Cody Alan Opens Up About His Modern Family & Leaving the Mormon Church After Coming Out

CMT host Cody Alan released his debut book, Hear's the Thing, on Tuesday

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Cody Alan. Photo: Courtesy Cody Alan

Cody Alan is opening up about his journey to self acceptance.

The CMT host shares his story in his new book Hear's the Thing (out now), in which he discusses faith, family and how his life changed after he revealed he was gay in a 2017 PEOPLE interview.

Before Alan came out, he first had to reconcile his sexuality with his faith. Alan was raised in southern churches in suburban Columbia, South Carolina, before he converted to Mormonism as a teen. After going on a mission as a young adult, he got married and raised their two children, Makayla and Landon, in the Mormon faith.

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Cody Alan on his Mormon mission. Courtesy Cody Alan

Alan knew he was gay from a young age. After years of struggling, he came out to his wife, Terresa, in 2009, and they later divorced. With Terresa's support, Alan slowly began coming out to close friends, family and colleagues, including Keith Urban, who was the first artist he told he was gay.

"It was a confirmation to me that I was headed in the right direction," Alan, 48, tells PEOPLE of coming out to Urban, who responded with "compassion, love and acceptance."

Alan's relationship with religion changed over the years as he began to accept himself.

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Cody Alan on his Mormon mission. Courtesy Cody Alan

"I think when you grow up religious, as I did, there is a way that you were taught right, wrong — everything is black and white, it's one way or the other," Alan says. "And the truth is, particularly when it comes to sexuality, there are lots of shades, and understanding that as I did later in my life really helped me, because I understood we're clearly all different."

Eventually, Alan left the Mormon church.

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Cody Alan, with, from left: Trea Smith, Landon, Makayla, Terresa, Patrick Kelly. Courtesy Cody Alan

"When you go through most of your adult life living a 'straight' life, you learn to be that way and to sort of fake it. There's reasons why I stuck with the church for so long, but ultimately the prayers weren't answered in regards to making me straight — it doesn't work that way," he says. "It took me a while to understand that because I wanted so badly to do what I thought God wanted. I used to think that if I came out, if I was myself, that God was going to hate me. I realized after I came out that I was still just as loved, and my life was enhanced."

Today, Alan happier and more fulfilled than ever. In 2015, he met his fiancé, Michael "Trea" Smith, 29, who inspired him to come out two years later. And they've formed their own modern family with Terresa; Makayla, 23, and Landon, 19; and Terresa's boyfriend, Patrick Kelly. And this big, happy family takes vacations and celebrates holidays together.

Hear's the Thing Cody Alan
Cody Alan, Hear's the Thing. Michael Gomez

"Some of our friends are like, 'How do you guys do it?' Well, it starts with a foundation of love. We were going to figure out a way to make our kids feel just as loved as they did before," Alan says. "It took a little while to get there, but we're on the other side of it, and it's pretty great."

Adds Alan: "I'm happy with where we're at."

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