Adam Lambert on VH1's 'Behind the Music': His struggle with his sexuality -- EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW VIDEO

When eventual runner-up Adam Lambert hit American Idol back in 2009, the buzz about the singer wasn’t only focused on his stellar vocals–much of the din about Lambert instead was about his sexuality, which he didn’t address directly until after the season was completed.

It’s still a hot topic, as Lambert discusses when he first realized he was gay in the latest episode of VH1’s Behind the Music: Adam Lambert, which will air on the cable network Sunday, August 7, at 10 p.m. EW has the exclusive preview clip of the hour-long episode.

“When Adam was younger, he had an imagination that was wild,” his mother, Leila Lambert ,says. “He loved to put on costumes and make-up, and he loved to play all kinds of characters.” Lambert himself chimes in: “My parents put me in a theater program and that was to kind of channel some of my excess energy. They put me in indoor soccer and t-ball and, surprisingly, neither one of those really worked out for me,” he says with a laugh.

As he got older, though, the identity crisis began. “I think when I was about sixth grade, that’s when I realized that I was probably not the same as the other boys,” Lambert remembers in the clip. “And, you know, it was a weird discovery and, of course, I was kind of in denial for a while and it was all in my head. To me, it was a deep secret. I was just not ready to talk about it with anybody. I didn’t know how my parents would react, and I didn’t know what that would be like, and I think, at at that age, it was something that I was ashamed of because it was so different and wasn’t the norm and not encouraged and no one talks about that in school. That’s one of the things that’s so hard about being a young person and realizing you’re gay or bi or whatever–we’re not told that that’s okay.”

Of course, Lamert’s sexuality isn’t the only thing chronicled in the Behind the Music episode — the hour gets into his rise through theater, his time on American Idol, and his controversial American Music Awards performance in the fall of 2009. Friends, family, and music industry folks–including Barry Weiss and American Idol season 8 winner Kris Allen–also chime in on the special.

EW has the exclusive first look at the episode here:

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more:
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Mary J. Blige on VH1′s ‘Behind the Music’: On going sober for love — EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW VIDEO
Miranda Lambert on VH1′s ‘Behind the Music’: The star talks about her early romance with Blake Shelton — EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW VIDEO
Ice Cube on VH1′s ‘Behind the Music’: Watch the preview — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Missy Elliott on VH1′s ‘Behind the Music’: The raptress discusses Graves’ disease, childhood abuse, and more — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO


Comments (157 total) Add your comment
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  • KC

    Will he ever be known for his “music”?
    No.

    • Millie

      Considering that he’s sold millions of singles, has a Grammy nomination, and a sold-out world tour, I’d say he is known for his music.

      The people that focus on his sexuality tend to be homophobes and sensationalistic media outlets looking for quick clicks. Like,apparently, EW.

      • @Millie

        I understand that “millions” of dopey people bought his mediocre music but that doesn’t justify a “behind the music” special. You are right however about people focusing on his sexuality because that’s all he will ever be remembered for.

      • PJ

        Can’t name a single song of his.

      • lt

        and David Cook or Kris Allen fans, lol

      • DJ

        The fan bases that whine the most when Adam gets news are Cook, Allen and Aiken fans. It’s so fun to watch the melt down. They seem to be in this weird, bizzare competition that the rest of the world outside the Idol bubble is not in.

      • Emma

        For you entertainment; What do ya want from me?;Music Again. Just to name a few.

      • 4815162342

        Everytime I hear about this young man, I always sing in my head “Lambert, the sheepish lion.”

      • Nancy

        Lambert, the man who hates Lady Gaga.

      • sarah

        @NANCY
        THAT WOULD BE JAMES DURBIN NOT ADAM..

      • cathy

        and yet Millie and PJ you search out articles on him so you can write something negative about him. what is your problem? Has he outshone your favourite?

      • DTHor

        He’ been completely overshadowed by his sexuality and his persona, and no one’s more responsible for it than his handlers… experienced enough to know better one would hope, to manage to get the focus back onto his music.

