Sam Smith got candid about coming out to his parents as a child in an October interview with Elton John for Attitude Magazine.
Smith says he came out at 10 years old but his mother told him she had known since he was a toddler.
“I came out when I was 10. I’d just finished primary school, going into secondary school, and I came out to my best friend when I was nine or 10,” Smith told Attitude. “I was very sure of, and in, myself. When I told my mum she said she always knew, she said she knew when I was three, and my dad just asked if I was absolutely sure. And I was sure, even at that age, but they were incredibly supportive.”
Smith says his dad was accepting but worried that he would get bullied at school for his sexuality.
“I think he saw a lot of kids get bullied and just felt really nervous for me,” Smith says. “Especially when, at 16 and 17, I used to wear a lot of make-up and dressed very differently at school. He didn’t have a problem with it, but he was really worried about me.”
He admits his father was right and while his bullying wasn’t “as bad as others,” he still endured some issues growing up.
“I’ve always said I wasn’t [bullied] because I don’t think my experience was as bad as others I’ve heard of, but when I look back at it now, it wasn’t the easiest time,” Smith says. “I was lucky, I had a very good group of friends around me, but some of the other boys could be absolutely awful to me at times. It’s nothing that has scarred me, though.”
John compared his experience growing up gay to Smith’s and says because of the time period he was a late bloomer with his sexuality.
“I wish I had known I was gay when I was that young,” John says. “I didn’t have sex until I was 23. I grew up in the 50s, sex was never talked about. So, at the start I didn’t know anything about sex, which was awful.”
He also added that it didn’t affect his career but not everyone was accepting.
“When I came out in 1976 a couple of radio stations in America burnt my records, but it didn’t really harm me,” John says.