Kenny Chesney’s Denials Lead to Discomfort

kenny-chesneyIn the upcoming March issue of Playboy Magazine, Kenny Chesney forcefully denies old rumors that he’s gay. He, however, forgoes tact and tries to assure us that he’s straight by proving that he’s a womanizer instead.

In response to suggestions that he’s gay, Chesney quips, “I think people need to live their lives the way they want to, but I’m pretty confident in the fact that I love girls (laughs). I’ve got a long line of girls who could testify that I am not gay.”

As if that wasn’t already too much information, when asked if he had reached 100 women yet, he flagrantly boasts that he probably reached 100 women in 2001,

“Man, I was over 100 several years ago. There were years when I had a better summer than A-Rod, buddy. You know? I got on the boards quite often…My first five years on the road were intense because I was the guy in college who never got laid until I started playing guitar.”

At The9513, commenter, Craig R., thoughtfully analyzes the problems with Chesney’s comments:

“As a country music fan Kenny Chesney’s music depresses me. As a gay man Kenny Chesney’s comment saddens me. I understand that the idea of a country singer being called gay would make most want to run to the hills. The country audience, though wide and varied, may not want,need,or desire a gay country singer. But the problem about being tagged “gay” is not about being gay, but about about how you approach your own self- worth and respect.

“Kenny Chesney has never done anything in public that might lead one to think he is gay except this is the second time (with force) that he has denied being gay. I am happy and proud that he is straight. But in order to convince us does he have to degrade women and gays. If I were one of the women he slept with I would be insulted to think that he grouped me and used me to promote his image and quash his fears. As a gay person I would rather him say, ”I am not gay, but I am flattered that my fan base includes that group.

“The shows he puts on are all about having fun, remembering when you were a pre adult, having a beer and hanging out with the boys(by the way all things gay men enjoy as well). That frat boy/beach boy image would be, at least in Chesney’s mind, ruined if he were gay or thought of as gay. And this is the point that truly saddens me: Does Kenny Chesney really think that his fans are that immature, and if so what does that deeply say about Kenny Chesney?”

What are your thoughts?

As always, be mindful of our Comment Policy. Please be respectful and sensitive to your fellow commenters.


  1. **No disrespect intended**

    I believe that it is none of the public’s business on whether or not a country music star, or any star, is gay/straight/etc. If the star wants to be open about their sexuality then good for them, if they dont want to talk about it, then leave them alone. I dont really understand the big deal about sexuality, and coming out in the celebrity world- especially in the country music world.. This is a very conflicting topic with many viewpoints, so its really hard to strongly argue on a correct viewpoint….

    However, Chesney is one of few country stars that I have suspected of possibly being gay/bisexual.. Not that there’s a problem with it, just saying. I dont mind either way.

  2. Now all I can think is “Womanizer woman-womanizer you’re a womanizer…”

    You had to say the “W” word, didn’t you?

    Anyway, I used to admire him for his poise and humility, now I’m disappointed. Nothing left to say.

  3. I don’t know if Kenny’s comments about women or gays say anything about him as a person, other than he, like a couple of his fellow country artists of late, has been known to open his mouth and insert his foot there. We all do it every so often, of course; but very few, if any, of us are subjected to such close scrutiny as someone in Kenny’s line of work.

    The bigger problem may be that inherent non-musical element of the country music industry, past and present, that has been known to turn a lot of potential fans off to the style: the fact that it is still the most politically reactionary and conservative form of music we have. And even though it obviously isn’t accurate (or fair) to draw all country artists with the same broad brush, it isn’t always easy not to (IMHO).

  4. Aren’t there any single reviews coming? Why post this aritcle or whatever it is on this site, especially since it shouldn’t be any of our business. Maybe I’m just being picky, but I originally came to this site for single reviews and we haven’t had one in a while. I think those take more of a priority than what Country’s biggest star told or didn’t tell Playboy Magazine.

