since I came out, I’ve only had person say something to me, even on nights out. Now it’s not that big a thing.”
Ryan’s dad was the last person to find out when he was 21 when his mum broke the news as he “didn’t have the courage” after struggling for years.
Eurovision: Performing on the Late Late Show
He told RTE’s Mooney: “In school I was definitely confused about who I was and it was really hard for me growing up because of that.
“It was hard to deal with because I knew that I was gay, but I had to talk to someone about it but I didn’t have the courage. And it took me a long time to come about it really.
“It was only when I was 21, really that my whole family found about it. The first person I ever told was my older sister, and that was when I was 14.
“And then I just gradually told other people in my family afterwards. My father was the last person I told because I was afraid about what he would think – but he actually took it better than anyone I told.
“It was actually my mother that told him, because I was so afraid, on my 21st birthday. He just text me and told me that it didn’t make one difference to him.”