CMT host Cody Alan turned to social media to share a surprising secret with his fans on Thursday (Jan. 12). The radio and TV personality came out as gay in an emotionally revealing post.

"As we start a new year, there is something I want to share with you. You see, I’m gay," Alan writes via Instagram, adding, "This is not a choice I made, but something I've known about myself my whole life. Through life's twists and turns, marriage, divorce, fatherhood, successes, failures -- I've landed on this day, a day when I'm happier and healthier than I’ve ever been."

The host of CMT's Hot 20 Countdown says he's "finally comfortable enough for everyone to know this truth about me," adding that he hopes the news won't change fans' perceptions about him. "I’m still the same Cody I always was. You just know a little more about me now. My hope for the future is to live the most honest, authentic, loving, and open life possible."

In addition to Hot 20 Countdown, the 44-year-old broadcast personality serves as the host and executive producer of CMT After MidNite and CMT Radio Live. His upbeat personality is a huge part of his appeal, but he admits that it's sometimes been a front.

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“Though my TV or my radio persona was always that of a happy guy, there was this underlying ache inside of me for years, so I decided either I was gonna do something about it, or I was gonna live with this layer of misery underneath that happy face on the TV,” Alan tells People.

The South Carolina native says he knew he was gay from a very young age, but he struggled against it out of shame. He married when he was 24 and had two kids, but realized 10 years ago that it simply wasn't fair to his wife to let their marriage continue. After their marriage ended, they remained friends, and he slowly came out to friends and family, finding acceptance instead of judgment.

He admits coming out to his kids -- who are now 14 and 18 -- made him especially nervous.

"I remember being scared, honestly, because it’s a big thing to share. But my son said, ‘You’re a great dad; it’s okay,'” he says. “To their generation, being gay is like your eye color -- it’s just there — so they understood better than I thought.”

He says they've evolved into a paradigm of a modern family.

“It’s awesome now because I have a partner, my ex has a boyfriend, and with our kids, we have this really beautiful, blended, loving, modern family that works for us,” he says. “My ex-wife is my greatest supporter; my kids are my greatest supporters!”

Alan says he was inspired by the courage of country stars Chely Wright and Ty Herndon, who both suffered backlash when they came out. Both have persevered and started a new chapter in their careers as both artists and advocates, and Alan says he hopes he, too, can serve as an example.

“I would like to be a voice that can speak to people who are facing challenges that we all face, for struggles that we all come across, because we’re all going through something," he states. "To be able to say: There is life, and you can find it, and take steps to improve yourself based on what you know… If I could be someone who’s vocal about facing struggles and overcoming them, I’d like to be."

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