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Even though she knew she was a lesbian, Chely occasionally dated men, including some of country music's biggest stars, such as Vince Gill and Brad Paisley. "My dating men was my giving it a Hail Mary toward normal," she says. "I ultimately just confused the heck out of them because I couldn't love them the way they loved me."
Chely says she has many regrets about the way she treated these men, particularly Brad Paisley. "I have a lot of regret for how that began and had a middle and ended," she says. "I had no business being in a relationship with him."
Watch Chely discuss her relationship with Brad Paisley.
When she started dating Brad, Chely says her relationship with Julia was falling apart. "I was making a deal again with myself," she says. "[I thought]: 'Well, Chel, you'll forego love. You'll go without love. Find someone with whom you can spend your life that makes you laugh, that you like how they live their life, that you can share a life with.'"
From the beginning, Chely knew her relationship with Brad was wrong. "Doing anything with someone you shouldn't be doing something with—having sex with him, kissing on him, going into a movie and holding hands with a man when you're a lesbian—feels wrong," she says. "When you want to be with someone else, it's wrong. I wronged him."
When people hide from their truth, Chely says they wreak havoc on themselves and everyone around them. "I damaged [Brad], and I hope he forgives me," she says. "I hope this fills in some emotional gaps for him. I don't assume he's pining over how Chely Wright hurt his feelings a few years ago. I'm assuming he's happy and moved on, but I would welcome any chance [to talk to him]."