Gay singer Rufus Wainwright: “I love 50 Cent, I know he’s gay”

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Many of you are probably unfamiliar with singer Rufus Wainwright, but I’ve been in love with him since his self-titled first album (in 1998). He has a gorgeous voice, and he’s one of the better songwriters working today. After he broke through and got some fame and success, Rufus took a bad turn, becoming a crystal meth addict and party boy. After a few years, he got clean and made a triumphant comeback doing a song-by-song tribute to Judy Garland’s iconic performance at Carnegie Hall. He has a new album coming out, so he sat down with Details Magazine to talk about music and everything else. Things sort of went of the rails during the first question, when Rufus declared his love of 50 Cent, and then proceeds to “out” 50. Yikes! Here’s the complete interview, and here are the highlights:

Q: You’ve sung in Latin, you’ve referenced Thomas Mann, and your new album pays tribute to Shakespeare. What’s your beef with the 21st century?
A: I am a little slower in my percolations. I like examining what’s come before. But that said, I’m addicted to Real Housewives of Orange County and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I get sideswiped by the boobs, the hair, the butts, the jewels, the cars, the bad boys. And I love, love 50 Cent. I think he’s just the sexiest, and a brilliant writer. And I know he’s gay.

Q: What makes you so sure?
A: That cute little voice of his. It’s okay, 50 Cent. Feel free to call me anytime. My boyfriend and I are experts. You can come over for dinner. And maybe dessert.

Q: You were born in America but raised in Montreal. What’s the most Canadian thing about you?
A: My love of maple syrup. I’ve been known to knock back a can over a couple days: A swig here, a swig there, and next thing you know it’s gone. It’s a habit I have to stave off. I don’t want to lose all my teeth. I stopped doing crystal meth—I don’t want to look like an addict.

Q: What’s the best part of a crystal-meth high?
A: There’s nothing enjoyable about it. It gets its hooks in you. I’ve done every kind of drug, and each one has something laudable about it, except meth.

Q: How did your parents—the folk musicians Loudon Wainwright III and (the late) Kate McGarrigle—react when you came out in your teens?
A: I love my folks, and they’ve done a good job coming full circle, but they were terrible: terrified, ill-equipped, confused. They threatened to kick me out of the house. They didn’t want to talk about it and just weren’t there for me. I mean, it was the mid-eighties and AIDS was pervasive, so I can’t blame them totally for their insanity. And they changed a lot over the years.

Q: Musician Stephin Merritt recently advised gay aspiring musicians not to come out. Do you agree?
A: I find that a bit cynical. I don’t have the energy or the emotional repression to bottle that stuff up. It’s true, it’s tougher careerwise if you come out, but this is a human-rights issue, and it’s important to keep putting dents in it. It’s about two teenagers being beheaded for holding hands in Saudi Arabia. It’s bigger than someone’s music career.

Q: Were you afraid when you began cruising bars in Montreal for sex at 14?
A: That was part of the arousal. I kind of sought fear. I was rebelling against parents who were rebellious themselves, which is tough. One could argue it was a bad thing, but on the other hand it’s such an iconic image. A 14-year-old kid at the bar—it’s pretty wild. Talk about the movie rights!

Q: It’s darker than that, though. You were raped.
A: It’s a terrible thing I had to deal with for a long time. But it sort of saved my life, too. I needed a smack upside the head, and after the assault I didn’t have sex for about 10 years. It really straightened out my loose behavior.

Q: The new album is your sparest, most stripped-down release yet. Are you entering a mellower phase?
A: After writing the opera and doing my Judy Garland–cover concert—after I’d dazzled and wowed for a few years—I wanted to just hit ’em with a bullet. Just me and a piano. And it’s in keeping with the times, too. We’re in a recession. Things everywhere are being stripped down. You have to go with that.

Q: You do have a hard-core fanbase. What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever given you?
A: A few years ago, this woman, God bless her, who must have been experiencing a nervous breakdown, abandoned her children and started following our bus. At one point, in order to get backstage, she made us a crate of pumpkin preserves. We didn’t eat any of it. It was probably laced with roofies and Ecstasy.

[From Details]

Do you think 50 Cent will get the “joke”? Rufus is saying he wishes 50 Cent were gay, or that 50 simply beeps on Rufus’s gaydar, perhaps. Would that make 50 Cent mad? I hope not.

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Here’s one of my favorite Rufus songs ever – “In My Arms”:

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43 Responses to “Gay singer Rufus Wainwright: “I love 50 Cent, I know he’s gay””

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  1. Annabelle says:

    50’s mom was gay or bi- I don’t think he will care. But this Rufus guy sounds like a whackjob

  2. Leticia says:

    Fiddy ain’t gonna like dis!

  3. Lady Nightshade says:

    I can’t believe they asked him what the best part of being on Meth was? Yes, recovering addict, let’s reminisce about how good drugs made you feel

  4. Naye in VA says:

    50 wont care. Hes too busy making money to care that somebody thinks he’s gay especially another gay guy. He’d be more pissed if Rick Ross called him gay

  5. princess pea says:

    Oooh, it would be so awesome if they collaborated!

