EW's Special Coverage

American Idol

News Article

Aiken to Speak Out

Clay spills his guts on sex, family, and shoes. He tells Rolling Stone about his estranged dad, his randy fans, and his sexual orientation

Clay Aiken | 'IDOL' CHATTER Aiken dishes to Rolling Stone
Image credit: Clay Aiken: Walter Weissman/Star Max/Newscom
'IDOL' CHATTER Aiken dishes to Rolling Stone

There may be more of ''American Idol'' runner-up Clay Aiken in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone than you want to see, starting with his barely concealed torso on the cover and continuing with the revelations inside. Not only does the 24-year-old crooner answer burning questions about his sexuality (he's not gay, he says), but he also talks about footwear, horny fans, and most painfully, his estrangement from his father.

Aiken says Vernon Grissom, whom he calls ''my sperm donor,'' was an alcoholic who beat his mother, leading her to flee for her life when Clay was an infant. ''My mom and Vernon got separated when I was 1. We kind of lived on the run,'' Aiken says. ''We moved back and forth to stay away from him.'' The singer calls his stepfather, Ray Parker, who died last July, ''the only dad I ever had.'' Vernon Grissom has yet to respond to his son's comments, though Clay says that, since he became famous, Grissom has tried to reconcile with the son he hasn't spoken to since Clay was 15. ''My mother was beaten by this man. And he never tried to be a father to me, ever,'' Aiken says. ''And now he wishes me the best? I don’t want to give him the time of day.''

Other tidbits: Aiken says he's afraid of water, has been afraid of cats ever since he ran over a kitten when he was 16, bites his toenails, recently received a letter from a fan who says she and her husband like to make love while watching videotapes of his ''Idol'' performances, and considers himself a ''shoe whore'' because he owns 16 pairs. Honey, that's not a shoe whore. We'd bet Ryan Seacrest has more pairs than that.

Sign up for EW.com's American Idol Alerts!

Don't miss a story! We'll send you an alert when new American Idol content is added to the site.
Originally posted Jun 18, 2003