On Thursday morning, CMT star and iHeart Radio host Cody Alan, 44, came out to fans and the world in an interview in People Magazine and a post on his Instagram account.

The South Carolina native has been out to family and friends for some time, including his 2 children who he has with his ex-wife. In the interview in People, he is quoted as saying: “Though my TV or my radio persona was always that of a happy guy, there was this underlying ache inside of me for years, so I decided either I was gonna do something about it, or I was gonna live with this layer of misery underneath that happy face on the TV. Once I realized it was okay to accept the truth, that it wasn’t my choice,” he adds, “it was a lot easier to start figuring out where to go with my life next.”

A photo posted by Cody Alan (@cmtcody) on

Alan and Country star Ty Herndon are the only two out gay men in the country music biz. In the aforementioned People interview, GLAAD’s Vice President of Programs Zeke Stokes said: “Millions of radio listeners, television viewers and country music fans love and look up to Cody Alan. And that’s exactly why Cody’s decision to come out matters — because visibility brings about acceptance. By sharing his story, Cody is helping listeners and fans get to know someone who shares their passion for country music and southern values, and who also happens to be gay. At a time when America can sometimes seem so divided, it’s the common ground we all share that brings us together, and that’s the power of sharing one’s story.”

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