K.K. Downing, who left the metal band in 2011, admits during a podcast interview that he, Glenn Tipton and Ian Hill were accepting of the frontman’s sexual orientation.

AceShowbizRob Halford‘s Judas Priest bandmates knew the frontman was gay long before he came out in 1998, but they kept his secret to protect the band’s image.

K.K. Downing, who left the metal band in 2011, reveals he, Glenn Tipton and Ian Hill were accepting of Rob’s sexuality, but knew the fans and promoters of 50 years ago might not be be so understanding.

“We always knew Rob was gay,” Downing said on a recent appearance on the “No F**kin’ Regrets With Robb Flynn” podcast. “Back in the days – in the 60s and particularly early 70s – everything was still kind of behind closed doors.”

All that mattered to the guitarist was that Rob had a great voice and a fantastic stage presence.

Halford’s same-sex hook-ups, which the singer has admitted were often hard to arrange, were no different than the rest of the band’s post-show shenanigans.

“If you come off stage and Rob’s in the shower with one of the crew and stuff doing things, I mean, it is what it is,” Downing added. “You don’t have to go in there until it’s over and whatever. Rob had to put up with lots of things from us. It’s the same thing – no different… It’s rock and roll.”

He credits Rob with being a “team player,” who kept his private life on the downlow.

In Halford’s 2020 memoir, “Confess”, Halford admitted he was worried each time he asked a guy backstage that he’d be ending the band.

“If I fancied a guy in the crowd, how did I go about it?” he mused. “What were the chances of him being gay (or, if he was, of admitting it)? What if I got it wrong, made a misjudged pass and got a smack in the mouth? And, of course, the overriding fear that was to limit my existence for decades: What if it got out that I was gay and fans didn’t want anything to do with a band fronted by a queer, and it killed Judas Priest stone dead?”

“Priest was the most important thing in my life, and even if I were willing to sacrifice it for my sexuality – which I wasn’t – I simply couldn’t do it to Ken (Downing), or Glenn, or Ian. It wouldn’t be fair on them. It was my problem, not theirs.”

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