    • me

      Exactly. He’s been in the public eye for, like, 10 minutes, and he’s already got a “Behind the Music”? WHAT MUSIC???

      I can see how his stories about growing up could help other kids, but geesh, EVERYBODY is famous now, for absolutely no reason. (and I think he has a good voice).

      • CJ

        He’s been in the public eye for two years hardly 10 minutes. He’s been in the business for over a decade. So what is your criteria?

      • Matt

        C’mon, “in the business for over a decade”? People have heard of him for only the past two years, and in this current year he’s made zero news. You know what the criteria is: more than ONE album, a meaninful impact on pop culture, and to to log 5-10 years in the industry

      • Adwina Lambert

        am the new queen of pop after mama michael jacko! tee-hee!!

      • Josie

        “You know what the criteria is: more than ONE album, a meaninful impact on pop culture, and to to log 5-10 years in the industry”

        Actually, @Matt, that’s YOUR criteria. Obviously not VH1’s. You don’t get to dictate who does, or does not, merit coverage. VH1 has collaborated with Adam previously (first artist to be featured on return of Unplugged; first artist to be featured on its online Stripped page), and was clearly pleased with the results of the collaboration (i.e ratings or web site hits). Two of his videos made VH1’s top 40 video countdown for 2010. VH1 is not a charity; it would not be doing a BTM for Adam if it was not in their best interest to do so.

      • Art

        Yeah, this is kind of pointless. Adam Lambert did some theater, went on a game show, released an album that had killer pre-sales, terrible reviews, and decent radio play for two singles. Oh, and he played the “is he or isn’t he” game with his sexuality until he didn’t need America’s votes anymore. Does that bring us up to speed? Is there really much more to get behind? I’m by no means a, as some would say, “hater.” I just think that what’s out there about him is pretty much public knowledge and his career hasn’t quite been legendary or long enough to warrant a show like this.

      • Rio

        You know I would tend to agree with you and I LOVE the guy. Then again, he’s been in the public eye as long as Lady GaGa so it’s all relative I suppose in these days of instant fame for no reason. What happened to the days when you needed to have a successful 10-20 year career to get a Behind the Music episode?

      • Cam Huftalen

        Okay so @Matt, You are just saying what you think “in the business” means. He has a successful career and he has a huge impact on many people. He is a trail blazer and just because he hasn’t been in the public eye for that long doesn’t mean he wasn’t in the music and theater industry. Having an albums and press isn’t all that it is about. He had many other experiences, such as touring the country in a performance of “Wicked” and other achievements. To me, this is more interesting than many of the people who get behind the music episodes.

    • JamTheMan

      As someone stated he has sold well over a million CD’s worldwide and 5 million singles just off of one CD. Those who are stuck in the Idol world and think the world only revolves around their fav are quick to dismiss his accomplishments or are ignorant of them. Adam is just as popular as Rihanna, Kesha and GaGa in some countries. It’s amazing how some people are so wrapped up in the Idol world and carry the competition thing to these almost phychotic levels.

      The focus is on his music in most other countries but unfortunately the U.S. is still stuck in the puritanical dark ages thanks in part to the ultra conservative right faction who are determined to drive the country backwards. You still see the abject stupidity of some in their comments on articles about him. They don’t even have the intelligence to be embarrassed to show such ignorance in such a public fashion. Like it or not Adam is the first openly gay singer to be signed by a major label in the U.S. Being the first at anything will garner a lot of discussion. If it wasn’t a big deal then no one would talk about it now would they?

      • What?

        I barely know any of this dweeb’s music. What the hell are you talking about with this idol world crap? Not everyone cares about people from this show. Sounds like you do but you need to leave the rest of us out of it.

      • Kiki

        If you don’t know his music and don’t care about Idol, then why are you reading this article anyway?

