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Music

Glee Star Charice Pempengco Changes Name to Jake Zyrus After Revealing 'My Soul Is Male'

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Charice Pempengco, the Filipino singer who rose to popularity in 2007 on YouTube and appeared in a handful of episodes of Glee, now goes by the name Jake Zyrus.

The 25-year-old star debuted the new moniker on social media on Sunday — almost three years after revealing to Oprah Winfrey that “my soul is male.”

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the love and respect,” Zyrus wrote on Instagram. “I love you back and I’m sending peace to everyone.”

All previous posts from the singer across social media were deleted, marking this as a fresh start.

On Monday, Zyrus tweeted about the change, writing, “My first tweet as Jake. Overwhelmed. Saw all your love comments and I’m so happy. Finally. I love you, everyone and see you soon.”

Dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as “the most talented girl in the world,” Zyrus became the first Asian solo singer in history to land in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 albums chart with the release of 2010’s Charice, which debuted at No. 8.

Mike Coppola/Getty

Appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Winfrey’s former talk show helped catapult the singer to success, with audiences cheering over Zyrus’ vocals on covers of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” “I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing,” and “My Heart Will Go On.”

At just 16, Zyrus appeared at Madison Square Garden to perform a duet of “Because You Loved Me” with Zyrus’ idol Céline Dion.

FOX/Getty
Glee
FOX/Getty

On Glee‘s second season, Zyrus played Sunshine Corazon — a talented young singer and foreign exchange student who joins New Directions and quickly develops a rivalry with Rachel Berry (Lea Michele). Transferring to compete in rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline (and then, eventually, back to New Directions), Corazon appeared in three episodes of the show. Covers included “Telephone,” “Listen,’ and “All By Myself.”

After coming out as a lesbian in 2013, Zyrus appeared the next year on an episode of Winfrey’s Where Are They Now — confronting rumors of a gender transition head-on.

“I’m not going to go through that stage where I change everything,” Zyrus said at the time. “I’ll cut my hair and wear boy clothes and everything, but that’s all.”

Gender and sexuality issues were things Zyrus contemplated from a very young age. “I knew when I was 5,” Zyrus said. “Then, when I was 10, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s it, I’m gay.’ ”

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Fans were quick to express their support for Zyrus’ decision on Sunday:

“Forever grateful,” Zyrus tweeted on Tuesday, acknowledging the support. “Let’s just love one another. I love you all. I really do. I reaaaaalllyyyy ddddoooo.”

“I won’t let anyone ruin this moment. I won’t let anyone ruin my happiness,” Zyrus added. “Thank you to all the beautiful write ups about me.”