  5. When I read Chesney’s comments, I got the vibe of an insecure little man puffing out his chest and bragging loudest about how much of a stud he is just to get some affirmation from the “cool guys.” Lee Ann, you were far more diplomatic than I would have been in choosing the word “womanizer” to describe Chesney’s behavior. That Chesney is inviting people to consider him loose but is angered by the notion that some might think he is gay suggests some deep rooted prejudice on his part against homosexuality. So I’m offended that Chesney is pandering and even more offended by how he is pandering.

    I think this may intensify the speculation about his sexual orientation, and even though I absolutely agree with Zach that it is no one’s business but Chesney’s, I won’t feel the slightest bit sorry for Chesney if it does.

  6. my main problem with this is that he could simply have said, “I am not gay” and ended it at that. Instead he had to talk about how he has had a long line of women, etc. to try to make his point, which just sounds immature and disrespectful to women.

  7. Its really none of our business, but most things that are none of our business are the most fun to hear about. More power to him. Fame and fortune has a way of attracting women (and men…don’t worry…men get turned on by $$$ too…mmmmm, Dolly…….) to guys like Kenny. He knows he’s 5 feet, he knows he didn’t get much (any) in high school, so if a little money and fame is what the doc ordered, good for him. He’s not married, and truth be told, a lot of guys have a lot of sex…much more, of course, when one is re-telling the deeds to buddies over a cool one or when being Interviewed by PLAYBOY magazine.
    If he were being interviewed by MINNESOTA WHITE TAILED DEER, chances are he might talk about some deer he shot…so it only makes sense that when being interviewed by PLAYBOY, sex just might creep into the conversation.
    While im on the sex subject – I miss those steamy songs about lust and passion and, yes, sex…”You’ve Never Been this Far Before”, “Blanket on the Ground”, “Its All wrong, But Its all Right”… etc….

    I got to go have a cold shower now.

  8. I agree with Bobby, he could have easily just said “I am not gay” and let it be. In my opinion, he’s only fueling the fire with his comments. Now, people will be saying that he’s being too defensive and he’s trying too hard to prove that he’s straight; thus, giving off the impression that he’s trying to hide something.

    I also agree that it’s none of our business to know his sexuality. But I hope he knows that the rumors aren’t going away, if anything, they’ll multiply and I hope he’ll be able to just ignore them. I also agree with Chris D, I’ve lost some respect for him. I think he handled this the wrong way and the poise we usually expect from him has been lost.

  9. As a gay man, I’m tired of hearing about Kenny Chesney being gay or denying he’s gay.

    *****What guy who loves girls wouldn’t be angry about that …?*****

    Uh, the kind of guy who is ok with gay people and who is secure with himself and his sexuality?

    He needs to just sleep with hudreds of women if he wants, but shut up on this subject.

  10. I accept at face value his denial, but I really don’t care either way about his orientation. Dang, but he did manage to show disrespect for two groups of people in one interview.

    I am dissapointed in Kenny, he shows himself to be crass and immature, like a dumb high school kid.. Yeah Kenny, that’s real cool, promiscuous and proud..real cool.

    I really hope he’s better than that, and that there is a more thoughtful person on the inside…I hope this was just Kenny getting caught up in the interview, trying to impress the boys, and that upon further reflection, he realizes that he came across like a real jerk.

  11. While I don’t condone the response, I also don’t know the context of how this came up in the interview. We all say things in our lives that we instantly regret, and I hope that’s the case with this, because I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of Kenny playing the macho card quite this hard. Maybe what I’m trying to say is that I’m disappointed he played the womanizer card, but I’m not going to be the one to point, knowing the many times in my life I’ve said the wrong thing, whether I fully meant it or not.

  12. Another commenter at The 9513 (Michael) brought up a really great point that should be mentioned too.

    “It is sad and shameful that for many people, the idea of sleeping with 100s of women is more acceptable (morally) than being gay.”

    Enough said.

  13. I think the magazine he is being interviewed by was a factor in his comments. If it was Country Weekly, I think his response would’ve been a lot different.