  6. Patrice says:

    You know, I’m sure Rufus was joking (I hope), but

  7. Abby says:

    I’m sure Rufus was kidding (at least I hope), but I have to say that I’m getting really sick of (some) gay people “outing” straight people based on thier own desires to hook up with them. It’s infuriating and incredibly disrespectful. (My own cousin does this ALL the time to his female friends and cousins boyfriends, and it’s gotten him on the you know what list of many people).

    If you’re gay, great, but don’t put that on everyone else because that’s your orientation.

  8. Wow says:

    It is so annoying when gay or lesbian people call themselves “outting” someone all because they want them to be gay. Just say you have a crush and be done with it. It’s almost like how some women will claim a man must be gay if they the man doesn’t want to date them. When in reality the guy just isn’t in to you, as a person.

  9. Bill Hicks is God says:

    Let’s all just “be gay” and get it over with…

  10. buckley says:

    One of my favorite artists of all time.
    Seen him at least four times….
    regarding the gay thing, i’m quite sure it was in jest.

  11. nAynAy says:

    Who the heck is Rufus, and why is he running his mouth? Regardless if 50 is gay or not, that is his business, and he and only he, should be the one to ‘out’ himself. Not this schmuck Rufus the dufus.

  12. freckles says:

    I totally agree with #3, I was repulsed that they even thought to ask that.

  13. GatsbyGal says:

    Yeah, I didn’t like the interviewer. At all. “What’s the best part about meth?” “You were raped!” Terrible interviewer.

    But oh god, I hope 50 Cent has a sense of humor about this. I can actually see being the type to say, “Hey Rufus, you know where I’m at. Get at me.”

  14. Roma says:

    I was disgusted by the crystal meth question too! What a distasteful thing to ask an addict.

    I have always loved Rufus; his debut album got me through my very first “true love” break up. His sister Martha is amazing too.

  15. Carrie says:

    I have no idea why I think this, but I actually think that Fiddy is pretty cool with gay people/being called gay/etc.

    I can’t remember why I think this so I may be completely wrong, but I have this idea that he’s pretty cool about gay rights.

  16. Lee says:

    He was joking people!

    Kudos to Kaiser for covering someone a bit on the fringe; it’s refreshing.

  17. Spike says:

    I don’t believe Rufus is a “whackjob”; he’s been a critically acclaimed musician for years. If you look up his parents, they were free spirits. It’s sad about the meth addiction but he has made his own way in the world. Good for him.

    Thanks for reprinting parts of the article Kaiser. I had previously only seen a headline about Rufus saying 50 was gay. I really applaud him talking so candidly about being raped. That is not widely talked about in the GLBT community.

    As for 50 there have been rumors for years about him being on the down low. He has enough fame and wealth that it probably won’t bother him.

  18. anon says:

    comments are not showing up on this thread

  19. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    What the meth? This interviewer is on the junk. I know that no one forced him into addiction, but he did go temporarily blind from it. I don’t even know why the subject was broached, this about ten years ago. Lame. I guess the younger generation of musicians aren’t as well known outside of Canada as Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright are. I was all set to see a Martha Wainwright concert about a year and a half ago, and then had to bail because I broke a toe (not really conducive to the bus-subway-Greyhound-bus travel or standing room only situation), apparently she’s incredible live. He’s written some beautiful stuff as well which is far more theatrical in its aspirations. I can never really tell what he’s saying though. Kind of a marble-mouthed diction there.

  20. annaloo says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s a joke, but the beauty will come when we see how 50 cents responds to this.

    Hopefully with humor too.

  21. bellaluna says:

    50 blips on my gaydar, too. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit, especially in combination with his anger towards women and how many he associates himself with, as if he has something to prove.

  22. rundee says:

    @wow & @Abby: You sound homophobic.

  23. Abby says:

    Rundee: I “sound homophobic” because I don’t think that gay people have the right to “out” the completely HETROSEXUAL men or women that they admitedlly want to hook up with???

    My bad. I guess now even just defending one’s heterosexuality is enough to make you a bigot. Did you even read what I said?

    Wow: Right on the nose!

  24. Jeri says:

    Sounds like all his bad experiences/behavior have made him a wiser person. It’s a big person that can use terrible experiences (rape & addiction) to educate himself in enjoying life.

    Not sure this came out right but the intent was good.

  25. Mairead says:

    I’m familiar enough with Rufus and his interview style (the man is camper than a row of tents in a campshop in the middle of the world’s biggest campsite!) – he was being tongue-in-cheek.

    I quite like his stuff, although I prefer Martha’s (his sister) voice. But the Leonard Cohen thing he was part a few years back really put me off him. I didn’t like his interpretation and got increasingly peeved that he had way more songs than Nick Cave for example. I’m sure Leonard approved as Rufus is a friend of his daughter’s, but still.

