It’s been a year of major developments for Clay Aiken.
In late September the American Idol favorite acknowledged in a PEOPLE cover story that he’s gay – an announcement that followed the Aug. 8 birth of his first child, Parker, with his best friend, music producer Jaymes Foster, 50.
While Aiken’s coming out generated significant interest on Internet blogs, it’s the singer’s status as a new dad that he says makes 2008 the most memorable.
“At the end of the day, Parker is the most important thing of the year, and of my life, without question,” Aiken, 30, tells PEOPLE. “Having a son and that type of responsibility is obviously going to be something that I remember forever.”
Still, Aiken, is mindful of the widespread support he received after coming out. “We’ve been very impressed and my heart has been thoroughly warmed to find people very supportive,” he says.
Inspirational – and Busy
And he’s also aware he may have inspired other gay men to come out. “I’m very humbled by that. I really don’t know what to say about that. I think that hopefully less than inspiring people I will have an opportunity to open people’s eyes to different viewpoints and different possibilities in their life.”
As for his life as a new parent, Aiken will return to full-time fatherhood – joining Foster, 50, in his native North Carolina – after Jan. 4, when he finishes his run on Broadway as Sir Robin in Monty Python’s Spamalot.
“I want to spend time with Parker. He’s still uber-dependent,” Aiken says, laughing. “I’m ready for him to start talking. I’m ready for a little action!”
But Claymates need not worry: Aiken will return to his singing roots: “We’ll take a little bit of time, we’re not quitting or anything, we’re just gonna take it slow for a month or so and recollect once I get back,” he says. “I may never have any free time once Parker starts walking and talking!”