‘American Idol’ alum Sanjaya Malakar comes out as bisexual, says he was pressured to hide his sexuality when the show aired

Sanjaya Malakar
Sanjaya Malakar attends FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, Calif. Alberto E. Rodriguez/GI

Sanjaya Malakar, of from American Idol Season 6 fame, has come out as bi.


Sanjaya, now 32, appeared on Idol in 2006, where he came seventh, with Jordin Sparks being crowned season winner. 

16 years later, the singer has opened up about his sexuality.



“I identify as bisexual,” he said during an appearance on The Adam Sank Show podcast.

“At the time, I did not know, which is why it was so weird to me. At the time of American Idol, I had a serious, long-term girlfriend. I was exploring my life as a child. American Idol happens and it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s gay,’ and now I have to say no, because they’re forcing me to make a decision and define myself.”


Sanjaya goes on to say that, during and after his appearance on Idol, he was pressured into keeping his sexual identity a secret by publicists.


“It’s like, all of my publicists, they’re like, ‘Oh, just tell everyone you’re single, be ambiguous,’ you know?”, he explained.

“‘No one needs to know anything about anything because you don’t want to lose your fans.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, but why am I manipulating what I know myself? To figure out what kind of fans I’m gonna get? Because I’m still trying to discover who I am.”


Malakar went on to say, “Because I grew up in a time when being called fa*got in school was the worst thing that could ever happen to you.”


Sanjaya Malakar comes out
Sanjaya Malakar on American Idol. Image: Frank Micelotta / Fox


When the show aired in 2006. Sanjaya was the subject of a fair amount of criticism for his singing voice – but there was also a lot of speculation and online bulling over his sexual orientation. 

“At the time of American Idol, I had a serious, long-term girlfriend,” he said on the podcast. “I was exploring my life as a child.”


Speaking of his infamous locks when the show aired in 2016, the singer said: “My hair is gone. All that stress and over-processing, now I’m bald. But luckily I have a nice shaped head.”


Malakar, who now works as a pastry chef, is in a much better place with his sexuality these days than during his time on the show:

“At this point, I don’t care what people know of my sexuality,” he said.


Congrats, Sanjaya! 

Take a look at all the celebrities and public figures who have come out in 2022 (so far…), by clicking here