Craig Lucas. Picture: Supplied

In an open letter penned to family, friends and fans "The Voice SA" season 2 winner, Craig Lucas, told the world that he is a gay man. 

The emotional letter chronicles how the star battled with his homosexuality and depression over the years.

The "I Said This" singer opens up about the history of depression and mental illness in his family, and talks about losing his father to suicide at the age of three. 

"Suicide and mental illness runs in my family, especially amongst the men. My dad committed suicide when I was three. A number of other family members did too... The death of my father planted a seed in my mind. Those seeds had sprouted...," he shared.

Lucas then recalls the moment in 2011 he realised that he was in love with a man, and the battle he fought within himself for years when he realised that he was a gay man. 

The star reveals that, for years, he had struggled to accept a massive part of himself – he was in love with a man. The star shares that he had met a man during his first year at the University of Cape Town. 

They often got drunk together and developed a strong bond – one he perceived as a strong friendship. One day, however, the star realised that the feelings he felt for the man were more than that of a simple friendship.

“...Our conversations started becoming deeper with every drink. Stares lingered just a bit longer than normal, our seats moved closer and time seemed to slow down with every shot of whiskey. I found myself fixated on his eyes and his nose, and on his lips - the way his top lip curved like the ebb and flow of the ocean, how the creases danced over the skin like folds on a rose; his lips parting and then meeting with every word he said like the wings of an eagle in flight - virile but tender, crude but graceful. I was so enamoured that often I didn’t even hear what he was saying, but it didn’t matter,” read part of his letter.

“All that mattered in that moment was that he was there, and that I was there with him. That was the moment that it hit me - I was in love. I was unequivocally, profoundly, violently in love. I was unequivocally, profoundly, violently in love with a man. My head started spinning and I felt like I wanted to throw up. I made up an excuse to get home. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough..."

He explains that he finally found a sense of freedom when he came out to his family in 2016. He also found love. But when he started his "The Voice SA" journey, those closest to him told him to keep his sexuality a secret "because no one will vote for you". 

“People started telling me to keep the fact that I was in a relationship with a man a secret – “the audience is conservative” “no one will vote for you.” So I did, and I won. “I’m glad I listened to them” I thought. People then said “no one will buy your music if they think you’re gay” “girls are your biggest market, you will alienate them,” Craig shares.

So he hid the fact that he was in a relationship with a man, and he won the competition. But a year later, and despite his flourishing musical career, Lucas was still battling with depression and suicidal thoughts. And decided it was time to stop "hurting those he loved" and to stop "living a lie".

“My dreams had come true. I was in a relationship with an amazing man. My career was flourishing. I was wholly depressed. Suicidal thoughts plagued my mind. I’d become a very angry man,” Craig continues. “Hurt people really do hurt people. I hated myself. I was wasted every other day. There was even drugs. I’d forgotten myself. I’d forgotten that I was smart, talented, funny and kind. I’d forgotten that I was loved. It took me hitting rock bottom once more to realise that I’d been living a lie,” he wrote.

And so he put his "words to paper," and told the world that he's ready to be happy, and will accept whatever follows.

"I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I expect to lose a couple of friends and fans, and I expect a couple of familial relationships to become strained as a result of this letter but it’s ok. I sing about “Hearts Exposed” but hid mine. So here I am pulling my best Frank Ocean,” Craig continues. “I welcome whatever is coming my way with an open heart and an open mind. Until then, I have some making up to do with the people who stuck by my side even when I was at my worst, and some amazing f***ing songs to write,” he revealed.

Lucas' "coming out" letter was praised on social media, but it also started a conversation for stigmas attached to being part of the LGBTQI+ community. One user wrote: "Everyone happy about Craig Lucas flying the flag.

"But can we now please address the elephant in the room at how LGBTQI members suffer from depression because some in society feel the need to box [okay closet] people. (sic)"

Read Lucas' open letter below.