In honor of Pride Month, Judas Priest's Rob Halford has described the moment he came out as gay in 1998, and how he no longer felt pressure once everyone knew.

The vocalist was doing an interview with MTV in New York when he casually came out as gay — it wasn't a premeditated thought that he had to mention it.

"And in the casual course of the conversation, we were talking about the overall music, and the direction, and the feelings," the singer told Apple Music [via NME]. “And I said something to the effect of, ‘Well, speaking as a gay man, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And then I heard the producer’s clipboard bounce on the floor. It was one of those gay sharp intakes, ‘Oh my god, he’s come out.’"

After the interview, the frontman went back to his hotel room. As the news of his coming out started circulating, he remembers feeling a sense of freedom because he no longer had to hide who he truly was.

"The pressure was gone, and there’s no more talking behind your back because you have all this ammunition of power as a gay person now, as an out gay person," he explained. "Nothing can hurt you because this is it. You can’t throw insults, you can’t throw rumours, you can’t say anything negative about me because I am who I am. So that’s my wonderful memory of my great coming out day.”

Halford then described the difficulties of keeping his sexuality to himself in the years prior as Judas Priest gained momentum, especially in the United States. After shows, he went to his hotel room instead of going to bars so that paparazzi wouldn't catch him out.

I thought, "Oh, I better not come out because it will upset my mum and dad. I hadn’t better come out because it will upset my friends, I hadn’t better come out because it’ll upset my bands and my fans and record company."

“Mentally, on top of being the gay man in the closet, I had all these extra pieces piled onto my life at that time," he said.

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