He came out to the world as a member of the LGBTQ community in 2021.
But former American Idol star David Archuleta revealed that his friends from his time growing up in the Mormon church have been ‘cold’ toward him after he left the church the following year.
While speaking to People at the unveiling of a star honoring the late music legend George Michael on Project Angel Food’s Path of Angels, the 32-year-old singer delved into how coming to terms with his sexuality had negatively impacted his relationship with those around him.
Last year, he shared that ‘dozens’ of fans attending one of his Christmas concerts held in Utah walked out after he mentioned being queer while on stage.
But now it is his own friends who have allegedly lost their warm demeanor toward the singer.
Cool reception: David Archuleta, 32, revealed to People on Monday that several of his friends from his time growing up in the Mormon Church were ‘cold’ to him after he came out as queer in 2021 and left the church last year; seen Monday in LA
Not hiding: Archuleta previously described prejudice from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after ‘dozens’ walked out of a Christmas concert in Utah after he mentioned by queer
‘I went to a funeral of one of the worldwide church leaders of the Mormon church a few days ago, and it was weird to step into it no longer being a part of it and see, “You know what? It seems like everyone has moved on from me as well,”‘ Archuleta said.
‘The people I knew were just like, “Oh, hi.” I used to give them a hug and stuff, and now they’re just reaching out their hand,’ he continued. ‘I’m like, “I haven’t changed. I’m still trying to show my love to y’all,” but it’s like, “You know what? They’ve moved on from me. Why am I still hanging on to this.”‘
He added that he thinks his former friends ‘don’t think of me the same.’
‘They were cold with me, and so it’s like, You know what? I’m still trying to get these people’s approval even though I’m no longer a part of this and don’t believe it anymore,’ he mused. ‘I just need to move on.’
Part of that process has been embracing events frequented by queer people, including the Dreamstate musical festival, which he attended last week in Long Beach, California.
‘Before, I’d be like, “This is wrong. This is bad. I’m going to get in trouble,”‘ David said of his thinking when he was in the LDS Church. ‘You think you’re going to die because you’re in a place that is too freeing, but it’s a beautiful experience.’
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church) does not consider same-sex attractions to be a sin, but does prohibit members of the church from acting on those attractions.
LDS members discovered to be acting on same-sex attractions can be disciplined with probation or be prevented from participating in sacraments while they attempt to cease all same-sex affections.
However, members who refuse to end same-sex relationship or who declare their sexual orientation to be an innate part of themselves can be excommunicated from the church.
Like they barely knew him: ‘The people I knew were just like, “Oh, hi.” I used to give them a hug and stuff, and now they’re just reaching out their hand,’ he said; seen Monday
Enough of that: ‘They were cold with me, and so it’s like, You know what? I’m still trying to get these people’s approval even though I’m no longer a part of this and don’t believe it anymore,’ he mused. ‘I just need to move on’
Legend: David was helping to honor another queer icon, the late George Michael, by unveiling his star on Project Angel Food’s Path of Angels; seen at the 2012 London Olympic Games
An honor: Archuleta was lucky enough to meet George Michael while he was alive when the former Wham! singer performed on his season of American Idol; seen in 2009 in LA
Although Archuleta avoided that fate, he sounded positive about embracing his queer identity at the event honoring an earlier queer pioneer, George Michael.
‘I feel like I’m in this stage where I’m learning to not have to apologize anymore for who I am,’ David told the publication. ‘[I’m] now trying to find myself as an adult queer person and say, “You know what? It’s OK to be me, even if that means I’m someone else from who I was maybe 10 years ago, five years ago.”‘
Archuleta was lucky enough to meet the former Wham! singer when he performed on season 7 of American Idol, the season that David came in second place on.
‘He was just not afraid to get people a little uncomfortable, and I think I need to learn how to do that a little more,’ says Archuleta. ‘As I step away more and more away from the culture I grew up in and the mindset that I was raised to have, I am learning to find myself more and more.’