Charice Pempengco, now goes by the name Jake Zyrus, announced the name change on social media on Sunday, nearly three years after revealing to Oprah Winfrey that “my soul is male.”
Zyrus, the Filipino singer who became famous on YouTube in 2007 and made guest appearances on Glee in 2010, posted a heartfelt message to fans over the weekend.
“My first tweet as Jake,” the 25-year-old star wrote. “Overwhelmed. Saw all your love comments and I’m so happy. Finally. I love you, everyone and see you soon. I won’t let anyone ruin this moment. I won’t let anyone ruin my happiness. Thank you to all the beautiful write ups about me.”
All previous social media posts from the singer were deleted, marking this as a new beginning. Zyrus also posted on Instagram, “From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the love and respect. I love you back and I’m sending peace to everyone.”
According to People, Zyrus became the first Asian solo singer in history to land in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 albums chart with 2010’s Charice, which debuted at No. 8. The singer was dubbed by Oprah as “the most talented girl in the world.” At just 16, Zyrus had an opportunity to perform a duet of “Because You Loved Me” with idol Celine Dion at Madison Square Garden.
The “Pyramid” singer came out as lesbian in 2013, addressing an obvious change, E! News report. “I know some people are more used to the old Charice, a ballad singer with the pigtails,” the singer said at the time. “For me, in my heart, I’ve always wanted to be more edgy, rock, more [on the] dark side. I know some people think that this is very rebellious but it’s not. It’s just me evolving. It’s me transforming into another person that is totally me.”
A year later, the singer sat down with Oprah to address rumors of a gender transition. “Not exactly transitioning to a male, but basically my soul is like male,” Zyrus explained. “But I’m not going to go through that stage where I’m going to change everything—not change my body. I would change, like, this look: Cut my hair and wear boy clothes and everything, but that’s all.”
Zyrus contemplated gender and sexuality issues from a very young age. “I knew when I was 5,” the singer said. “Then, when I was 10, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s it, I’m gay.’ ”
Fans were very supportive of the singer’s decision on Sunday. “Forever grateful,” Zyrus wrote on Twitter Tuesday, accepting the support. “Let’s just love one another. I love you all. I really do. I reaaaaalllyyyy ddddoooo.”
“I won’t let anyone ruin this moment. I won’t let anyone ruin my happiness,” Zyrus continued. “Thank you to all the beautiful write ups about me.”