December 4, 2023
Report: More Than 100,000 Fans Unfollowed Billie Eilish After She Came Out
Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.
It wasn't long after pop singer Billie Eilish came out as queer in an interview that she saw more than 100,000 followers bail from her Instagram account, AceShowBiz reported.
"It was revealed that the 21-year-old singer lost 117,750 followers in the last 30 days with the peak being on Sunday, December 3," the site relayed.
Eilish told Variety in a profile for last month's "Power of Women" issue that she "never really felt like I could relate to girls very well," before adding: "I love them so much. I love them as people. I'm attracted to them as people. I'm attracted to them for real."
The "Ocean Eyes" singer went on to say that she is "physically attracted" to other women.
"But I'm also so intimidated by them and their beauty and their presence," she said.
"For a stadium-selling artist from a different era, such a revelation would have required record-label ruminations about the effect it could have on her career," Variety marveled at the time.
But perhaps such concerns still hold some sway in this era, at least when it comes to social media followings. Eilish's followup comments to Variety seemed to worsen the exodus, AceShowBiz added, noting that between the comments appearing on Dec. 2 and a day later, "40,428 Instagram users hit the unfollow button on the Grammy winner's page."
Still, the loss of some fans didn't seem to faze the "Swarm" star, who did not seek to explain away her earlier comments when Variety asked her about her coming out.
Approached for comment on the red carpet while attending Variety's "Hitmakers" celebration – an "invite-only celebration of the biggest songs of the year," the magazine explained – Eilish said that she was "still scared of" women, "but I think they're pretty!"
Eilish "revealed that she didn't intend to make a grand gesture of 'coming out,'" Variety reported in its followup article.
"But I kind of thought, 'Wasn't it obvious?'" Eilish went on to say. "I didn't realize people didn't know."
"I just don't really believe in" making a big deal out of coming out, the "What Was I Made For" singer continued. "I'm just like, 'Why can't we just exist?' I've been doing this for a long time, and I just didn't talk about it. Whoops."
"But I saw the article, and I was like, 'Oh I guess I came out today.' OK cool," Eilish added. "It's exciting to me because I guess people didn't know, but it's cool that they know."
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.