The Stitches singer revealed that the rumours surrounding his personal life have caused him a lot of stress and anxiety.
“I’d like to say I don’t care about it, but that’s not true,” Mendes said, referencing “this massive, massive thing for the last five years about me being gay.”
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The Lost in Japan singer addressed speculations in 2016 through a series of Snapchat stories, saying: “I noticed a lot of people were saying I gave them a ‘gay vibe.’ First of all, I’m not gay. Second of all, it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or wasn’t.”
Mendes said the video intensified the scrutiny he had been receiving and he wanted to prove his critics wrong.
“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,” Mendes shared. “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.”
“I had this thought: ‘I have to get paparazzi-ed with someone. Who am I gonna get? I’m not relevant,'” the 20-year-old pop star continued.
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He revealed that the two were more than just friends, but said: “I don’t even want to put a title on it. I think it was more of a zone of limbo.”
The pair attended the 2018 Met Gala together, but Baldwin was engaged to Bieber a month later.
Mendes said there were no hard feelings, and he sent Baldwin a text to congratulate her.
“I texted Hailey congratulations, and I really am happy for them,” he said. “She’s still one of the f**king coolest people ever — she’s not just a beautiful person visually, but she’s one of the most beautiful hearts I’ve ever met.”
The In My Blood singer also mentioned that Taylor Swift had asked for his permission to post a video of her applying glittery eye makeup to his face during downtime on her tour.
Mendes said he told Swift it was fine but woke up in a cold sweat later that night.
“I felt sick,” he said. “I was like, ‘F**k, why did I let her post that?’ I just fed the fire that I’m terrified of.”
Mendes, who grew up with 15 female cousins who braided his hair and painted his nails, said: “Maybe I am a little more feminine — but that’s the way it is. That’s why I am me.”
Mendes took to Twitter after the cover story was published to write: “Of course I have my insecurities and struggles but that’s just one part of me. Sometimes the positive side of a story doesn’t always get fully told and I wish it had here.”