TYRONE “TY” HERNDON is an American country music singer. After signing to Epic Record in 1995, Herndon made his debut with his number one single, “What Mattered Most”, followed by the release of his first album of the same title. The album was followed by the release of his second album, Living in a Moment, which produced his second number one country hit, with the album’s title track.
In June 1995, Herndon was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, at Gateway Park by an undercover male police officer who alleged that Herndon asked the officer to accompany him to a wooded area of the park where Herndon sat on a log and exposed himself. When taken into custody, he was also discovered to be in possession of methamphetamine. A plea bargain saw the singer sentenced to community service and drug rehab, and the charge of indecent exposure was dropped. By the end of 2000, Herndon’s music was no longer being played on radio, and by 2002 he had stopped touring. Thus began both a professional and personal downward slide that included a divorce from his second wife, bankruptcy, a weight gain of 75 pounds, a mugging in Los Angeles by three men at gunpoint, a lawsuit from a California dentist claiming that Herndon had not paid for emergency dental work and another lawsuit from a former manager for breach of contract. In 2004, he entered a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility for the second time.
Following the incident in Fort Worth, his sexuality became a topic of interest within the country music industry. Although his rep denied it following his arrest, the speculation came to an end on November 20, 2014, in an interview with People magazine, Herndon came out as a gay man, and stated that he had been in a relationship for a few years with Matt Collum. When asked if his two ex-wives knew of his sexuality, Herndon confirmed that they “absolutely” knew. In relation to this, Herndon re-issued “What Mattered Most” in June 2019 with the song’s pronouns changed to reflect a gay relationship. He noted that he had been in a closeted relationship with another man at the time of the original’s release.
Ty has partnered with GLAAD to put on the Concert For Love and Acceptance to help raise funds for the LGBT+ community. The 2020 event — co-hosted by Ty’s “dear friend” Kristen Chenoweth, and CMT’s Cody Alan — also raised money the Academy of County Music’s Lifting Lives, a nonprofit organization serving members of the music community who face unexpected hardships.