‘American Idol’ Star Says He’s Struggling to Find a Date: ‘Everyone Knows Me’

One of the most well-known “American Idol” alums in the show’s history, season 7 runner-up David Archuleta, had no idea just how famous he was until he joined a few dating apps.

The 33-year-old performer came out as a member of the LGBTQA+ community in 2021, per Variety, but finding true love has been a challenge. On June 5, 2024, Archuleta told Us Weekly he had turned to dating apps, but to his surprise, people who saw his profile kept recognizing him.

“I go on apps and it is kind of hard because I didn’t think I was that well-known but, like, everyone knows me,” he explained to the outlet, adding with surprise, “They post my profile on TikTok and things.”

As Archuleta has gone from “Idol to icon,” per the EDGE Media Network, he has run into multiple problems trying to find love online, from people spreading rumors to not being believed  he’s really on the apps.

David Archuleta Has Run Into Multiple Issues on Dating Apps

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A post shared by David Archuleta (@davidarchie)

The global recognition Archuleta has received since coming out, including winning the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist in May, has cemented his status as a queer “icon.” Nevertheless, Archuleta thought he’d be able to use dating apps with relative anonymity — and quickly discovered he was sorely mistaken.

“I guess I was a bigger deal than I realize,” he told Us Weekly.

In 2023, Archuleta had to shut down rumors spread by a man on TikTok who claimed he’d been on a “coffee date” with the singer, per Out magazine. Archuleta insisted the date with the redheaded storyteller never happened, revealing that he tends to date “Hispanic, Latino-type looking folk — this is my type, my roots.”

The year before, in 2022, Archuleta told Pride, “I tried to use things like Hinge, but Hinge won’t let me be there. They froze my account. I don’t know if they thought I was fake. I wrote them, I was like, ‘Hey, it’s me!’ Maybe they don’t want people who are recognizable on their app. Taints their style. Hinge seemed more chill and more my style of dating, but whatever.”

David Archuleta Was Shocked by His Mom’s Reaction to His Coming Out & Leaving the Mormon Church

GettyDavid Archuleta with his mom, Lupe Marie Mayorga, at a taping of iHeartMedia’s Can’t Cancel Pride event on May 1, 2024.

Just 16 when he auditioned for “Idol” and amazed the judges with his big voice, Archuleta went on to take second place behind David Cook and saw his first single, “Crush,” go double platinum, according to Variety. The irony, though, was that he had never had a crush of his own — and wouldn’t for a long time.

For nearly 20 years, Archuleta told NBC, he was confused about why he never felt any romantic feelings for the countless girls who screamed his name at concerts. But he also didn’t want to honor his attraction to other men because it was so strictly forbidden in the Mormon church he grew up in. After broken engagements with three different women, the internal tug-of-war caused him to spiral into depression.

“In the church, they say homosexuality is a sin, it’s of the devil,” he told NBC. “I would think, ‘Oh, my gosh, I don’t want to be of the devil. So let me keep praying and fasting and trying to be obedient.’”

Archuleta added that he even contemplated suicide, thinking that “ending my life would be better than becoming evil for allowing myself to fall in love with the same sex.”

But after much prayer, Archuleta felt like God wanted him to be himself and come out publicly, he told NBC. He was most afraid about how his mom would react, knowing he would need to leave the church, but her response stunned him.

“She said, ‘If you’re going to hell, then we’re all going to hell with you,’” Archuleta told NBC, adding that their conversation — and her decision to leave the church alongside him — inspired his latest single, “Hell Together.” The song, which Archuleta performed on “American Idol” on April 22, has already hit the the iTunes charts’ top 10, according to the Park Record.

Returning to ‘American Idol’ to Perform ‘Hell Together’ Was a Big Moment For David Archuleta

Competing on “Idol” at such a young age, and at a time when he was confused about his own identity, left him feeling disillusioned for a while. In 2021, he told Variety that parts of his experience on the show were “traumatic” and “miserable,” claiming those behind the scenes in 2011 made him and other contestants feel like “powerless little bugs.”

“I get afraid to blame things on ‘American Idol,’” Archuleta told Variety, “because something in me is programmed to say, ‘I have to be grateful, because where would I be without it?’”

Archuleta has been back on “Idol” since, including teaming up to mentor season 21 contestants with Clay Aiken, another openly gay star who came out in 2008, several years after being on the show, via People. While Archuleta enjoyed mentoring other “Idol” singers, returning to perform on season 22 felt especially significant for him.

“It was really cool to be back where I started, but showing where I am now,” he told Us weekly. “And being able to not have anything to hide this time, singing a song about that journey itself was pretty amazing.”

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