Clay Aiken – It’s Been Three Years

It seems impossible that it has been 3 years since Clay Aiken delivered A Thousand Different Ways to the world.  The CD was released on September 19th and the 1st week sales number was 211,234 sold.

As part of the promotion for the album, Clay had three days of coverage on Good Morning America. On September 19th, Diane introduced Clay and, along with his band, Clay performed Without You and A Thousand Days for the public.

The fans lined up hours before the taping, hoping to snag a spot in the small studio in New York.  The studio was packed and the fans got to see Clay and his band warm up and do the sound check.  According to fans in the audience, Clay was set up and out “on stage” for a long while as Diane continued with the show.  He was watching what she had to say on the monitors and encouraging his fans to keep it quiet.

As in other performances, Clay interacted with the audience and, although unable to talk to them, used his hands and face to let the crowd know he was aware they were watching him and ready to support him in this important performance.

But, the two-part interviews on September 20th and 21st were serious and heart-breaking to hear and watch.  Thinking back to what was happening to Clay at that time; I am amazed that he was able to participate in these interviews.  But, Clay sat down and drew a line in the sand with Diane Sawyer and all the tabloid press.

Clay said he was bewildered by the negative attention.

“Even though stuff about me that I read in the magazines isn’t true, it still makes me…lose sleep.  I hurt, not just for my mother who has to watch it happen and who hurts for me.  At least when I was in middle school…I understand why they picked on me.”

The intense interviews also covered Clay’s panic attacks, his use of Paxil and his dream to have a talk show.

The interviews produced many conversations throughout the Clay Aiken message boards.  Some people were angry at Diane, feeling she was asking questions that were too invasive.  Others were concerned that Clay didn’t clear up the question of his sexual orientation and felt he should have said more.  But, the overall feelings about the interviews were supportive of Clay and concerned for his health and happiness.

What about Clay?  How was he feeling?

“I hope…people like me for my singing.  I hope I sing well enough for people to stick around.  Sometimes I wonder myself, but, you know, that’s what I want to do.”

I have included three videos with this article.  They are important to watch, especially in hindsight.  Knowing all we know now,  it makes the interviews even more amazing.

September 19th


September 20th


September 21st


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  1. Thank you for the article.

    I have tears in my eyes reading, watching and remembering these interviews. I also don't understand why the media feels the need to bully Clay Aiken. He is a good man and an amazing talent. He cares about the world around him and does what he can to help. He's raised millions of dollars for charities. He's traveled to dangerous places to help raise awareness of the plight of children around the world. All of this is pushed aside by the tabloid media (and I include ALL major news outlets as tabloid media).

    I'd better stop typing – I could go on for a very long time on this subject.

    You keep on going Clay. You are an amazingly strong man, an amazingly caring man and an amazingly talented man. Don't ever stop just being you.

  2. I had forgotten how painful that series of interviews were. Why was Clay the target of such an assault and why is it continuing today? He has done nothing to warrant such an intense campaign of negativity. How can the media embrace some of the freaks out there, and sling such crap at a guy who has done nothing freakish, just lived a life for good. It still hurts my heart to watch these interviews and see the hurt and bewilderment on his face.

  3. Thanks so much for the article. Clay has written on his own site about some of this in a quote from Mother Theresa to the effect that, in the face of personal attack, being a decent person and doing good in this world is its own reward. He definitely rises above the filth in the entertainment industry and cultivates the respect of influential people like Diane Sawyer and her husband.

  4. So much has happened in the last three yeas – in the last year even! I think Diane Sawyer respects Clay Aiken immensely and was doing her job. He would have never asked her to do the exclusive when he decide to come out if he didn't like what she has done over the years.

  5. It was so hard to watch those interviews again, and see how confused he is about the bullying. I simply don't understand why the media aka the tabloids have chosen this man to trash. He just wants to sing and entertain people….he lives a decent and caring and productive life. Those interviews are just so sad. I think he has come to terms with all of the crap now, and seems to have found contentment in his life. I hope so.

  6. Aw…seeing these videos again…I partly feel like crying and partly just wanna hug him.
    He's not taking the medication any more, is he (or at least I've got the impression he isn't).
    As much as I love him it wasn't very wise of him to think medication and staying in the closet was the best. He was being stubborn (I so know what that's like :o) ) but his actions are understandable – at least to me.
    It's never easy…you always see better the other person than yourself. I'm glad he's got it all worked out now. xxx

  7. I guess I tried to forget the cruelty that Clay Aiken has endured. Watching these videos, especially the last from the 21st, was so sad for me. Why is he bashed and used as a joke??? Does this happen to Neil Patrick Harris, Lance Bass, Ellen Degeneres, and others??? Is homophobia only acceptable when used against Clay?
    Coming out is a personal decision. No one objected to the people named above, waiting to "come out" way later than Clay Aiken.
    My heart was breaking watching those videos again. Ex fans and haters need to watch those and see how cruel their actions are. Clay is still the same good person.

  8. I totally agree with SueReu
    I'm crying now, what a touching article. Media loves make a headlines, and it's the first goal of them, cause with making some headlines and digging people's privacy they will make some money.

