Former “American Idol” star Sanjaya Malakar has come out as bisexual.
Malakar, who was a finalist on the sixth season of the show back in 2006, spoke out about his sexuality in a new interview on “The Adam Sank Show” podcast.
The singer, 32, who auditioned for “Idol” alongside his sister Shyamali, who was eliminated during Hollywood Week, told the host: “I identify as bisexual. At the time [that I was on ‘American Idol’], I did not know, which was why it was so weird for me.”
Malakar told Sank how he was “raised by women” and was in theatre growing up, admitting: “I had a hard time figuring out how to interact with young boys because my dad’s from India and grew up in a temple, so there was never like, ‘This is how you are a boy.’
“And then, my mom is an A-type personality, Italian-American woman, and [so are] her sisters and my sister and all of that, so growing up I was already the awkward theatre kid.
“I always got along with theatre kids. I always got along with gay kids and girls, so I was like, ‘OK, these are my people.’ But I don’t know. Everyone keeps telling me that I am gay, and I’m like, 7. I don’t even have any attraction to anyone, so why are you telling me this?”
Malakar, who was 17 during the “Idol” live shows, recalled how he was in a long-term relationship with a girl at the time: “I was exploring my life as a child, and then ‘American Idol’ happened, and everyone was like, ‘Oh, he’s gay.’ And I was like, ‘OK, well now I have to say no, because at this point they’re forcing me to make a decision and define myself.’”
He went on, “At that time, that was a big thing as well, ’cause I grew up in a time when being called a f****t in school was the worst thing that could ever happen to you. You had to be as hyper-masculine as possible to fit in, and coming up in 2007, it was like, ‘Being gay is OK, but you have to define yourself, and there’s this or that.’”
Malakar, who now works as a pastry chef and bartender, added of his “Idol” team not helping the situation: “All of my publicists were like, ‘Oh, just tell everyone you’re single. Be ambiguous. No one needs to know anything about anything because you don’t want to lose your fans.’ And I’m like, ‘OK, but why am I manipulating what I know of myself to figure out what kind of fans I’m going to get because I’m still trying to discover who I am?’”
Malakar told Sank he hasn’t come out to his parents, but he feels comfortable with his sexuality now: “For me, at this point I don’t really care about what people know of my sexuality, and if I got into a serious long-term relationship with a guy I would bring him to my family, and they’d be like, ‘Oh, cool.’
“My family’s not the kind of people I really need to come out to formally,” he continued. “A couple of my cousins are bi as well and have brought home gay partners and then come and married someone else. It becomes a big deal, and then it’s not.”
Malakar shared, “Unless it’s something serious, it’s not really their business. I’m not trying to f**k any of them. I’ll come out to people if it’s a situation like this, but if I’m not trying to f**k you, it doesn’t matter. You’ll know if I do.”
He added of his current dating status, “So, actually, the day of our pre-interview I had just driven back the night before from my best friend’s wedding and reconnected with someone I knew a long time ago that seemed interesting — and then flipped my car two and a half times,” insisting he wasn’t injured in the accident. “So I’m not sure if that’s a sign to slow down. I don’t know. Yes, I’m single, but it’s complicated all the time.”
Malakar said of whether “Idol” has helped his success in the bedroom: “It’s a detriment because I enjoy the thrill of a chase, and I don’t like feeling like someone’s f**king me because [of ‘American Idol’].
“I’m also a bartender, so I don’t like f**king someone who wants to f**k me because I’m a bartender.
“I have a lot of self-esteem issues, and I really like to be sure that someone is interested.”