"The world was on fire for 48 hours and then the world moved on." Judas Priest legend Rob Halford compares his coming out experience to Billie Eilish's

Rob Halford and Billie Eilish
(Image credit: Halford: Future, Eilish: Getty Images)

The new issue of Metal Hammer sees Judas Priest frontman and beloved Metal God Rob Halford open up on the band's incredible new album, Invincible Shield, as well as discuss his life as a metal hero and gay icon. During the interview, Halford talks about his famous 'coming out' interview with MTV in 1998, comparing that situation to the bizarre media meltdown that occurred when pop megastar Billie Eilish came out as bisexual last year.

“When I made that announcement at the MTV studio, I didn’t really realise how big of a deal that was going to be,” he explains. “This was before the internet, so the way the message was communicated was at a snail’s pace. Which isn’t a bad thing, because when Billie Eilish finally made the pronunciation of who she is, the world was on fire for 48 hours and then the world moved on. I think I understood within a matter of days how I’d now put myself into a place of, ‘What’s going to happen next?’”

Halford goes on to explain how his own coming out paved the way for him to finally feel more secure in himself and make life easier for both himself and his Judas Priest bandmates. “There’s no doubt that I became a better person because I could just let go of a lot of the walls that I had to create around me for my own protection,” he says. “Mostly for the band’s protection. If I’d have gone back to Priest as I did, and I still hadn’t come out of the closet, would I have made that announcement? Life has these beautiful things that happen to you that are sometimes out of your reach. So that coming out episode was probably the best opportunity that I had to suddenly be who I am."

Invincible Shield, Judas Priest's nineteenth studio album, comes out this Friday. In a glowing 9/10 review for Metal Hammer, Rich Hobson wrote of the record: "By the time the curtain falls on Giants In The Sky – a tribute to Dio and Lemmy – there can be no denying it: Judas Priest have produced an album worthy of their own legendary status, still showing the rest of the world how it’s done."

The latest issue of Metal Hammer is on sale now.

MHR385 Cover

(Image credit: Future)
Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.