  14. The comment that Chesney made is not the kind of comment that is made by an average straight man. It’s the kind of comment that’s made by either an egomaniacal sex pervert or someone who’s quite conflicted about his sexuality and doesn’t really understand what it’s like to be heterosexual.

  15. Greg,
    You raise a very valid point that I was definitely conflicted about before I posted this. I want to make it clear that I did not post this discussion for sensational or gossip purposes (though I worried it would be perceived that way).

    I used Craig R’s comment as a the jumping off point because it specifically didn’t speak to the sensation of Chesney’s quotes, but rather, the emotional effect that it has on people who fit in the two groups he addresses. I understand that this conversation can go in many different directions, but I’ve known the Country Universe community to take discussions that have potential to be surface-y to a deeper place…and that’s what I hoped would happen here with Craig’s commentary as the template. I think it’s already gotten off to a great start.

    As for reviews, Greg, keep your eye out…

  16. Obviously this post is a little different than what Country Universe posts on a daily basis, but I would point out that it is not in any way a “Is Kenny Gay?” discussion–that couldn’t be farther from the point. My guess is the writer cares about that question as much as she cares about the latest news about what is going on between Taylor Swift and a Jonas Brother.

    What I see as worth discussion here (and you can agree or disagree, of course) is the cultural landscape of Country Music (or the Country as a whole) that makes room for this kind of comment in the first place. How it is such a touchy subject that Country Universe thought it was necessary to post the comment policy with the discussion. It really is no different than a discussion about why women are so often not Entertainer of the Year–except perhaps people are not as comfortable with it.

  17. I definitely see the value in the discussion here. It’s not really a is he gay or not or who is he sleeping with type of discussion. For me personally, I don’t like to know that much about the personal lives or political views of my favorite singers. Aside from the fact that she’s married to Emory Gordy, Jr and some details about her growing up and how she came to the music business, I know absolutely nothing about Patty Loveless’ personal life and I have been following her closely for over two decades.

    There are so many jumping points on this subject though like 1) What would be the impact to the career of a major COUNTRY artist if they came out 2) As someone said why is being a manwhore more appealing to the fanbase than being gay 3) Is the country audience really as conservative and narrow-minded as some people think?

    There’s plenty of room of very fascinating discussions and the folks here are so thoughtful and well-spoken that I can’t think of a better place.

  18. I’ve never cared for Kenny and this comment just lowered him further down! He has what some call the “little man” syndrome. He is degrading others to make him look big! I never got where people thought he was such a humble, little, country boy! I got more arrogant vibes from the times I’ve seen him and reading things about him! It just turned my stomach to hear him say how many women he had slept with! And as for him making this statement in one magazine versus another. It doesn’t matter, Kenny is in the public eye and he should know anything he says will become public no matter what book or magazine it’s quoted in!

    “It is sad and shameful that for many people, the idea of sleeping with 100s of women is more acceptable (morally) than being gay.” So true!

  19. Never been much of a Kenny fan, and it’s implicit this quote that he looks down (to some extent) on homosexuality itself – otherwise, there would be no need to be “angry” about the speculation, as if it’s some horrible affront to his masculinity.

    But I’m also on the side that thinks we shouldn’t read way too much into it, because we have no idea what the mood and circumstances of the interview were like and, of course, lots of things sound much worse out of context.

    I do find it disgusting that he’s slept with that many women and doesn’t seem to feel much remorse about it, but a part of me likes that he was able to say something like that. Country music has become so obsessively family-friendly that it almost seems to polish out any sense of humanity among its biggest stars. To me, this quote gives us a fuller sense of who Kenny Chesney the person is. It will make some of his fans jump; it will make those who idolize him realize that he’s human, just like them. And I like that aspect of it.

  20. I’m sure I’ll have more comments as we move along, but I’ll note that this item made the CMT News page yesterday, sans the “100 women” portion. It simply focuses on the “fraud” allegation and the “I love girls” statement.

