Lauren Jauregui Says Her 'Process Was Violated' When She Was 'Definitely Outed' by Perez Hilton

Hilton tells PEOPLE that he is "not remotely remorseful" for sharing a photo of Jauregui kissing her girlfriend at the time and that he does not think the post outed the singer

lauren jauregui
Photo: Aysia Marotta

Lauren Jauregui is reflecting on the time she was outed as LGBTQ in her teens.

Appearing on Red Table Talk: The Estefans' latest episode about cyberbullying and slut-shaming, Jauregui opened up about her experience being outed by Perez Hilton while she was in Fifth Harmony, though Hilton tells PEOPLE he does not see what he did in the same way.

"I'd been dating the girlfriend that I've had at the time for probably a year at that point, but we had fallen in love when I was 15," Jauregui told the Estefans. "I was at my uncle's wedding in New Orleans and my aunt very innocently posted the photos from the photo booth onto her Facebook page."

She continued, "It was a link for the family to be able to click on and my fans are just a little wild and they found the picture where my girlfriend and I — we were drunk — [were] kissing."

After fans found the photos, they ended up in the hands of the celebrity gossipist, who then outed her to the general public. (Gloria Estefan called Hilton "the harbinger of doom" for Jauregui.)

"He definitely outed me. I wasn't ready because I'm also Latina," Jauregui explained. "There was that whole looming thing of, 'What is my community going to feel about me? Are they even going to accept me?' I know that my family obviously accepted me. But was that something that I was willing to deal with on a public scale?"

Jauregui shared that extended family members began to reach out to her parents about the news.

lauren jauregui
Aysia Marotta

"I felt like my own process was violated," Jauregui said.

Hilton, 43, tells PEOPLE that he is "not sorry nor remotely remorseful" for posting the photo of Jauregui and her girlfriend at the time, saying that he doesn't consider what he did to be outing the "Lento" singer. He also said he appears on next week's Red Table Talk: The Estefans and addresses the issue himself.

"I'm genuinely sad that she was bothered by that, [but] I'm not gonna fake an apology," he tells PEOPLE. "It was her fans that caused this photo to go viral. By the time I commented on it, it had already gone viral. It wasn't like I was given this piece of information or a photo and I was the first person to share it with the world; it was already trending by the time I chimed in."

Hilton explains that he posted the photo with the caption, "Why are Fifth Harmony fans being so extra over this photo of Lauren Jauregui kissing another girl? NBD." He says that the photo itself "does not imply anything about their sexuality."

Hilton — who has a history of outing celebrities such as Lance Bass and Neil Patrick Harris — says he was "definitely" sorry for the times that he did out celebrities in the past but thinks this situation with Jauregui was different.

"Maybe in the future, if I reflect on it more, I might take what I did in this situation was wrong, but I put thought into it before I shared that photo," he says. "Is this outing? And is that wrong if I share this?"

Hilton says he and Jauregui have not spoken, but that he did speak to Jauregui's ex-girlfriend.

Along with her experience with Perez Hilton, Jauregui shared she had been cyberbullied before fame as well when some classmates made an AIM page and called her a slut.

"I remember coming home and seeing it and just feeling sick to my stomach because these are girls that I consider my friends and they're publicly humiliating me and calling me a slut," she said.

And later, while in Fifth Harmony, some photos of her in a bathing suit made it online and she was quickly body-shamed.

"I have body image issues. And I've had them since bullying that happened to me in fifth grade," she said in tears. "I realized I was searching for these negative comments because they were the validation of my insecurities. Your mind looks for evidence of what you already think is true. I spent the next week crying. Feeling just so terrible in my own body."

However, Jauregui has gotten to "a place of self-love that is so strong" where she doesn't "care what people say about me because they don't know me... Those people are not well, there's something mentally wrong with the way that they view life."

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During the episode, Gloria, Lili and Emily Estefan also speak to Modern Family's Ariel Winter about dealing with online trolls. They also welcome a mother of a teenaged girl who committed suicide after facing cyberbullying.

On Friday, Jauregui shared a thread to Twitter and addressed the "intense" episode, saying that she spoke about her issues "from a healed place" and didn't mean to "rehash drama."

"Bringing awareness to such a topic would be completely in vain if we took this opportunity to send hate and nasty shit to anyone. It doesn't matter who they are or what was done, returning venom doesn't solve anything and it contributes to this nasty culture of anonymously telling someone to harm themselves or sending them harmful things," she wrote, referring to Hilton. "I don't condone that, I don't want any of you doing that in my defense. I understand it's hard to hear vulnerable things but the reason I share is to transcend and bring awareness, not to contribute further to the problem."

Jaureugi added that she is no longer "dwelling over what was done" and that she'd rather "focus on the message" of being "kinder with your words, more thoughtful with your words in this online space."

"I have nothing but forgiveness in my heart for anyone who can take accountability and for those who can't I wish them grace and love because that's what they actually need to regain their humanity. Anyway," she wrote. "Humiliating and gossiping about ppl isn't cute and that's the point. Just keep in mind your mental health while on this app and all the apps. If you're not sending something that's adding to someone's life, don't do it. Sending you all love."

Last year, Jauregui went on Becky G's En La Sala podcast to talk about the rumors that she and her former Fifth Harmony bandmate Camila Cabello "were into each other" while in the group.

"I was 18 and absolutely not trying to come out to the public. This is gonna be a controversial acknowledgment but whatever," Jauregui said at the time. "People thought Camila and I were into each other. And that made me so uncomfortable, like disgustingly uncomfortable because I was queer but she was not."

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"It made me feel like a predator because of the type of clips people would put together and the type of stories people would write," she added. "I was always the aggressor and I was always the one turning her ... I also did not have that connection with her."

She shared that those rumors about Cabello "really f—ed with my head" and made her have to come out later on.

Following the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, Jauregui penned a letter to the politician and his supporters. In it, she came out as bisexual.

"I am a bisexual Cuban-American woman and I am so proud of it. I am proud to be part of a community that only projects love and education and the support of one another," she wrote in the letter. "I am proud to be the granddaughter and daughter of immigrants who were brave enough to leave their homes and come to a whole new world with a different language and culture and immerse themselves fearlessly to start a better life for themselves and their families."

Jauregui has been an advocate for the LGBT community and the Black Lives Matter movement. She recently performed at an event encouraging people to vote.

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