    But, i'm still in love with this guy. I know he's gay but he's a talented person that i've ever known, i DON'T CARE what HATERS say about him! With all talents that you have, i will be your fan always and forever… 😀

  9. I refuse to watch these video's again. They are too hurtful. I am enjoying the Clay of today, who has a son now and a lovely family. I know who is behind it…and they are the lowest of the lows.

    Anyhow, I am just looking to the future..and what Clay has in store for us in new music and a tour. The best is yet to come!!

  10. Who can watch these videos and not have tears in their eyes?
    Clay Aiken has been an inspiration to many of his fans, why do the media fail to see what a wonderful man he is?!

  11. To this day it is still very hard to watch that interview and how difficult it was for Clay to participate. It was such an invasive probe into his personal life. I have felt differently about Diane Sawyer since then. I don't believe it's good journalism or reporting to invade the very personal lives of celebrities. When Clay was ready to talk, he did so, on his on time. And, surprisingly to me, he chose Diane Sawyer to talk to once again. He has more class and forgiveness than most people. Clay should be applauded for his courage, and Diane should be ashamed of her questions.

  12. Clay Aiken is a strong young man. He's has given so much and keeps on giving and caring for others in spite of the media garbage.
    I am looking forward to Clay's new music and tour in the new year, more than ever!

  13. Musicfan,

    As always, thank you for an interesting, informative blog on the three-year anniversary of Clay Aiken's "A Thousand Different Ways" album, which I still enjoy very much.

    Have a great week!


  14. I hated seeing the sadness in his eyes during that time. He does not get the evil in this world. I truly think it bewilders him because he is so opposite of that. He didn't deserve in then, he doesn't deserve it now and certainly not in the future. All of the sad people that continue to bully not just Clay but anyone that they decide is beneath them are pathetic.

    What I truly love is the light in Clay's eyes now. The happiness that has poured out of him for the last couple of years. He has found his center and the hell with the rest of the people that just don't matter.

  15. I defy ANY gay celebrity – in OR out of the closet – to show the same class and integrity that Clay Aiken has in the face of the blatent homophobia, jokes, bullying, and meaness directed at him over the years.

    He is one of a kind and I am PROUD, PROUD, PROUD to call myself a fan of this incredible man. I can hardly wait for his new music from Decca, a new tour somewhere down the line, and all of the wonderful things he has in store for us in the future.

  16. As I watched the videos, I had tears streaming down my face also. All that Clay went through-worrying if his fans would stay with him, worrying what people he knew would think. But he demonstrated once again what a courageous man he is. The honesty about his panic attacks where he appears so vulnerable shows the honesty and integrity that is within him. I am so proud to be a fan of his. Thanks for bringing back the memories of him singing on GMA also. Loved hearing and watching that video again.

  17. I don't get it either, Clay. Why a person with a big heart and beautiful soul has been a target of such meanness, cruelty and taunting. I hope you haven't lost anymore sleep over this.

    I am so grateful that I am one of the lucky ones that gets what you're about.

  18. Had never seen this interview.
    #1. What a crushing invasion of privacy
    #2. You can see the hurt, pain and anger in Clay's eyes the second the interview starts
    #3. Clay's private life wasn't/isn't Anybody's business
    #4. Clay Aiken is a beautiful, strong, decent & wonderfully talented man
    #5. Thank God some of this is in the past; I wish All bullying of Clay & others would stop
    #6. Anti-depressants are Not addictive; Sawyer needs a fact-checker before making such statements on a show watched by millions

  19. What's important to me is that Clay Aiken is a strong, giving man with many friends, a humanitarian, a father, and a man with an amazing voice and talent. That's all I need to know about him.

  20. These interviews kind of put everything that Clay has done in perspective. It's like a summary of the hell that he has gone through….

    Here he is, promoting his new CD…and all everyone could talk about was his private life….. I have never seen anyone on a promotion…put through this…it wasn't about his music…and what a farce that whole thing was…. We only had to watch it…Clay had to live it…. It breaks my heart….

    I think people that have moved on from Clay should watch these videos…Perhaps those people wouldn't be so quick to judge, if they saw what he was going through…but then again…..It's all about them, isn't it??????

    I have never seen such a strong man, a man with values, decency, morals and honour. Not to mention mad-talented…. Giving, loving, caring. I could go on and on, but we all know what kind of person he is…. We have found a gem, and we aren't ever going to let it go…. I am ever so thankful that Clay Aiken has come into my life… life is more enriched….and he brings me such joy…. We sure are the lucky ones…..I'm here forever…….


  21. This interview breaks my heart now as much as it did 3 years ago. His vulnerability was so apparent. The ongoing offenses against Clay are something I will never understand. He definitely did not deserve it then, nor does he deserve it now. Sheer tenacity on his part, the support of loved ones and fans, his strength of character, all have played a part in his moving on with his life and career despite those who seem to strive to bring him down. Clay has my ongoing love land support and he always will.

  22. Clay Forget about the past. Get back to singing. I have been a fan of yours since AI. I would like to hear the old Clay.

    This comment has been edited…… musicfan123

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