updated 09/24/2008 AT 12:55 PM ET
•originally published 09/24/2008 AT 2:10 PM ET
“We’ll ‘talk’ more later,” Aiken, 29, writes on his Web site’s message board. “but, suffice it to say, for the first time in recent memory, I am speechless. I’m so proud to know and love all of you.”
He adds, “My family is so much larger than Parker, Jaymes, mom, Brett, etc. It extends to each of you. And I couldn’t be more blessed.”
Aiken posted the message Tuesday night after a performance of Broadway’s Monty Python’s Spamalot, where he has resumed the role of Sir Robin. Fans flocked to the stage door after the show to see the star, but Aiken ducked out a different exit.
Gay groups applauded Aiken on coming out, while fan reaction across the Web has been one of both surprise but support.
As of midday Wednesday, the thread on clayonline.com had more than 2,200 messages, with many saying, “I will always love and support him no matter what. His sexual orientation makes no difference to me.”
Some Mixed Reactions
Still, a few “Claymates” are taking the news hard. “I’m really struggling with this one,” writes one fan on claymaniacs.com. A poster on clayaiken.com writes, “I’m only concerned that for those like me who will still support him no matter what may have some difficulty reconciling that he wasn’t straight forward to begin with.”
From the Clay Board, strollynn63 writes, “This is a gut wrenching day for The ClayNation. Somebody wake me up, I hope it’s a dream,” while NJ4ClayA admits, “I still love to hear him sing but I also feel he has now become like a Michael Jackson and it’s a bit too weird!”
Aiken told PEOPLE he understands some fans may not react well. “[I want] to let people know that I’ve never intended to lie to anybody at all,” he said. “But if they leave, I don’t want them to leave hating me.”