  21. Chesney is a 40-year-old male who is once-divorced. If it were a 40-year-old female who was once-divorced, the conversation would be a lot different. Alison Krauss is 37 and divorced (with a child), and if she claimed to have slept with 100 men, her image would likely be tarnished. Of course, she inhabits a certain role (classy, talented instrumentalist), while Chesney inhabits a different role (entertaining, easygoing, fun-loving guy). There would still be a double standard, though.

    When we at CU were discussing this topic of conversation, I noted that Johnny Cash popped pills, Merle Haggard served time in prison and Tammy Wynette and George Jones have gone through nine marriages total. While Chesney’s behavior isn’t savory, it’s not without precedence within the genre. What’s disconcerting is the fact that this type of promiscuity can come with a number of health risks. If certain (ahem) protective measures aren’t taken, it’s basically the equivalent of jumping in your car after downing a bottle of Jack Daniels. Of course, that’s all speculation, and I don’t know the facts about these “encounters.”

    The tone of the comments is troubling, too. “I got on the boards quite often” furthers objectifies women in a way that, honestly, hasn’t been too uncommon in the history of country music. That CMT chose to echo his “I swear I’m not gay” comments but not take note of his free-and-easy sex life is disappointing. From early views, it seems the mainstream media has that tidbit third on their agenda after the “gay” denial and the Renee divorce segment.

    I don’t care about an artist’s personal life, but I think ambassadors of the genre should try to comport themselves in a certain way. It’s not my job to be the judgment police—Judge lest ye be judged and all that. I don’t think Merle, Johnny, Tammy or George ever bragged about their illicit (!) behavior; the wrong choices in their lives were eventually amended, and they are among the most-revered artists of all time. Fans saw them as human for their struggles and their sins. I can’t imagine having my every move surveyed in the public eye.

    There’s also an interesting niche in this whole topic about how Chesney’s image as a party pal/good-timing (loose?) fellow and his recent admissions reconcile with the current “family-friendly” tone of the genre. Will that little nugget be tucked away in favor of the “Chesney: I’m not gay! Fans: Rejoice! No homosexuality in country music!” discussion? We’ll see.

  22. His remarks were juvenile and might be more easily forgiven if Chesney were in his 20s instead of in his 40s. That being said, one really can’t win when the “Are you gay?” question is asked, because the question wouldn’t come up if somebody didn’t think the answer was yes. Some people have commented that he should have said, “I am not gay” and let it go at that. Well, he’s tried that in the past and apparently that wasn’t a good enough answer because the question keeps coming up. I suspect that he’s probably frustrated at being asked this question repeatedly and is trying — perhaps a bit too hard — to make the issue go away for once and for all. Like I said, you just can’t win when this question comes up. I’m willing to give him he benefit of the doubt because there’s no real evidence to suggest that he’s not being truthful — as far as the gay thing is concerned. I’m not buying the 100 women thing at all.

  23. Re: There were years when I had a better summer than A-Rod, buddy.”

    Comparing yourself to a man who was just busted for downing pills to improve his performance is not the way to advance your rep as a hetero, turbo lady lover.

  24. My bad for not reading the excerpts on the Playboy website:

    On whether or not country music would support a gay singer: “I don’t know. I doubt it.”

    On his early records: “On the second and third records, All I Need to Know and Me and You, I was not being myself. Every Nashville singer was trying to sound like George Strait because it was a successful blueprint. Sometimes we’d play a club on tour, and it would be just me and the band and the bartenders.”

    On his number of sexual partners: “Man, I was over 100 several years ago. I can’t believe I’m actually saying this on the record: That was probably back in 2001.”

  25. I don’t really think this is disrespectful to gay people. If he doesn’t want people to think he is gay, that is fine. I think it is disrespectful to women since he is using them as a way to show that he is not gay. Not to mention the fact that sleeping with so many people shows extreme immaturity and lack of morality.

  26. “Chesney is a 40-year-old male who is once-divorced. If it were a 40-year-old female who was once-divorced, the conversation would be a lot different. Alison
    Krauss is 37 and divorced (with a child), and if she claimed to have slept with 100 men, her image would likely be tarnished. Of course, she inhabits a
    certain role (classy, talented instrumentalist), while Chesney inhabits a different role (entertaining, easygoing, fun-loving guy). There would still be
    a double standard, though.”

