John Rich responds to Chely Wright: 'I would never pass judgment on any friend of mine'

Chely-Wright-John-RichImage Credit: PRN/PR Photos; Robert Pitts/LandovIn her recently-released memoir, Like Me, country singer Chely Wright comes out — and takes a harsh stand against old colleague John Rich (of Big & Rich). The two performed together in a long-ago Opryland show, and, according to Wright, it was a comment from Rich about sexuality that pushed her over the edge. As she told Access Hollywood, “[John] said, ‘You’re not gay are you?!’ I said, ‘No, John, I’m not.’ He said, ‘Good, thank God.’ And that began a spiral for me. I had a meltdown shortly after that.”

Now, Access Hollywood has posted the following statement from Rich on their website: “I would never pass judgment on any friend of mine. I feel awful that, at this time in Chely’s life, my decade old comment — ‘Good, thank God’ — was taken the wrong way. I was clumsily trying to express my relief that even a country boy like me had a one-in-a-million chance of having a beer with a woman as talented and attractive as Chely. For years after that conversation, Chely invited me to perform at charity events. In all that time, I wish she would have said something directly to me before the book’s publicity tour, especially since some of the comments attributed to me in the book are not mine. But I am happy for her and only wish her the best in her personal and professional life.”

Rich, who got in some hot water with the gay community after comments he made on a radio show in 2007, is clearly doing his best to smooth things over. But in her recent interview with EW.com, Wright implied that she still has her doubts. “I think he sees what it feels like to take on the gays, and he didn’t like it,” she said. “And I think he may not want to take this on. So he may say, ‘Um, I love Chely. I can love the sinner, hate the sin.’ He may say that. I don’t have to believe it.”

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Comments (88 total) Add your comment
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  • kezbo

    Johh, get off Ol’ Leroy, buddy. Guess you’re trying not to incur the wrath of the gays again?

  • crispy

    He is a blooming homophobe! How horrible he made her feel that way for all these years! I hope she gets revenge!

    • LOL

      Typical country hick. Rich probably voted for Bush.

      • fenderjazz

        Does it always have to be political? Get a hobby…

      • Blondie

        He did and was public about it. He did a fundraiser for Bush when he was running for a 2nd term. What an idiot!

      • Dave Keller

        If Mr. Rich did vote for President, it would have been only one vote out of nearly 63 million people who voted for him in 2004.

      • J.

        Dave, the number was actually 53 million that voted for Bush, and 51 million for Kerry, roughly for both. Don’t inflate the numbers.

      • Seriously

        I did vote for Bush..what does that have to do with it! I am a hetero with gay and hetero friends and fam and seriously who gives a crud what someone does in the bedroom grow up!

      • hf

        “who gives a crud what someone does in the bedroom”
        Bush and a lot of his republican allies for starters. To be fair, I think Bush doesn’t really care, it was just politics, he had to appeal to the nutzoids that are the base of the modern republican party.

    • ZeeZee

      Funny, I have thought for years that HE was the gay one…married or not – won’t surprise me if he comes out later. Love ya Chely, always have! You are a great entertainer!

    • Jennifer

      Her revenge for what? Her insecurities. That is C-R-A-Z-Y! She doesn’t seem to care who’s feelings she’s hurting by exposing her sexual partners in this book. I’m sure a married man with children now(Brad Paisley) wouldn’t want his children to read about his personal life, but she’s put it out there…shame on her for such intimate details.

      • Carol

        Couldn’t have said it better

    • Kellie

      Seriously don’t care what she does at home but this is such a cheap publicity stunt and now she’s throwing an old friend under the bus.

  • lala

    I have a lot of respect for people who insist that their sexuality shouldn’t make a difference in who they are and then use it for publicity for their new book. Now that’s classy!

    • Juuust a little outside

      Yeah! Can you believe the gall of people talking about themselves in their own book about themselves?!?

      • Brooke

        It’s horrible, isn’t it? New rule: no talking about yourself in your biography. Talk about cats instead. Heterosexual cats, of course.

      • Jennifer

        Just yourself…why do you have to tell intimate details of others? Oh I know, because of their high profile careers and the number of books it might sell for you! What class!(Sarcasm intended)

    • LOL

      Juuust & Brooke FTW!

    • Kellie

      Totally agree…how coincidental that this is released with her CD.

  • outside agitator

    with that hat and Village People ‘stache, John Rich should be thinking about his own “coming out” interview now that his career is tanking. you done squeezed the redneck teet a little too dry there, John.

