MANILA - Singer Jake Zyrus on Friday revealed that his international career was one of the toughest times in his life as he struggled with his gender identity.
Jake guested on shows like "Ellen" and "Oprah" and shared the stage with industry bigwigs like David Foster and Celine Dion while he was still known as Charice Pempengco.
He said he remains grateful for his international fame because it allowed him to provide a good life for his family, but it was the most difficult time in his life.
"I think 'yun 'yung pinakamahirap na pinagdaanan ko, 'yung time na I was in that situation. Ang hirap sundin ng nafi-feel ko because nakikita ko 'yung lahat ng tao sa paligid ko na masaya," he said in an interview on ANC's "Headstart."
"Nandoon pa 'yung fear ko sa kung anong iisipin nila if ever na sasabihin ko kung sino talaga ako at kung ano talaga ako," he added.
He said he has known since he was a child that he was not a woman and he was also not a lesbian, but he did not know such labels.
Jake came out as a lesbian in 2013, thinking that he could get across that along with his cross-dressing. But deep down, he really identifies himself as a man.
But still, people told him to instead be a "girly" kind of lesbian so he can keep his image as Charice.
"Noong time na 'yun, 'yun 'yung pinaka-frustration ko kasi I understand—kung lesbian ako, it wouldn’t be a problem sa akin na androgynous yung mga porma; but yung fear andun pa rin. I was really scared to talagang biglain na 'no, hindi talaga, hindi ako ganun,'" he said.
Years later, he admits he and his family are still not on good terms, with most of them still not calling him Jake as he wishes to be identified.
The singer said his depression still lingers as his family still hasn't accepted him years after he came out as a transgender man.
Asked if he's on speaking terms with his mom, Jake said: "No and it’s better that way."
"I'm not throwing them away as my family. Kumbaga sa akin, nandoon 'yung respeto kong alam kong family ko sila, alam kong nanay ko siya, kapatid, lola," he said.
"I guess andoon 'yung longing na maybe someday, something will change. Pero at the same time, what makes me feel better is iniisip ko 'yung katotohanan kasi in that way, masaktan man ako, mas less 'yung mafi-feel kong umaasa ako kasi I know my family," he added.
"People would tell me na someday, it will change. But what if it won't change?"
In his new tell-all book titled "I am Jake," he offers an in-depth look at his journey from YouTube to Hollywood, and the challenges he faced along the way.
"'Yung book daw ba ay closure ko kay Charice? Sabi ko, there's nothing to close kasi bata pa ako, wala akong pangalan noon, but I've always known na parang mali 'yung nakikita ko sa nararamdaman ko," he said.