      • sarah

        @what,seems like you cared enough to read and make a comment on it.this is why we need adam to speak about love and exceptance so young adults can hear another side of the story and just not hear all the hate

      • teacher

        Um, can you just leave your politics out of it? I happen to be a traditionalist, a conservative American and a fan who drove hourse and spent hundreds to see two Lambert shows last year. And I get SO SICK of going on pages that have nothing to do with politics and havin people shove their opinion of politics down my throat.

        So can we talk about Adam? ‘Cos in my opinion, it’s the looney left that’s ruining the country in a lotta ways (How’s obama workin’ out for ya?), but I see no reason to let it divide the Glamily.

        Thanks.

    • momshell

      he is known for his music, get out of your cavern and smell the flowers

    • JEt

      The 6mil he made last year tells me, yes he is known for his music. The sold out international tour tells me the same thing. The gold and platinum albums and singles in the US and internationaly also speak to that. And wasn’t his Grammy nominaiton for best pop male vocalist? Yes, It was.

    • wakeforce

      Obviously, EW will continue to do stories on Adam, GaGa, Kanye, Twilight, Glee, Harry Potter, Sarah Palin, and the like because they bring in comments. The minute no one responds to the articles, they will stop talking about them. The anger and vitriol that comes with these subjects is getting a little boring for those of us that don’t get our panties in a bunch about any of it!

    • Alb

      Ah, why in the world would the David Cook fan base give a rats ass about Adam Lambert. Both are great performers, but they didn’t compete in the same season and they don’t produce the same kind music, their shows are very different and David is on record as being a supporter of gay rights. It sounds more like it’s the Adam Lambert fan base doing their best to play my-dog-is-better-than-your-dog which they should have out-grown when they were 10. Just enjoy Adam’s music, he’s a great performer, he really doesn’t need a small group of over-eager fans to be avenging angels on his behalf, he’s able to take care of himself quite nicely.

    • Angel

      Will he ever have an article on EW that doesn’t have douchebags commenting?
      No.

      • DTHor

        There are no articles on EW that don’t have douchebags commenting on it, not as long as I’m around! I mean…. oh.

    • abadstroller

      A “Behind the Music” already? Wayyyy too soon, MTV. Let’s see a body of work after the perspective of a few more years. Who’s up next for your premature retrospective? Rebecca Black?

  • smokeyvera

    Why the sexuality thing again, again and again? We know he’s gay. Focus on his music and that stellar voice and all that he has done with his charity work, hospital and military visits, dealing with kids. Come-on. Get past it. He’s not a gay singer. He’s just a fabulous singer. Do you qualify Gaga and call her a straight singer?

  • momma bear

    BTM is no longer some sort of a lifetime achievement award. They are including episodes on current and relatively new artists. Adam is a popular VH1 artist and has participated in other VH1 programs. As a grammy nominated platinum and gold selling artist with an ineresting back-story, it is not surprising VH1 would do a BTM on this. I agree that I wish the media would move beyond his sexuality….you would think the interest in that subject would have died down after 2 years….

  • dee123

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    • Memo

      Interestingly enough you still managed to sign in read the article watch the video and even bothered to comment.

  • Mom in the Suburbs

    I don’t mind the focus on his sexuality if it can help shine a light on the trouble facing gay youth BUT this special does need to also highlight his music achievements as a grammy-nominated artist and well-respected voice in the pop music scene. I’ll wait and see if vh1 gets the right balance before I cast an opinion on that. Glad they are showcasing current artists, too, and not just lifetime-achievement artists.

  • anna

    It is a shame that Adam is not known for his great voice & talent! He should have won American Idol the year he was on. He was the best!!! I kind of blame Adam, maybe if he would stop letting the people who are interviewing him focus on his sexuality & refuse to talk about it maybe they would realize what a truly talented person he is!!! After all, his sexual preference should be a private matter. I guess I’m old fashioned, but I don’t believe a person should talk about their sex life with total strangers!!

    • John

      It’s because Adam doesn’t have a great voice & talent!

