CMT host Cody Alan has opened up about how he spent years praying to be straight while hiding his homosexuality — and how he feared the God would hate him if he came out as gay.
Cody, 48, knew he was gay from a young age, but grew up Christian and converted to Mormonism as a teen — so he kept his orientation a secret, ‘faking’ his straightness and even marrying a Mormon woman.
They went on to have two children, now adults, who were raised Mormon as well.
But after coming out to his now ex-wife in 2009 — and publicly in 2017 — Cody tells People that his life was ‘enhanced,’ and he realized that the world isn’t ‘black and white.’
Candid: CMT host Cody Alan has opened up about how he spent years praying to be straight while hiding his homosexuality
Flashback: Cody, 48, knew he was gay from a young age, but grew up Christian and converted to Mormonism as a teen (pictured on a mission)
Cody grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a teenager.
The Church has historically taken a hardline stance against homosexuality, and in 2015 went so far as to label same-sex couples as apostates, or those who have abandoned the religion.
That meant their children couldn’t be baptized before adulthood — with special permission in which they disavowed same-sex marriages like their parents’.
The Church has since reversed that decision and declared that same-sex attraction is not a sin — though, they clarified, acting on it certainly is. They encouraged members who ‘feel same-sex attraction’ to ‘live the law of chastity.’
So Cody no doubt struggled with being taught that homosexuality was wrong, and committed for some time to hiding that he was gay.
‘I struggled with my sexuality starting at a very young age,’ he said in a 2017 People interview. ‘I remember having distinct feelings early in my life. I knew this about myself, and I had a really hard time dealing with it. I was so ashamed of who I was.
Tough: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has historically taken a hardline stance against homosexuality
‘I struggled with my sexuality starting at a very young age,’ he said (pictured at age 15)
After marrying a fellow Mormon because it was what he was ‘supposed to do,’ he had two kids – daughter Makayla, now 23 (left), and son Landon, now 19 (right) – whom he raised Mormon
‘When you go through most of your adult life living a “straight” life, you learn to be that way and to sort of fake it,’ he said.
He even married a woman named Terresa, and together they raised their two children, Makayla, now 23, and Landon, now 19, as Mormons.
Cody said he felt like getting married was what he was ‘supposed to do,’ and he hoped it would somehow make him straight.
But in 2009, Cody came out to Terresa as gay, and realized it wasn’t ‘fair’ to her to keep the relationship going, so the two divorced.
He also came out to his kids, and recalled that he was ‘scared’ — but his kids showed ‘total acceptance’ and understanding.
‘My kids took it a lot better than I expected,’ he said. ‘And since then, I think they love the dad now more than they loved the dad before, because the dad now is a lot happier and he’s a lot more real. And they know they can be real and open and honest and authentic themselves.’
After coming out to his now ex-wife in 2009, they divorced and he has been with his now-fiancé, Michael ‘Trea’ Smith, 29, since 2015
‘I’ve wanted to share this part of my life, but I now have gotten to the point where it just feels right, and I’m at peace with where I am enough to be able to express it,’ he said
Cody also decided to leave the Church.
‘There’s reasons why I stuck with the church for so long, but ultimately the prayers weren’t answered in regards to making me straight — it doesn’t work that way,’ he said.
‘It took me a while to understand that because I wanted so badly to do what I thought God wanted. I used to think that if I came out, if I was myself, that God was going to hate me.’
He continued to come out to other people he knew, including Keith Urban, who responded with ‘compassion, love, and acceptance.’
‘I realized after I came out that I was still just as loved, and my life was enhanced,’ Cody said.
‘I think when you grow up religious, as I did, there is a way that you were taught right, wrong — everything is black and white, it’s one way or the other,’ Cody said.
‘And the truth is, particularly when it comes to sexuality, there are lots of shades, and understanding that as I did later in my life really helped me, because I understood we’re clearly all different.’
Cody is currently co-parenting his children (seen center) with his ex-wife Terresa (far right) and her boyfriend (second from right), as well as his partner Trea (second from left)
‘It took a little while to get there, but we’re on the other side of it, and it’s pretty great,’ he said. ‘I’m happy with where we’re at’
New book: He shares more details in his new memoir, Hear’s The Thing
In 2017, Cody came out publicly to People, telling the magazine: ‘Though my TV or my radio persona was always that of a happy guy, there was this underlying ache inside of me for years, so I decided either I was gonna do something about it, or I was gonna live with this layer of misery underneath that happy face on the TV.
‘Once I realized it was okay to accept the truth, that it wasn’t my choice, it was a lot easier to start figuring out where to go with my life next.
‘I’ve wanted to share this part of my life, but I now have gotten to the point where it just feels right, and I’m at peace with where I am enough to be able to express it,’ he said.
He has been with his now-fiancé, Michael ‘Trea’ Smith, 29, since 2015, and said that he gets along quite well with his ex-wife and her boyfriend.
Cody gushed about ‘the co-parenting that we have done’ and ‘the awesome, real, modern family we’ve been able to create,’ crediting a ‘foundation of love’ and a desire to make sure their kids always felt loved.
‘It took a little while to get there, but we’re on the other side of it, and it’s pretty great,’ he said. ‘I’m happy with where we’re at.’
He shares more details in his new memoir, Hear’s The Thing.