TV choirmaster Gareth Malone has branded rumours that he is gay "juvenile", saying that life in the limelight is like returning to the school playground.
The Military Wives star, who is married and has a daughter, said he was almost used to the assumptions about his sexuality.
But he told the Radio Times: "It was slightly disappointing to find that after leaving school and leaving all that behind me from the age of about 15 to 30 and then coming into television and discovering 'Oh right, everyone is just as juvenile as the kids at school were!'
"I am fairly flamboyant and expressive, but I know plenty of gay people who are incredibly repressed and aren't showy and don't like Judy Garland, you know."
Gareth told the magazine: "I don't know what it is. It's almost that any display of emotion, crying ..., heart, feeling ..."
He said: "I've sort of got used to it. I suppose if I took the time to really think about it, I'd like to say 'It's my business and I'm married for a start', but not really. Really, that's one demon I've exorcised."
The star, whose Military Wives choir beat the X Factor single to Christmas Number One, said he'd often heard comments such as "It's a bit gay" and "Singing makes you gay!" from men who were reluctant to join choirs.
He said, with hindsight, he should have hit his bullies to stop them teasing him in his school days.
"The key is to give people the tools to deal with it themselves, which is how I ended up getting through it - find your own strength in something, which for me was in music and the arts," the broadcaster, whose Military Wives choir will be performing at the Diamond Jubilee Concert, said.
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more