      • Marcus

        John, people who actually understand what having talent means disagree with you.

      • People

        Marcus, don’t speak for us, thanks.

      • Kiki

        Whenever anyone says Lambert does not have a good voice, it immediately invalidate everything else they say. You may not like his music or his performance style, but to deny his vocal ability is laughable.

      • paris

        Yep. And no IT factor. Well, he’s got a great singing voice, but everyone currently on tour from Idol Season 10 has more stage presence than Lambert does.

      • momshell

        says who? John? John who?
        maybe your problem lays there…uh?

      • mlm

        @Paris You have got to be kidding!!!!!

      • Whattheheck?

        Question to self:

        Are all Paris’ of the world intellectually challenged? (city excepted)

        Answer to self:

        It would appear to be true,judging from the most ridiculous admission by the @paris on this site. It would appear she’s a bit visually and hearing compromised,as well!!!

      • eyeovine

        Heh paris is playing the opposite game. trololo

    • Chica

      Anna, Im a huge Adam fan but I agree with only one point you’ve made, the focus should not constantly be on Adam’s sexuality.

      Beyond that, Adam IS known for his incredible vocal talent. His voice is very respected in the music industry, It’s been disected, reviewed and praised in articles and blogs written by opera singers and rock vocal enthusiasts alike. His fans, above all, love him for that VOICE not because he’s gay.

      And Adam is NOT talking about his sex life, he’s talking about his sexuality, there is huge difference. He’s opening up conversations and minds with his openess about who he is. Speaking about what it was like for him as a teen has already helped MANY kids AND adults deal with their own struggles with sexuality. I cant tell you how many posts, blogs, comments I’ve read thanking Adam for being open and not being afraid to be who he is and how it’s helped them do the same. Would I like to see the media less focused on that one aspect? Of course I would and I believe that will happen as he becomes more established as an artist and people start to see beyond that one aspect of his life.

      • jeremy

        @chica: Adam’s entire act is based on his sexuality. He is the one you should have the problem with. Remember that over the top male on male kiss at the AMA’s? He set the stage for comments like this.

  • Jean

    I don’t have a problem with the focus on his sexuality in the early years, that is what he struggled with and what helped shape the man he is today. The show is called Behind the Music and to some extent his sexuality has been a big part of that. Yes a lot of his “star power” comes for the media sensationalism of his sexuality, but he has the talent to back it up. He sold over a million cds world wide and had over 100 concerts world wide, most of which were sold out. If you don’t think he deserves this or are not interested don’t watch, I will be watching and enjoying.

  • remede

    Um, how is it helpful to the kids coming up if Adam doesn’t talk about being gay and feeling ashamed and like he did not fit in because NO ONE EVER TALKED ABOUT IT. I believe that’s the point in his talking about it.

    Looking forward to watching the whole thing on Sunday – love this guy.

  • Marcus

    I like the guy and all, but does Behind the Music regularly cover artists who’ve only released one album…?

    • Marcus

      Oh, and before you glittery grandmas jump up my butt for that comment, it’s a legit question. I don’t remember the last time I watched VH1.

      • Memo

        Marcus get your head out of your butt and into the real world instead of being stuck in the Idol bubble. Adam has a diverse fan group as noted by Rolling Stones and numerous other publications. Because you may be one those middle – aged idol tards doesn’t mean we all are.
        Obviously VH1 thinks he is news worthy as well as A&E when they did a special on him. So your point is invalid. Just because your little fav didn’t get a show don’t get all pissy. Who cares if you’ve never watched VH1? I get a kick out of the tards that watch American Idol. If you don’t like the guy why did you read the article and watch the clip? Why did you bother posting just to try and do a lame insult? First and foremost why did you google his name to bring you here? It doesn’t speak much for your character.

      • Teresa

        So, without jumping on you for the question. I don’t know what the normal practice is for BTM. Probably they don’t cover artists who are only one album into their careers — especially when the first album wasn’t a record-breaking event. It was a success, but it wasn’t Thriller.