    Reminds me of Dolly Parton’s “Just Because I’m A Woman.” I don’t even think Gretchen Wilson (a woman who is more known for party anthems than Krauss) could get away with Chesney’s comments.

  27. The part about Kenny being gay does not bother me…I don’t care! It’s the fact of him being so cocky and non-chalant about sleeping with over 100 women like he’s trying to prove to himself or somebody that he is not gay. So many of his lady fans are defending him saying the article was disrespectful too Kenny….that makes me sick! Do they not know, he would not give the majority of them the time of day, well unless he was trying to add to his list at the time. I feel sorry for anyone who gets in a relationship with Chesney. He is a loser, IMO, gay or strait. Especially him saying he had friends that were married and had kids and dogs, but that was just not for him. He has to be going somewhere as long as he was on his boat with a drink, a woman, and a Bob Marley CD. The poor woman!

  28. Thanks for bringing over the excerpts, Blake, as I refuse to go to the Playboy site. This stood out to me:

    “Every Nashville singer was trying to sound like George Strait because it was a successful blueprint. “

    It’s somewhat ironic because Kenny and George’s material is at least somewhat interchangeable these days, in my view (Kenny could have easily recorded “River of Love,” for example). Heck, they both took a go at “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven.”

    “Reminds me of Dolly Parton’s ‘Just Because I’m A Woman.’ I don’t even think Gretchen Wilson (a woman who is more known for party anthems than Krauss) could get away with Chesney’s comments.”

    You’re right, Leeann. A woman making such a claim would be derided as a strumpet and worse. But Kenny’s remarks suggest that he thinks this is an indicator of prowess of some kind.

    But J.R. Journey said in one sentence what I tried to say in paragraph:

    “It is sad and shameful that for many people, the idea of sleeping with 100s of women is more acceptable (morally) than being gay.”

    That is precisely the impression that Chesney gives, and this is the most troubling aspect of his comments for me.

  29. I am no Chesney fan, but for everyone who is stating that he was using the fact he slept with so many women as proof he is not gay is mistaking. They were two different quotes for the same interview. The answer to the are you gay questions was answered above. The follow-up question was had he slept with 100 women yet, in which he stated he had done so by 2001. He in no way was stating that I am not gay because I have slept with over 100 women.

    Do I wish he would have said no comment about the number of women question. Yes. But lets remember that this was an interview for Playboy magazine. If an artist was ever going to make public his/her personal sexual life, this was the place to do it.

  30. I get what he was trying to do. I frankly don’t care if he’s gay or not, but let’s face it there are tons of country music listeners who hate gay people and would disown Chesney if they found out he was gay.

    So the only defense he could think of to get the rumours off his back was that he has slept with tons of woman. Sure the trick will work, people will now think he is a horndog and not to mention a walking STD.

    On his comments about his marriage with Renee Z. He comes off as a complete jerk when he says he called her to see if she was “Ok”. Renee should make him listen to Patty’s “You Can Feel Bad” song, maybe it’ll jolt him back to reality.

  31. I don’ t get why the particular magazine he stated this in makes a difference! He said it, it’s out there, but just because it’s the “great” Kenny Chesney, it’s OK! Well, I don’t think Chesney or his tractor is sexy…never have and never will! I’m surprised he can find a hat big enough to cover his “big” head!

  32. the only interesting thing that came out of that interview is the thoughtful discussion on this site.

    besides that to me kenny c. just comes over like a bald guy who hits the puberty peak of his midlife crisis. and thats what the 100 women and gays always should keep in mind because it simply means: look who’s talking! so there actually is no need to be offended.

    personally i don’t care if k.c. is gay/hetero or from mars. in a few days it will struck him that he might’ve hurt his sales figures and will probably post on his web site that he certainly did not mean to offend anyone, that he naturally has the deepest respect for women, gays and blablabla. well i guess his account can take the hit.