  • Henry

    Bravo to you, Chely. As Madonna once said, “What would life be without all those good ole fashioned morals to rebel against?”

  • Carl

    I feel bad for John. We live in such an abnormal politically correct world now. You can’t say anything anymore for fear of hurting someone’s feelings, even if it happened years ago. What an eff’d up society we have now.

    • LOL

      Carl you sound like the world is passing you by. Just like the GOP.

      • fenderjazz

        Thanks for “contributing”…

    • kevin

      it is not just someone Carl, it is an entire community. people don’t have a choice in their sexual orientation just like they don’t have a choice of their skin color. Discrimination against gays is no different than discrimination against blacks. And not supporting gay marriage, a civil right every American should be alotted, is discrimination. If john rich had said, “I hate it when someone wears their baseball cap backwards” that is a matter of opinion, but when opinion becomes bigotry, we as a society are just going backwards

    • Kellie

      Totally agree Carl.

    • Mary

      Carl, I have to say I totally agree.

  • Philip

    She’s so pretty. Hope porn films are in her future. I would love to see her in a lesbian lick flick. You go girl !

    • Brooke

      Yes, country singers who have long, successful careers do often go into porn. Happens all the time.

      • LOL

        Brooke FTW again!

      • severine

        O.K. “long and successful”?
        I mean, kudos to her for being honest and proud but I don’t think that she’s that big a deal. Non-country fans barely knew her before she came out….

      • musica1

        Hardly successful. I’m a country music fan, and when I heard this story on the radio could barely remember the name and couldn’t think of a song she sings.

  • Fred Buell

    I wish Chely Wright well. One I don’t give a dam, two whom am I to judge. So I don’t. She is just another human being who ought to be able to enjoy her life. Enough said.

  • Yes

    Gee, with comments like this I don’t know why she was concerned about coming out…

  • Joe the Ox

    I find her comments about Rich pretty self serving. If, as he says, she’s continued to invite him to fund raisers and what have you, and this is the first he’s heard of this (in her book and through reporter’s questions), then her own conduct is questionable. Gee, I wonder why? Possibly because he’s a profile target, he’s done better than her commercially, and it gives some added spin and buzz to her book and forthcoming cd? I’m not wasting my money on anything she puts out.

    • Penny

      I agree with Joe. After all their time together, she couldn’t talk about this with him? She has to put it in a book? With friends like that, who needs enemies!

      • Fisher

        She couldn’t talk to him about it because she was afraid. He made a comment that led her to believe he was very homophobic and she didn’t want him to know who she really was because she was afraid he would let her secret out and ruin her career. Sheesh! You people can be so dense sometimes. You have no idea how absolutly terrifying it can be for gay people to come out!

    • Kellie

      Right..what does John Rich’s comments from years ago have to do with this? I’m sure some “un-famous” also said something that struck a nerve, why aren’t they mentioned?

  • Bubba

    Damn! Looks like Brad Paisley wasn’t getting the job done! No wonder he moved on.

    • Jennifer

      I bet he thanks God everyday for unanswered prayers. He is really blessed with a wonderful wife and family!

  • joseph

    If I ever see Rich I swear this masculine gay male will take him out back in the alley and stomp his ass. This guy looks gayer than liberace.

  • joseph

    and I think Joe the Ox (wow is that gay) and Carl have a future together.

    • Bubbles

      Joey…you turn me on big guy

  • Jen

    John Rich may be a jack@ss, but in this case his explanation makes sense. Still I could never buy his music because he is an angry bigot. Chely Wright is coming off as really antagonistic and selfish, not to mention a coward. She really couldn’t take time to call Brad Paisley? From all accounts he is like the nicest guy in country music. She could have at least warned him, or had her publicist warn his publicist. I guess I will not be buying her music, either. Good thing I didn’t like her or John Rich anyway. I don’t get why everyone is saying Wright was such a huge star. Yeah, she won a few awards, but it’s country, every new artist with a hit wins an award. The only single of hers I remember is Single White Female, which was mediocre at best, and it was over 10 years ago.

  • lorie loreman

    Given his previous comments about gays i doubt that he is really apologetic for his comments to ms wright. i dont believe he can even see how hateful and harmful his comments are

    • Brian

      Might want to read the quote again – I don’t see an apology in there anywhere; just a clarification and well wishes…you can try an read more into it, but I don’t think it’s an apology nor is one needed!

      • Frank

        Why should he. Last I checked it’s a free country yet? Isn’t it?

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