Jason Mraz scored a handful of successful singles in the early aughts with smashes like “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” and “I’m Yours,” which stood out as some of the best acoustic pop of the last several decades. For years, he was known simply as that adorable singer-songwriter who landed the occasional radio hit. While he may have a legion of fans, few realize that he is also a member of the LGBTQ community.
Like far too many in the public eye, Mraz’s journey to coming out wasn’t immediately met with applause and welcoming. But that’s not because he’s not straight, but rather his somewhat messy and roundabout way of sharing his truth with the world.
Rumors around Mraz’s sexuality began swirling in 2018 when he penned a letter for Billboard. The music magazine asked several stars to write missives for the LGBTQ community for Pride, and in his letter, Mraz used the lines “I am bi your side. / All ways.” These were understandably taken as him coming out as bisexual at the time, though he hadn’t expressly said so.
Just a month later, speculation was still swirling, so Mraz returned to Billboard to clear things up with a cut-and-dry interview. But even that was met with some controversy. In that article, he shared the line, “I’ve had experiences with men” and admitted that his wife, Christina Carano, helped him figure out exactly how he identifies. “My wife laid it out for me,” he started. “She calls it ‘two-spirit,’ which is what the Native Americans call someone who can love both man and woman. I really like that.”
While that may be fine for some, at the time, many called Mraz out. Two-spirit is a traditionally Native American identity, and it didn’t sit well with some that he was choosing to use it. Once again, a month later, he had to clear things up again. In August 2018, Mraz confirmed that he identifies as bisexual in an interview with the New York Post, effectively dropping the two-spirit conversation. But even that’s not the end of the controversy.
Around the same time, Mraz sat down for an interview on a show called Shane’s Digital Dessert. During the chat, the musician opened up and shared that he came out to Carano only after he cheated on her. He apparently came home from a party and told her that he’d hooked up with a man, which led to him not understanding how he identified–and that’s likely when the two-spirit talk happened. While the couple survived, when Mraz put that out into the world, many thought it was less than ideal that he was openly admitting to being unfaithful.
Mraz is rarely included on lists of LGBTQ stars or even just musicians, as few remember that he’s a part of the community, or perhaps they never knew in the first place. His story of coming out is complex and ultimately messy, but for so many, that’s just how it goes.
For those who want to hear more from Mraz, his new album Mystical Magical Rhythmical Radical Ride is out on June 23.
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