For a 20-year-old superstar notoriously tight-lipped about his personal life, Shawn Mendes had a lot to say about himself in a new, no-holds-barred Rolling Stone cover story. Titled “Confessions of a Neurotic Teen Idol,” the profile includes intimate details of Shawn’s rumored former relationship with Hailey Baldwin (now, Hailey Bieber) and the theories about his sexuality that surround his image online.
Though paparazzi spotted Shawn and Hailey together around Toronto, and the two walked hand-in-hand down the 2018 Met Gala red carpet, the duo insisted they were just friends. They dodged questions for months about the possible relationship, even resulting in an awkward interview in which Shawn was asked if he’d sing at Hailey’s wedding, once news of her engagement to Justin Bieber was made public.
In the Rolling Stone profile, Shawn admits the two were certainly past the friend zone, but not far enough to label their sort-of romance: “I don’t even wanna put a title on it.” Now, as Shawn views photos of other celebrity couples, he feels pressure “to get paparazzied” with women to feel relevant.
Some of that pressure is tied to long-standing, unfounded rumors and theories about Shawn’s sexuality, which he describes as “this massive, massive thing for the last five years about me being gay.” Though he acknowledges that “in my heart I know that [being gay is] not a bad thing,” Shawn confesses that the internet’s obsessive nit-picking over his every movement bothers him.
In his most candid quote, the singer lays out the stakes of the constant effort to out him as gay. “You fucking guys are so lucky I’m not actually gay and terrified of coming out,” Shawn says. “That’s something that kills people. That’s how sensitive it is.”
For the rest of the magazine cover story, Shawn sheds light on other areas of his life that fans might not know about, like drug use and his team’s effort to elevate him from the Vine fame that got him started. On Monday (Nov. 26), the “In My Blood” singer, acknowledged that Rolling Stone had captured his “insecurities,” but lamented the “positive side” of his story hadn’t come through. Read the full article here and see parts of Shawn’s cover shoot, below.