The Observer, Sunday 2 August 2009
I had my first crush when I was five. I was outside my dad’s drugstore and this little girl in a red gingham dress appeared. My dad came out and said: “Kathy (I forbid anyone to call me that now), Kathy, this is Margaret Siegle, she’s going to be in your class.” And to this day I’ve never forgotten her. My second one was my swimming instructor, Julie. She was buxom, blonde, athletic, tanned and that Bobby Sherman song “Julie (Do ya love me)” came out around the same time, so the combination was perfect.
I really wasn’t aware of sexuality, it was just completely natural and I never had anyone show any aversion to it. My older sister’s gay as well. The two of us lived this Heavenly Creatures existence in our house. We used to talk about fantasy worlds, pretending we were Kennedys and that we drove Camaros and smoked pipes.
I was very active from the age of 13; I had girlfriends throughout high school. I didn’t even really know there was a name for it until much later when people started calling me gay and I started looking into what “gay” was. My first girlfriend was married to one of the teachers – it’s not something I’m totally proud of. She was 23. I guess I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t know how wrong. In a way the relationship was clandestine but everyone in the town knew that we were inappropriately close.
I’ve been attracted to men but I’ve never been in a relationship with a guy. I fooled around when I was a kid, but I’ve never been in love with a man. The first time I had my heart broken was with a high-school girlfriend. I saw her car outside the bar. This was a very small town – there was literally one bar, one grocery store. I went into the bar and she was in there with a boy. I went home, really upset and my mother goes: “What’s wrong?” and I said, “You don’t wanna know.” She goes: “Try me”, so I told her. After that it took my mom a couple of years to get close to me again but now we’re closer than ever.
I’ve been in lots of relationships where I still considered myself single. In my 20s I was in love with my career and I was definitely not ready for domestic bliss. I was in love every five minutes, I had a big appetite. Becoming famous certainly offered me a lot more opportunities, let’s put it that way. It was fun.
I believe in monogamy if that’s what a couple decides upon together, but it all depends on the personal history and culture of the two involved. I don’t believe that human beings are necessarily monogamous. I’ve always felt that in nature there’s every example possible, from asexuality to omnisexual. It wasn’t really until I was about 35 that I started realising I should be in a relationship. It was an understanding that it’s a bit unsavoury at a certain age to be still out and getting around. I’ve been with my partner Jamie for about five years. She’s extraordinarily bright and challenging. There are days when I still want to be able to do what I want when I want, but there’s also something wonderful about being secure. I don’t get jealous, ever. And I’m very well-behaved so my girlfriend doesn’t get jealous either. Note: kd and Jamie split in 2013.
I think you can get kind of set in your ways as you get older, so finding relationships can get more difficult. I know a lot of guys in their late 40s who are still hoping to meet somebody. But I’m very happy in mine, and I think age has a lot to do with it. Heartache is very fertile ground for song-making but so is happiness, so is absolute bliss.