Erasure front man Andy Bell has reportedly been advising fellow Popstar to Operastar contestant Joe McElderry how to cope with being gay singer in the British music world. Speaking to The Sun, Andy revealed that the "shy" pair had bonded on the reality show.
"I said to him that I thought it was very brave what he'd done," Andy said, "I've told him to come to me when he wants to talk about it.
"We're both quite shy but we're chatting a lot more now than we were at the beginning of the series. I've also spoken to his dad about it and he was saying how tough it all was after he'd won the X Factor."
He continued to tell he tabloid: "I hope I'll stay in touch with Joe. I'm going to say to him, 'I'm always there if you want to talk and if you need any help or anything, I'll be there'.
"It's very hard to come out in the industry. It's male-dominated - run by men who like pretty young girls. In some ways being gay makes it ten times harder."
The openly gay singer confessed he found it hard coming out in the 80s, saying: "It was hard but at that time there was kind of gay wave in pop. All these people started trickling out but you knew they were gay, like Boy George, Elton and The Communards. You felt you had a team with you for support."
And the 47-year-old singer also gave Joe tips on how to recover his career after being dumped by Simon Cowell. "He needs to keep touring and build up a real fan base from the bottom upwards," he said.
Popstar to Operastar continues this Sunday on ITV1.