  33. The comments he made, make me sick– I realize the whole Playboy Magazine interview, anything goes concept– but still he has such disrespect for women, and his female fans have made him a very rich man…..but in his comments you can just tell how he feels women are just disposable….he is nothing but a loser in my mind now, and I don’t care anything about hearing his music…my opinion of him has definitely changed….ugh….complete disgust….

  34. I know I’m late to the commenting party here, but I agree with those who feel that the most troubling aspect of his remarks is the fact that he would rather be viewed as a slut than a queer. As both a slut and a queer, I feel that there is nothing wrong with either, but I would much rather be open about the latter. ;)

    On a serious note, the double-standard applied to men and women on the topic of “number of sex partners” is old and disgusting and the belief in the industry that country music fans can’t handle or won’t support an openly gay artist is also old and disgusting. It’s what got Kristen Hall removed from Sugarland after she poured her soul into creating that band. Ty Herndon was *erased* from the country scene the moment his proclivities toward men were discovered (but he was certainly far from “out”).

    Is it really true that in this day and age country music fans would flip out and reject an artist based on orientation? Would someone please just be honest about who you are and give the public a chance??? We still love Melissa Etheridge. Why not you, Terri Clark? I knew you were gay the first time I heard you interviewed (call me…) And Jennifer Nettles?? Come out, please! You are a superstar baby girl! If anything, it will only make you hotter. “Lesbian country star Jennifer Nettles…” has a nice ring to it, doncha think? Just saying…

    I know it’s “none of our business” but the only way public opinion shifts and prejudice lessens is when people speak their truth and live their lives without fear. Thank you, Ellen Degeneres. Now come on people… someone please bust open that country closet!!

  35. I just happened to stumbled upon this site while doing searching on Kenny Chesney. The main point that I have seen is that being a gay country singer would mean the death sentence to anybody’s career in the business. Now, like I seen and read here, it is really none of anybody’s business about his personal life. But, I do agree with some others that are spreading some of the rumors. The rumors started long ago before he married Rene. When the annulment was made, that was when it exploded big time with the rumors and all that. The point about all this being exploded like it has was because of the media itself intruding in on the personal life of the celebrities including Kenny and his marriage ending with Rene. Now, since the media have exposed all this, the rumors start, the fans speculate and all that. As I have been a fan of Kenny’s for a long time, I do think people need to lay off of him. Plus, Kenny also need to think about what he have said as well. Sleeping with many women could spread nasty viruses including AIDs. He could also get himself into trouble as well. Women could get pregnant, or he could pick up a tranny ala the Patrick Swayze’s movie To Wong Fo.

    Now, as for what I think which I will not call him gay or anything. As I witness when he leaps into the arms of Tim in one of his videos, or other videos with other guys. I think of him bi since he seems to like both guys and gals. There is no problem with that, and many artists right now are coming out like Pink, Lindsey Lohan, Cortney Love, Pete Wentz and others about their sexualities. I do not think it would be a big problem if a country artist would come out since the times have changed the pass 40 years.

    PS, the ones who are really trashing Kenny with the gay rumors are some gay men like Perez Hilton who are just jealous that women especially Rene get a piece of Kenny, and they can not. Lol, I am bad. I think Kenny might need to check who are the ones who are really trashing him instead attacking everybody he mentioned in that dirty mag article.

  36. Hmmmm…..makes me think of South Park when Mr Garrison syas he can’t wait till they get shore leave so they can go get some poon tang!
    Me thinks thou protesteth too loudeth!!!!!
    ha! ;)

  37. It seems to me that private life of the person is its private affair. And in my opinion, not ethically to discuss the given fact. It was possible at it so many girls that they have bothered it) That’s all.

  38. This is sad, I feel very sad about this, many men suffer in college, not just in college, but most men suffer throughout their lives because they can not have a good relationship with people, especially women.

  39. I possibly would not have contemplated this was helpful two or three years back, yet it’s fascinating how age evolves the manner you respond to things, thanks for the blog article it genuinely is pleasing to see anything wise now and then rather than the usual rubbish disguised as blogs and forums around the net. Cheers

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