Chely Wright's country life is peaceful, not easy
By Christine Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two years after becoming the first country star to come out as gay, Chely Wright is now at peace, living honestly and married to another woman, but she feels somewhat cut off by the country music world to which she has devoted her life.
Gay artists have long struggled with the impact that coming out might have on their careers, but Wright thinks the time has never been better to be open despite her struggles depicted in a new film documentary, "Wish Me Away," in U.S. theaters June 1.
Still, since she announced she was a lesbian in 2010, the invitations for charity events, award presentations and radio appearances have all but disappeared, said Wright, who is as famous for her hard-working nature as she is for her good looks.
"When people say, 'it's not that hard. Who cares anymore? Coming out is no big deal.' Oh, it really is, and I think 'Wish Me Away' really displays that narrative of any person coming out. Not just for a singer, for anybody it is hard," she told Reuters.
The movie is a follow-up of sorts to her coming out memoir "Like Me: Confessions Of a Heartland Country Singer" and her last album, "Lifted Off The Ground" with the single "Broken" that chronicled her true romantic heartbreak. It also completes a two-year period in which Wright, 41, has spoken openly of hiding herself for fear of losing her hard-won success.
But with the aid of tear-filled video diaries, the film goes beyond the book in offering a behind-the-scenes look at prepping a public figure for the pressure and anguish of coming out.
As with the book and album, Wright said she allowed the filmmakers to document her life because she wanted to give young gay people strength and show others what it is really like to face oneself truthfully.
"It's important for those who don't understand the journey, the real fear," she said. "And those very deep profound moments of feeling isolated and afraid to take a step that might get you kicked out of your church, might get you kicked out of your social situation or might cause you to lose your job." Continued...