“American Idol” season seven runner-up David Archuleta has revealed in a new interview with People just how much he struggled with coming out as a member of the LGBTQ community, to the point where he was having suicidal thoughts and nearly had a mental breakdown.
David Archuleta Said He Was Having Panic Attacks & Suicidal Thoughts Before He Came Out Publicly
Archuleta has opened up in the past year and a half about his coming out process, telling Variety in a 2021 interview that it started during his time on “American Idol,” even if he didn’t know then what exactly was going on inside. He also said later when he did admit to himself that he was bisexual, he prayed for God to take that away, telling Variety he would pray things like, “God, please take this away from me. If you’re there, and if you really have a plan for me, please change me. I know you can change things. You could change water into wine! You can change me.”
Now in a new interview with People, Archuleta talked about being engaged in 2021 to a woman and having a panic attack while they were out to dinner because he was thinking about being intimate with her.
“I was panicking. I didn’t move for 30 minutes. I was thinking about having to be her partner and being intimate. She said, ‘What the heck is going on?’ I was like, ‘All I know is I can’t be around you. I need three weeks. I’m going to work really hard. I’m going too fast. I’m going to pray,'” said the singer, adding, “I was having anxiety attacks when I was around her because you’re trying to force intimacy with someone that you’re not able to experience. I didn’t want to accept that I was into guys.”
In June 2021, he came out publicly but has been struggling with a crisis of faith. Archuleta grew up a devout member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and he told People that when he was at his lowest point, he thought “it would be a better choice to just end [his] life.”
He also said that he would have thoughts along the lines of “God would probably forgive me if I ended my life because it’s better than what I could become, which is if I’m gay or LGBT of any sorts.”
Archuleta said that he was raised thinking that being gay was as “evil” as “murdering someone,” that’s how bad it was growing up. But no matter “how hard [he] tried to marry a girl, it wasn’t right,” said the singer of his three broken engagements, all to women.
He also knows “it was rough” on the women, adding, “I’m sure other people who’ve been in that situation can relate. People who are queer, who’ve tried to get married just to do the ‘right’ thing, it ends up not being a very good thing, and it’s not very healthy for either participant of the relationship.”
Archuleta Is Taking a Break From the Church & Embracing Who He Is
In the interview, he said that after he accepted himself as a queer man, he tried to speak to leaders in the church about it and it left him frustrated because they were inflexible.
“For my own mental health, I can’t keep putting myself in a place where it’s so conflicting where they say, ‘We love you so much, but at the same time, you must change who you are. Oh, you can’t? Then we’re going to ignore this problem,'” said Archuleta.
He said that his family has been very supportive of his decision to step away from the church.
“I just had to take a step away, take a break from religion — because for my own sanity, I did not want to weigh out whether it was better for me to live and exist, or if it was better for me not to exist. It hurts me because my religion was everything for me,” said Archuleta.
On his social media, Archuleta has spoken candidly about this whole journey as well. In September, he posted a video to TikTok captioned, “Me finally coming to terms with my sexuality and deciding to come out after all the inner turmoil,” as he lip-syncs the lyrics, “Who cares what anyone else will say?”
In the written caption on the post, he added, “Thought the world was gonna end if I did and would lose everyone I loved including myself coming from a religious conservative background I’ve always been extremely devoted to. Finally just had to stop worrying what everyone else would think.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifelime by dialing 988, or text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis text line at 741741. You can also visit 988lifeline.org.