After spending several years declining to answer questions on the topic, former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken has finally confirmed what everyone but his most deluded Claymate fans had already figured out: he's gay.

"It was the first decision I made as a father," Aiken, who recently had a baby boy via artificial insemination with Jaymes Foster, a 50-year-old record producer and close friend he's known for five years, told People magazine in a cover story interview that will hit newsstands on Friday. "I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."

Aiken's sexuality had been the subject of gossip and rumors since the 29-year-old Raleigh, NC native finished second to Ruben Studdard on American Idol's second season in 2003.

After initially denying he was gay during early post-Idol interviews, Aiken began to decline to answer questions about his sexual orientation several years ago.

During a Good Morning America interview with Diane Sawyer in 2006, he said he was tired of questions about his sexuality.

"I don't understand why you want to know," said Aiken after Sawyer asked him if he was gay. "I don't understand why it's any of your business."

"At some point, (the question) becomes just really rude, you know?" Aiken told Sawyer.  "I just don't understand why people care, to be honest with you. I'm not spending my time with this anymore. This is a waste of my time."

Earlier this year, Aiken had stated that he didn't really think people cared whether he was gay or straight.

"I think for the most part, I really think that people don't care, honestly,"  Aiken told during an April appearance on Access Hollywood host Billy Bush's syndicated radio program, The Billy Bush Show.  "I think that the press -- people like that -- care more than anybody else does."

"I think for the most part, people don't want to have that type of stuff pushed, people who are living in Omaha or in Charlotte or wherever," Aiken told Bush.  "They don't want stuff like that pushed in their face, I don't think that's necessary and that's also not what I'm here for."

Despite the years of not-so-subtle clues, Aiken told People he expects the confirmation that he's gay will overwhelm some of his fans.

"Whether it be having a child out of wedlock, or whether it be simply being a homosexual, it's going to be a lot," Aiken told People.  "[I hope they] know that I've never intended to lie to anybody at all... But if they leave, I don't want them to leave hating me."

According to Aiken, he came out to his mother Faye four years ago after they'd dropped his younger brother Brett, who was being deployed to Iraq, off at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!

"I started crying in the car," Aiken told People. "I was sitting there, thinking to myself. I don't know why I started thinking about it ... I just started bawling. She made me pull over the car and it just came out."

While Aiken told People she "still struggles with things quite a bit," his mother took the news well.

"She started crying," Aiken told People. "She was obviously somewhat stunned. But she was very supportive and very comforting."