Imagine Dragons' frontman Dan Reynolds discusses interests in queer advocacy and his Mormon roots

Reynolds upfront told Ellen how a devastating experience during his college days changed his life forever, pushing the singer in the inclusive direction that he has been on.


                            Imagine Dragons' frontman Dan Reynolds discusses interests in queer advocacy and his Mormon roots
Dan Reynolds (Getty Images)

Dan Reynolds is the lead vocalist of pop-rock band Imagine Dragons, a strong advocate of LGBTQ issues, the subject of HBO's upcoming documentary 'Believer', and the latest guest on Ellen DeGeneres' show. Appearing on the American chat show, the singer-performer, however, talked about a very personal cause - which is striking a balance between his Mormon roots and his queer advocacy. 

In fact, few seconds into the interview, and Reynolds upfront told Ellen how a "devastating" experience during his college days changed his life forever, pushing the singer in the inclusive direction that he has been on for some time now. 

"A lot of needless shame and guilt,” said Reynolds, recalling the day he was expelled from Brigham Young University "for having sex with my girlfriend of four years". 

“I felt like something needed to change. ... I grew up and had a lot of friends who were gay and Mormon. They couldn’t come out to their parents. They couldn’t even come out to me, because we just wouldn’t talk about it," the 30-year-old Las Vegas native dished to DeGeneres. 

He continued, "Watching their struggle, for me, was awful. And then feeling a bit of shame in my life over something I shouldn’t have been ashamed about helped me to kind of identify, to some degree, with what our LGBTQ youth face all the time within orthodox religion.”

And even though the 'Radioactive' hitmaker still considers himself to be a "unique Mormon", he maintains that he might not be one with every idea associated with the religion. More importantly, Reynolds notes that in order to change something, one has to be a part of the community than yelling from the outside. 

Apart from discussing his religious upbringing, the singer also talked about his personal life and divorce from wife Aja Volkman. 

"Aja is the reason that I am anything today,” Reynolds said adding, “All activism in my life, all musical accomplishments come from her. She’s my best friend. She’s been my creative partner for 10 years now, and hopefully for the rest of my life.”

He even dished about what might have led to the demise of their marriage. "A husband who’s gone 90 percent of the year, doing something that I really believe in — it’s just tough. We’re just working through it, and we’re going to continue to co-parent together. I love her. She’s my best friend,” added the singer.