In an interview with PEOPLE on Aug. 17, Campbell opened up about his sexuality, and how he’s embraced his sexual identity over the past few years.
“When I came out to my family and friends [at] about 19 or 20, that was it for me,” Campbell said in the interview. “And then I went on the road of discovering myself. I didn’t know who I was.”
Campbell took a break from music and spent time performing the Broadway musical Hairspray beginning in 2004. That is where Campbell said he felt most comfortable expressing who he was.
“Being around people who were like me, LGBTQ+ people that were living normal lives and had partners. I had never seen that,” Campbell said. “That was a great time in my life.”
Many people speculated about Campbell’s sexuality over the years, and those rumors heated up earlier this year on Twitter when someone asked about famous singers who were rumored to be gay. Campbell tweeted “Tevin is …” with a rainbow emoji.
“It was a casual thing for me,” Campbell said about the tweet. “I love my fans, but what they think about my sexuality is of no importance to me.”
Campbell was then asked about the current artists in the industry who have come out as gay, such as Lil Nas X and Frank Ocean.
“It wasn’t like that in the ’90s,” Campbell said. “I’m glad I get to see it. I’m glad that’s changing. There are a lot of kids, especially young Black boys that need to see representation. They’re not being taught to love themselves because of who they are.”