Steps star Ian ‘H’ Watkins feared he was going to die of Aids at the age of nine because of terrifying TV ads shown in the 1980s.
The gay star, now 45, was growing up in an era when the government’s Section 28 clause banned any education about homosexuality.
After watching Channel 4’s It’s A Sin — his friend Callum Scott Howells played Welshman Colin — H told Guilty Pleasures: ‘I was affected so emotionally by it. I just want to talk about it all the time.
‘There were those god-awful adverts with the gravestones and the iceberg. They frightened the holy s*** out of me. I was probably about nine or ten.
‘I remember those adverts and I didn’t really understand about being gay because Section 28 was in place. If it wasn’t, maybe I would have been a little bit more informed and not so scared.
Even in his early days as a pop star, before he came out, H would pretend to magazine interviewers that he fancied Britney Spears.
But now, with Steps announcing new album What The Future Holds Pt 2, he is free to be ‘an openly gay man talking about being a father and doing HIV tests — look how far we’ve come. Small ripples can make big waves’.
He added: ‘You can control HIV with the correct medication. It’s not the death sentence it was many years ago.
‘I think it is really important to talk about taboo subjects. Kids today think they are untouchable, but you have to know your status and play safe. I am just trying to use my platform for positive things.’
H made history as part of the first same-sex partnership on Dancing On Ice and is proudly making up for lost time. ‘I wish I had been more comfortable and more confident to come out sooner,’ he said.
‘Everyone’s journey is different and they shouldn’t be forced. I’d have loved to have been more comfortable to come out sooner but I hope I’m making up for it now.’
More Guilty Pleasures…
Rita Ora-nge sizzles on a stairwell
Orange is the new…shade to go with black, says Rita Ora.
The British pop siren lit up a fire stairwell in Sydney by batting her lashes and revealing neon eye shadow.
The orange shade was all she needed to compliment her cutaway black frock as the Anywhere singer decided the uninspiring location was good enough for a photo shoot.
The 30-year-old’s sizzling Instagram shots will be fanning the flames of admiration from triple Brits nominee Doyin ‘Bugsey’ Julius.
The Young T and Bugsey star aims to make a beeline for Reets at the music bash next month. ‘Hopefully Rita will have a drink with us,’ he said this week. ‘Maybe I could “like” some old pictures on her Instagram so she knows I’ve been looking… is that creepy?’
Single girl Rita is currently plugging her EP Bang From Australia after skipping off Down Under to star on The Voice.
It’s a sin-gle life for Olly…but he insists there’s no falling out
It’s A Sin star Olly Alexander maintains there has been no falling out with his Years & Years bandmates, despite going their separate ways.
Serving up his first solo track, Starstruck, he explained why he has stopped making music with Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Turkmen.
‘I’ll tell you the honest truth of what happened,’ Olly, 30, said yesterday. ‘Me, Mikey and Emre met ten years ago. We’ve been in this band for a decade and in that time, we’ve just kind of grown apart musically.
‘We stopped making music together, and when we announced that I was going to be Olly Years & Years, it had been a long time coming, if that makes sense.’
He told Capital FM: ‘We all got into a new way of living our lives and then after the pandemic, I feel like we had all this time to reflect on what was going on and it made sense that we went our separate ways.
‘We didn’t fall out, we’re all mates. It’s definitely different but I’m excited to do my thing this time.’
Has Crown star Emma lifted the veil on her private life?
THE Crown’s Emma Corrin left followers wondering if she was using a bridal photo shoot to make an announcement about her sexuality.
The 25-year-old — who played Princess Diana — posted shots of herself in a wedding gown for trendy mag Pop but captioned the pictures: ‘ur fave queer bride’.
■ Hugh Grant, Tom Hiddleston and Priyanka Chopra Jonas lead a starry line-up of presenters for this weekend’s EE Bafta film awards. Sunday’s main ceremony will be largely virtual, but most presenters will appear in person at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Rose Byrne and Renée Zellweger will appear from LA.
■ Kylie Minogue’s career has hit a major hiccup… in a good way. The 52-year-old pop legend, who ages like a fine wine, has turned into a vino entrepreneur in recent years, with a million bottles of wine sold. To say cheers, the Wow singer has launched a rosé prosecco to expand her booze business further.
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