Chely Wright: “Coming Out Tanked My Record Sales…”

Country crooner Chely Wright made history last May when she came out as a lesbian during a revealing chat with PEOPLE Magazine. The revelation, which was plastered across the front cover of the celebrity weekly, made Chely the first openly gay woman in the world of guitars, pickup trucks, and the Grand Ole Opry.

Oh — and it also made her the subject of death threats and sliced her album sales in half.

“It didn’t help my career,” Wright says of her decision to come in a new interview making the rounds this week.

“My record sales went directly in half. If it appears from the outside in that it’s helped my career, it could be because I haven’t talked about the negative,” she adds. “You won’t hear me bitching and moaning on my Facebook about the hate mail I’ve gotten. My life has been threatened. I get nasty letters every day, ‘I’m through with you Chely Wright, you’re going to hell.’ There’s a big difference between press and advocacy and…. sometimes people forget that people who sing or make movies, this isn’t just a hobby for us. This is how I pay my bills. In coming out I had a feeling that it would diminish my wage earning, and that feeling was correct. And, I am fine with that.”