NEWS

How A Stolen Nude Photo Defined Halsey’s Sexuality

Truth rating: 10
Halsey at the ARIA Awards in 2019

By Hugh Scott |

Halsey at the ARIA Awards in 2019

(Getty Images)

Halsey emerged in the latter half of the 2010s as a fiercely independent and sometimes controversial powerhouse of a singer. Her road to fame included moving multiple times as a child, a brief period of homelessness, and battle with bipolar disorder. But it was a moment in high school that defined how Halsey would handle her body and her sexuality.

In an interview with Rolling Stone as her stardom was on the rise, Halsey revealed that, while she was in high school, she had taken a topless photo of herself for her boyfriend. The photo was stolen from her locker and according to the “Now Or Never” singer, “Teachers saw it; everyone saw it.” It was at that moment that everything changed for her.

Halsey spent her teenage years in high school as “the weird girl,” in her own words. She was artistic and shy, but in that moment, she became “the slut.” It’s not a unique story, sadly, in today’s social media and text messaging-centric world. High school girls (and indeed, women long out of high school) are too often “slut-shamed” when racy pictures meant for private eyes are stolen or hacked and disseminated in one way or another. What makes Halsey’s experience unique is how she dealt with it.

Halsey Handles Her Haters

“I could have recoiled and deflected my sexuality, but instead I was like, ‘I’m going to own it now,’” the singer told the magazine. Not only did she own it in high school, but she has owned it ever since. The singer has refused to be intimidated by haters or the media trying to solely define her as “bisexual” or “tri-bi” — a term the New York Times quoted her as using to describe herself that she has since denied saying. “The funniest thing is that the biggest battle that I’ve had to overcome in my career was not being bisexual, was not being biracial, was not being bipolar,” she said. “It was everybody thinking that I was exploiting those things.” She wasn’t going to allow the media or anyone but herself define who she is.

She is also cagey and coy with her private life. One friendship that seems to get the tabloid’s attention is her connection with fellow singer John Mayer. The Dead & Co. guitar player and the pop singer have been friends for years and occasionally appear in the tabloids together. In October, Star alleged Halsey and Mayer were “friends with benefits.” Gossip Cop debunked the rumor at the time, as did Halsey and Mayer, who had a little fun with it on a livestream together. Although Mayer has a bit of a history with pop singers, his friendship with Halsey has always been platonic.

Sources

Morris, Alex. "Inside Halsey’s Troubled Past, Chaotic Present." Rolling Stone, 28 July 2016.

Matis, Griffin. "John Mayer And Halsey Are ‘Friends With Benefits’?" Gossip Cop, 3 Oct. 2019.

Shuster, Andrew. "John Mayer Upset About Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom Engagement?" Gossip Cop, 28 Feb. 2019.