Words: Will Stroude
Shawn Mendes has hit out at persistent comments regarding his sexuality, saying the constant speculation hurts "so many other people" who may be struggling with their own.
The Canadian singer, 20, told the Guardian he still gets "riled up" over the rumours despite addressing them several times over the last two years.
"For me it’s hurtful", he said. "I get mad when people assume things about me because I imagine the people who don’t have the support system I have and how that must affect them."
The 'In My Blood' singer, who kicked off the UK leg of his world tour in Glasgow on Saturday night (6 April), continued: "That was why I was so angry, and you can see I still get riled up, because I don’t think people understand that when you come at me about something that’s stupid you hurt so many other people.
"They might not be speaking, but they’re listening."
Mendes, who sent fans into meltdown earlier this year after being announced as the new face of Calvin Kelin underwear, first shot down speculation he was gay in a Snapcat video in 2017.
"I noticed a lot of people were saying I gave them a 'gay vibe'," he said at the time.
"First of all, I'm not gay. Second of all, it shouldn't make a difference if I was or wasn't. The focus should be on the music and not my sexuality."
The star, who will play three dates at London's O2 Arena next week, later admitted he felt the need to affirm this sexuality in public to "prove" he's not gay.
In an interview with Rolling Stone last November, he said: "In the back of my heart, I feel like I need to go be seen with someone - like a girl - in public, to prove to people that I'm not gay.
"Even though in my heart I know that it's not a bad thing. There's still a piece of me that thinks that. And I hate that side of me."