Lauren Jauregui is opening up about being publicly outed.
Back in 2016, photos of the former Fifth Harmony member kissing her then-girlfriend were shared online by Perez Hilton, which she recently addressed on an episode of Red Table Talk: The Estefans focusing on cyberbullying and slut-shaming.
As Jauregui recalled, it all started after her aunt “very innocently posted” photos of the couple kissing at her uncle’s wedding. You know, stuff that’s pretty normal for a couple who’d “fallen in love” at 15 and had been dating for “probably a year at that point.”
Given her fame though, it didn’t take long for her fans to find the picture, which eventually led to Hilton uploading them himself and Jauregui feeling “like [her] own process was violated.”
“He definitely outed me. I wasn’t ready because I’m also Latina,” she said, noting that she also had extended family members asking about her sexuality.
“There was that whole looming thing of, ‘What is my community going to feel about me? Are they even going to accept me?,'” she remembered. “I know that my family obviously accepted me. But was that something that I was willing to deal with on a public scale?”
However, Hilton went on to tell People he wasn’t “sorry nor remotely remorseful” for his actions before revealing that he’ll tell his side of the story on the next episode of Red Table Talk.
All I did was send out a tweet talking about the leaked photo and I said “Why are #FifthHarmony fans being so extra over this photo of @LaurenJauregui (in the red) kissing another girl? NBD!” I don’t regret that. I never claimed or presumed anything about her sexuality.
— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) December 8, 2021
“I’m genuinely sad that she was bothered by that, [but] I’m not gonna fake an apology,” the gossip blogger told the publication. “It was her fans that caused this photo to go viral. By the time I commented on it, it had already gone viral.”
He continued, “It wasn’t like I was given this piece of information or a photo and I was the first person to share it with the world; it was already trending by the time I chimed in.”
Hilton went on to explain that his original caption was asking why “Fifth Harmony fans being so extra over this photo of Lauren Jauregui kissing another girl,” when it was “NBD.” And though he told People he might “reflect on it more” in the future, he still doesn’t think he outed her. As he insisted, this particular situation was different from other times when he felt like he actually outed stars like Lance Bass and Neil Patrick Harris, for which he did say he was “definitely” sorry for.
“Is this outing? And is that wrong if I share this?,” Hilton said before saying he’s already spoken to Jauregui’s ex about it. He has yet to communicate with the star herself though.
Watch Jauregui’s Red Table Talk episode below.
Photo via Getty / Frazer Harrison