Shawn Mendes has talked about the gay rumours swirling around him (Gregg DeGuire/Getty)

Shawn Mendes has addressed persistent rumours about him being gay.

The Canadian pop star called the speculation over his sexuality a “massive, massive thing” that has followed him “for the last five years” while speaking to Rolling Stone.

The 20-year-old singer said part of him wants to avoid ever being seen as gay, explaining: “In the back of my heart, I feel like I need to go be seen with someone—like a girl—in public, to prove to people that I’m not gay.

Shawn Mendes has long denied being gay. (SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty)

“Even though in my heart I know that it’s not a bad thing. There’s still a piece of me that thinks that. And I hate that side of me.”

Mendes, who rose to popularity on now-defunct video site Vine, revealed an instinct to avoid anything that may make people think he’s gay, saying he has tried to not cross his legs since he saw an anonymous remark on one of his videos commenting on it.

Shawn Mendes ‘felt sick’ after Taylor Swift posted video of him

The “In My Blood” singer said he woke up in a cold sweat after allowing fellow music sensation Taylor Swift, who he was touring with, to post a video clip of her putting glittery eye make-up on him.

He said: “I felt sick.

Shawn Mendes said he was “terrified” of fuelling gay rumours (VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty)

“I was like: ‘F**k, why did I let her post that?’ I just fed the fire that I’m terrified of.”

“You fu**ing guys are so lucky I’m not actually gay.”

— Shawn Mendes

In June 2016, Mendes hit the headlines when he posted a video on Snapchat telling a section of his fanbase off for spreading the rumours. He said: “I noticed a lot of people were saying I gave them a ‘gay vibe.’

“First of all, I’m not gay. Second of all, it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or wasn’t.”

Shawn Mendes told fans: “Do you like the songs? Do you like me? Who cares if I’m gay?” (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)

Shawn Mendes: Gay rumours kill people

He revealed that he was driven to make the video, which shows Mendes looking wide-eyed and frustrated, by the thought that “you fu**ing guys are so lucky I’m not actually gay and terrified of coming out.”

“That’s something that kills people,” he continued. “That’s how sensitive it is. Do you like the songs? Do you like me? Who cares if I’m gay?”

The star said he had come to terms with himself more since then, however.

He recalled putting glitter around his eyes as a child, while he was growing up with 15 female cousins, and “braiding hair and painting nails.”

“Maybe I am a little more feminine,” he added, “but that’s the way it is. That’s why I am me.”

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