        Sometimes I’m reminded about a passage from “The Princess Bride” (the book, not the movie), where Goldman writes about Buttercup making it onto the list of 100 most beautiful women mostly on potential.

        Adam is still mostly potential. We’ll see if the second album can be the rocket that breaks Adam into the stratosphere.

      • Rae

        Marcus and Teresa, you really should get a life. You do not get to pick the shows that choose to give Adam a special. You are not in charge of his career and you cannot control the publicity that he gets. All you can do is not watch all the media attention that continues to come his way. Less stress for you. And more good Adam news for the rest of us.

      • staciegirlie

        Without jumping your butt, when VH1 announced they would be bringing back the series, BTM, they stated that BTM would not be your mother’s (father’s) BTM. They decided to change the format and feature current artists.

    • crispy

      @Marcus: At this point, it’s impossible to get a legitimate question surrounding Adam Lambert answered because his fanbase has become hysterical shut-ins who lash out at any perceived insult to their idol. Sad to say, they are no different than Clay Aiken fans.
      The answer to your question is no, Behind the Music does not typically cover artists with only 1 album. However, VH1 has recently revived the brand and changed the format to target a younger demo. (And for the record, fantards, because I know you’re sharpening your claws, my favorite song on FYE is “Broken Open”)

      • staciegirlie

        No, Crispy, we’re gonna make you walk the plank today. Just kidding :)

      • Adamfan

        Still think you’re intelligent but snarky two years after I told you that. haha

      • Joanna

        @Memo, well said, great point !

  • Jo

    His sexuality will be talked about for a while because that is why he lost American Idol to an average singer and he is the first artist to get a major record deal as an openly gay person. He carried season 8 with his amazing talent and showmanship and then lost to a guy who nobody even remembers because America is going backwards due to conservative fundamentalists pushing their agenda on this country once again. I would bet any amount of money that if he had been straight he would have sold way more than he did and be even bigger today. Being gay is a constant struggle for anyone in this backwards country of ours and Adam’s talent is helping him to break barriers and educate the ignorant idiots in this country and abroad. Without the talent and his amazing voice, he would never have been able to do this at this time in our history. I think he’ll be known for both his talent and his ability to educate.

    • wow

      You are making a lot of assumptions about Kris Allen fans with this post. Signed, a gay Kris Allen fan who does not like Adam Lambert’s MUSIC.

      • stinglikeabee

        And there you have it folks…Kris allen fans are on here going rabid..AGAIN…

      • lol

        …and pretending to be gay men AGAIN

      • Josh

        Hello bitter Kris Allen fan. It must bother you that Kris Allen is such a FLOP!

      • eyeovine

        Obviously a lot of the people who voted for Kris were not really fans, it was a vote against the gay guy. Not saying Kris doesn’t have many genuine lovely fans that love him, but the mediocre record and concert stats prove he won for different reasons.

    • Rio

      Excellent! Very well said.

    • Joanna

      @JO, agree with you 100%

  • Paul

    I saw the pic and I thought wow, it’s about time they gave a Behind the Music to k.d. Lang.

    • lt

      wow Paul- haven’t heard that one before *rolls eyes*. You trolls need to come up with some new material.

      • DJ

        They can’t because they don’t have the mental capacity for new material.

      • trish

        I see a lot of haters are jealous of ADAM’s success!

      • GetReal

        Why Adam Lambert? Why him and not someone more famous? Because it will get jillions of viewers.

      • Cynthia

        Thank you VH1 BTM. I cannot wait to see this program. Adam Lambert is a brilliant singer and performer. I’m 53 and he is the BEST male vocalist I have heard in my lifetime. Hands Down. Plus Adam is well-spoken, and a great interviewer.

    • momshell

      Paul, obsessed much? If my guess is right you will see your favorite talking about Adam’s talent and his genuine personality on this same show, so ride along hun and loosen up a bit….

