Everything you need to know about LGBTQ+ X Factor winner Matt Terry: ‘I’m no longer afraid’

The X Factor winner Matt Terry has come out as LGBTQ+ and discussed his sexuality for the first time

Matt Terry, who won the thirteenth season of The X Factor in 2016, came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in March 2024.

The singer-songwriter revealed that his recent single “His Car” is an apology to the first man he fell in love with, after Terry, 30, asked him to keep their romance a secret.

Speaking to Gay Times, Terry declared that he is “no longer afraid” and has decided to “take back control” following intense media speculation about his sexuality during his time on the singing competition.

Terry described writing “His Car” as “his truth” and “one of the most important stories” he has to tell.

“I’ve been hiding who I was, and I haven’t really opened up. I’ve never let anybody in,” Terry shared.

“This song is an apology to the first man I fell in love with because I asked a lot of him. I said to him, ‘You’re not allowed to tell anyone about this’ and he loved me enough to do so.”

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Terry went on to describe the “so f**king hard” experience of being on The X Factor and in the public eye aged just 23, and being hounded to come out.

Matt Terry X Factor final

Matt Terry won The X Factor in 2016, knocking the judges’ collective socks off and wowing his fans with his take on Sam Smith’s ‘The Writing’s on The Wall’ and Randy Crawford’s ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away.’

But Matt Terry said his time on the hit show was very challenging. He claimed that tabloids would write stories about him kissing men outside pubs, or liking gay swimmer Tom Daley’s Instagram photos, while one of his own managers demanded to know his sexuality.

“I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I hadn’t spoken to my family. I hadn’t spoken to my friends. It was getting on top of me,” said Terry, who at the time hadn’t been with a man yet.

In the years since his time on The X Factor, Terry said that he has been offered money by several British media outlets to discuss his sexuality.

“The press, and people around me in the music industry, were asking me for an answer I could’ve give, because it wasn’t an area I’d explored yet,” the “When Christmas Comes Around” hitmaker explained.

Who is Matt Terry dating?

Matt Terry is keeping his cards close to his chest at the moment and hasn’t revealed whether he has a partner.

Speaking about his time on The X Factor, he said: “I’d never been with a man at this point. But, I knew that I wanted to explore that and it was a side of me that existed.”

Matt was forced to deny a romance with co-star Freddy Parker during his time on the show, laughing off claims that they had shared a kiss to celebrate as Matt was crowned the winner of the singing competition.

X Factor winner Matt Terry.
The X Factor winner Matt Terry. (Getty)

Terry shared that his decision to step away from the music industry for a while – he didn’t release any new music between 2018 and 2023 – was due in part to the pressure he was put under to disclose his sexuality.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. There was no one there to protect or help me,” he said.

“I was like, ‘OK, I see what’s happening here.’ And that’s when I decided that [my sexuality] is for me. That’s when I said, ‘I’m going to take a step back.'”

He added that while he’s nervous about how the public and media will respond to his coming out, he’s “prepared” for it.

“I’d be lying if I said I’m not nervous and that I’m tough-as-nails. But, I just love where I’m at and I love the man I’ve become. Being in love with another man is part of who I am, so if I don’t love me, then I’m not doing it right,” he said.

“We should love every part of ourselves. I’m very proud [of my sexuality], and I’m no longer afraid.”

Matt Terry’s single “His Car” is out now.