Though Luther Vandross never publicly addressed his sexuality, Patti LaBelle says the late singer chose not to come out as gay because he feared he’d upset his mother and fans.
“He did not want his mother to be [upset]–although she might have known–he wasn’t going to come out and say this to the world,” LaBelle told Watch What Happens Live‘s Andy Cohen, who asked if Vandross struggled to come out.
“And he had a lot of lady fans. He told me that he just didn’t want to upset the world,” she added. “It was hard for him…what a wonderful man.”
LaBelle also shared the story of how she first met Vandross back in the day.
“He came backstage at the Apollo Theater with clothes pretending he was a designer. He hooked us up with all of these gowns…and then he became my first fan club president,” she recalled.
“And then he became my best, best friend.”