  • Jennifer

    How ‘Behind the Music’ has fallen! I remember when it was about established acts with long careers whose backstories were actually significant enough to be interesting.

    • Jennifer

      For the record, I’m not saying that Adam’s struggle can’t be of help to others, just that he’s hardly established enough to warrant a ‘Behind the Music’ segment.

      • Litta

        He does not warrant a BTM. Like he did not warrent the Grammy nomination. The True Hollywoold Story. The cover of Rolling Stone. The headlining international tour. The promotion internationally. Making 6million the past year. Getting more media attention than Cook and Allen. Being recognized for his charity efforts. He and his band playing the rock festival in Russia. Oprah. Does that cover it? You fans of other idols will never be in charge of Adam’s career or opportunities so you might as well get over it. Go back and follow your guys if you can find anything about them.

  • Meme

    I wish everyone would get passed his sexual orientation and just listen to his beautiful voice.

    • DTHor

      He can’t get past his sexuality to concentrate on his beautiful voice, so why are we expected to?

  • Justin

    I just want to hear what he has to say about the AMA performance.

    • Josie

      Yeah, because it’s not like he’s ever discussed it in any other interview. {rolls eyes}

    • mlm

      That subject has been beat into the ground. Let it die!!

      • jeremy

        It’s not just a subject. He exploits his homosexuality in order to get publicity. He is the one to blame when it comes to people focusing on his sexuality and not his music. I still don’t understand why his fans get all bent out of shape about this issue.

      • eyeovine

        @jeremy give me one example of Adam exploiting his sexuality. You must have a different definition of exploit. Adam’s sexuality is a part of who he is, being honest about it is not exploiting it. And besides, I’m pretty sure the whole BTM is not going to be about his sexuality.

      • Yeah,right

        OK @jeremy,you

        If you’re gonna bring up sexuality,let’s talk about the ladies of song. They just exploit,exploit,exploit their sexuality with sexual lyrics,sexual (non)dress and sexual performance antics.

        You and your ilk obviously have blinders. Adam is tame in comparison to the ladies. But I guess I’m to assume that you have no problem with in-your-face HETEROsexuality,just homosexuals in general.

        Oh,and Adam’s fans (I can only speak for myself,but I’m sure there are many who share my frustration) get bent out of shape because we don’t see Britney,Gaga,Katy etc. being questioned about their sexuality when they are promoting their new music. I’m sure if they were,they would offer the interviewer a few choice words. Furthermore,it’s the media who is obsessed with Adam’s sexuality,not Adam. He’s just a polite,self-confident man who will address issues that many would uncomfortably squirm if asked. He would be quite happy to discuss HIS MUSIC,I’m sure.

      • jeremy

        @eyeovine: In his very first nationally televised performance after AI, Adam took the stage at the AMA’s and decided to put his homosexuality before his music. If you are really an Adam fan, you saw the performance. He clearly exploited his homosexuality. so please don’t lecture me on the topic of exploitation. Adam knew exactly what he was doing.

      • DTHor

        Sorry but Jeremy is totally right. Adam Lambert A.)prepares a statement for the press and complains that they focus on his sexuality too much, B.) books his appearances on the next morning’s talk shows, and then C.)concocts a performance that will direct focus completely to either his sexuality, or sexuality in general. The people who manage him sanction it, he’s as complicit as they are. This will continue until they all stop making money… and then Adam will adopt twins.

  • momshell

    I don’t get people who obviously live their time hating and spending time reading articles about others that are of not interest to them, just to be negative, what an effort!!!
    I can’t wait for BTM to air, Adam is very outspoken, funny and talented, he is deserving of this and more, I think he paid his dues to the industry with many years of hard work to his avail, he wasn’t just famous but he has been talented and dedicated all the way. Haters, back off!!!!

    • Aubry

      Momshell, the Foo’s are out in force because their WGwG has been dismissed. Yawn no one cares and Adam gets a BTM spot so claws come out. Can’t wait until Sunday and for the new CD and era 2.

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