« Madonna rails against "New York Times Magazine" cover story: "It makes me feel raped" | Main | Mahershala Ali to star and produce prison film 'Solitary' »

In "EW" magazine's new Pride issue, Melissa Etheridge jokes that her coming out was a "publicity stunt"

Carter Smith for EWThis Pride Month is special because it also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the event that started the gay rights movement in America. To mark the occasion, Melissa Etheridge graces one of six special Entertainment Weekly covers celebrating "50 Years of Gay Pride."

In the issue, Etheridge participates in a raw and honest round table with five other notable LGBTQ celebrities, and reveals that back in the '80s, the guy who signed her to her first record deal asked her, "Okay, what are we gonna do about this gay thing?" to which she replied, "I don't know. I'm not gonna be anyone I'm not." His response was, "Well, as long as you don't flag-wave."

Melissa finally came out publicly in the early '90s. Asked if her decision helped or hurt her career, she says, "I went from selling about a million records each record to coming out, putting out the next record, and it sold six million records. I [joke that] my coming out was a publicity stunt!"

She continues, "All of a sudden I had more press than I ever had. And it was awkward press. I'd sit down, and these poor reporters...they're asking about being gay. And I just kept answering the same questions over and over. But I realized, 'This is the first time [those questions have] been asked.'"

EW's other cover stars and round table participants are Neil Patrick Harris, Anderson Cooper, Wilson Cruz, Ruby Rose and writer and transgender activist Janet Mock. The new issue of EW hits newsstands on June 7.

Melissa's new album The Medicine Show is out now.  She'll perform in New York's Times Square on June 30 during the Closing Ceremony of WorldPride 2019.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ABC News Radio