The X Factor star Honey G feared a homophobic backlash if she outed herself as a lesbian during her controversial stint on the ITV show.

The Jewish rapper, whose real name is Anna Georgette Gilford, exploded onto ITV’s talent show, The X Factor, last year, and came out as gay for the first time publicly this week.

Honey G said she “wasn’t ready to come out to the public” when starring on The X Factor, and added that her mentor – Sharon Osbourne – who is also Jewish, helped her to keep her sexuality private.

“She was always very protective of me when we had interviews together and they would ask me about it. She would step in and say something about her being bisexual. It was hilarious.”

Speaking to Jewish News last week, Honey G revealed that The X Factor, had “completely changed my life” and described her whirlwind months since leaving the show.

Honey G also fitted in a trip to Los Angeles for an exclusive performance for her mentor, Sharon Osbourne and her daughter, Kelly, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

She’s especially close with the latter, but the singer is equally fond of Sharon, whom she credits with helping launch her new career.

Honey G

Honey G

“Simon Cowell once said me and Sharon were like two peas in a pod – it’s amazing how she has supported me. Sharon sprinkled a little bit of fairy dust over me. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am now. She was the one that brought me back into the competition as a wildcard. Much of my success is down to Sharon.”

While the pair never discussed their shared Jewish backgrounds, Honey G did reveal her Jewishness was “something I’m incredibly proud of” and kvelled when her mother, Yvonne, would drop by the X Factor house with freshly-made chicken soup.

Growing up in Harrow (or “north Weezy” as she infamously described it on the show), the young Honey G first made a name for herself as a gifted tennis player, winning bronze at the 1995 European Maccabi Games in Amsterdam, as well as representing Great Britain as a flag holder at the North American Maccabi Games the following year

Her announcement was made as she starred in a nude photo shoot in The Sun newspaper on Thursday.

The 36-year-old said she has “wanted kids since I was 19”, adding: “But I don’t just want to have kids on my own. I want to make sure that I’m with someone in a long-term serious relationship.”

Speaking to the Sun she said: “I have dabbled with men before, but I’m gay and looking for a female partner that I want to settle down with.