    As a side-note; If you want to hear good American male singer-songwriter, I’d encourage you to check out Josh Ritter – “Animal Years” was one of the best albums of the last decade, in my opinion.

  26. nylon says:

    its a joke now move on…

  27. gen says:

    1.Interviewer was lame.
    2.Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire, 50cent is probably gay.
    3.I believe most everyone is at least bi.
    4.Rufus is awesome!

  28. Sincerity says:

    Kudos to Abby! I couldn’t agree with you more! I don’t hate homosexuals; however, 50 cent is an African American man who makes his living primarily as a “gansta rapper”. Homosexuality, in general, is frowned upon by many in both the African American and Rap/Hip Hop music communities. Even if 50 cent was on the “down low” per se, it would be detrimental to his livelihood for him to admit to “freaking with men”. More than likely, he won’t pass up the opportunity to “diss” Rufus just to prove he’s not down with his comments.

  29. Sandra says:

    Rufus is such a beauty. This picture doesn’t do him justice!

  30. Tia C says:

    That was funny! I also think he was totally joking, but I agree with him that Fiddy is sexy as hell.

    Rufus puts out some interesting music. If you haven’t heard his stuff and you get a chance, check him out!

  31. Jane says:

    This isn’t funny, even if he is joking. Rufus is picking a fight that he will surely lose. He needs to stay on his level, for real.

  32. Beth says:

    To me it’s obvious he’s joking. He thinks 50 is hot. As to whether he can take the joke, it’s hard to say. Sometimes he goes with the joke, other times he’s offended.

  33. MooCow says:


    That is quite presumptuous. I am a woman who has been with women and I know for a fact that I’m as straight as Rufus is gay. I could never fall inlove with a woman, I need a MAN baby!

  34. Karie says:

    Just saw Rufus in concert tonight where he addressed the 50 cent story. “Listen, it was just a joke, okay. And if he shoots me, at least I have written an opera already..”

  35. Emily says:

    Wow, what an incredibly crap interviewer. I’m surprised he wasn’t asked what his favourite part of being raped was. Or maybe they just edited that part out.

    Mairead: “the man is camper than a row of tents in a campshop in the middle of the world’s biggest campsite!” is hilarious! Sounds like something from Blackadder!

  36. Lisa says:

    I have not head of him before. Thanks for the video link, Kaiser. I need me some more of this guy on my iPod!

  37. ViktoryGin says:

    Love Rufus Wainwright. He’s truly a brilliant songwriter. May I suggest “The Maker Makes”?

    As for those who were offended by the interviewer candid lack of tact: if anyone can take it, it’s Rufus. Rufus is rather emotionally direct with a penchant for histrionics and a dramatic emotive expressiveness that can be a little much for more modest types. Knowing this of his personality allows me to take no offense at the interviewer. Had the interviewer been talking with a more guarded personality, then perhaps.

    @Abby and Wow

    What about when straight people jest about trysts with gay artists in desperate attempts to make them hetero as a result of their attractions?

    I know that the fundamental difference is that in this latter situation the sexual orientation is public knowledge for both parties, but if people are legitimately comfortable with themselves and their sexuality it will be taken in light of the joke that it’s obviously meant to be.

  38. Yvette says:

    My mother taught 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) at Andrew Jackson High School in NYC and she said he was a nice kid and didn’t say much. She never noted he was gay (not that it would make a difference).

  39. Kelly says:

    I have one word about Fitty. Overcompensation.

    No one comfortable with their own sexuality cares this much about the sexuality of others, or is that hysterical about constantly shoving their straightness down our throats. Erm probably bad choice of words but you know what I mean. He’s so gay. Gay gay gay. But that’s okay.

    Come out, Fifty. Or if you’re too scared, don’t be a douche to those who are braver.

  40. Dani says:

    @wow and abby:

    you can’t “out” someone who is heterosexual. it’s called a joke. the only time it’s offensive is when anyone outs a gay person before they’re ready.

    i’m straight, but if someone “outed” me, i would laugh and take it as a compliment.

    learn to take a joke, maybe.

  41. CeeCee12 says:

    I have heard Fifty is on the down low for quite a long time from folks who work in showbiz circles. Rufus saying this as a joke rings true to some. People would be shocked if they knew just how many rappers were on the down low.

    I like that Rufus chooses to live his life in an open way for a bigger cause. I like that he is comfortable with his sexuality.

    If he weren’t joking I would have thought it unfair to spread that around if the other person chose to live privately or not ready to come out of the closet. Shouldn’t they be allowed to tell their families first?

  42. canadianchick says:

    Fiddy is hot, love his suit. Will check put Rufus’s music.

  43. Molly says:

    I don’t think the interviewer’s questions were bad at all. They were honest and addressed things people might want to know. People know that meth is super-addictive but most people haven’t tried it. Thus, “what’s the best thing about meth?” It’s a valid question, not an attempted trigger.

    Rufus’ rape comment bothers me, though. The idea of rape “straightening” somebody out, of it somehow being a good thing, is disturbing. But it’s his experience & his way of dealing, so whatev.