ASM: At the age of 25, in the midst of your fame and success, you contemplated suicide while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. Why were you hitting such a low at a time when your success was at an all-time high?
Hayes: Well, you put it so bluntly, and in black and white it seems extreme. But the reality is I had suffered depression for many years, and mostly it was a reaction to my sexuality and buried feelings about the way I had been raised. It was overwhelming, but ultimately I had a support network around me and I got help.
ASM: At the urging of your assistant, you went to see a therapist. Do you feel that urging saved your life?
Hayes: Of course I do. We talk about that very honestly. She literally saved my life by intervening and noticing.
ASM: Your father managed to eventually quit drinking and has been sober for 25 years now. How is your relationship with him today?
Hayes: It's polite and strained. But it carries with it the possibility to get stronger and that's what I look forward to.
ASM: I understand that it was your intention to share your story with the hope of letting others know that they are not alone and can survive. Have you been touched yet by any letters or notes from others out there thanking you for coming forward with your story?
Hayes: Every day. I read all my fanmail and try to be as hands on as possible. Organizations like the Trevor Project are causes I feel truly stand for what I believe in.
ASM: In June, 2006, you married your boyfriend Richard Cullen, later announcing that you were gay on your Web site. Was there a sense of relief that came from opening up about your sexuality?
Hayes: After the fact, yes. Although that really wasn't the motivation. For me, I had always lived my life as a gay man from the moment I came out. Marrying Richard was a very public gesture and one I wanted my audience to be aware carried with it a tremendous amount of pride. I'm happy no one 'outed' me or forced me to deal with my private life any sooner than before I was ready to.
ASM: Your desire to have a family and kids came from the fact that you never experienced that yourself as a child, and you've acknowledged that you were on the run personally behind closed doors many years because of your sexuality, describing coming out as a "painful experience." Are you at peace now?
Hayes: Of course! Age is a wonderful thing. It makes you mellow and you learn to live in your skin with comfort.
ASM: The first single from your new album, "On the Verge of Something Wonderful," is a catchy single that conjures up memories of '80s pop — even the video has an '80s feel to it. That decade certainly produced a lot of great music at a time when the world seemed like a much safer place. How important was it for you to recapture some of the innocence and great sounds that came out of that decade with the new album?
Hayes: I wanted to make sure I used the experience of remembering as a tool to choose happiness. It's so easy to harp on the negative. Joy is so much harder to capture. By immersing myself in the tools of the trade that my favorite artists had used in the 1980's, I truly think I managed to capture some of the innocence and the magic of my first musical connections.
ASM: You had the opportunity to work with some amazing talent on this new album, the likes of Justin Shave, Robert Conley and Ash Howes. How important were their personal contributions?
Hayes: I am nothing without help. The men you mentioned were teachers and very kind mentors to me and I could not have done this without their considerable help. I'm humbled by their willingness to bring their talent to my dreams.