As one of American Idol's most polarizing figures, fans either love or hate Sanjaya Malakar â€“ but he says he's always been popular with women.
"I've always gotten along with girls better because I was raised by women," Malakar tells People magazine in its new issue.
"I got teased in school because people figured I must be gay because I understand women," the popular American Idol castoff says. "I think that's why guys didn't like me â€“ because I got along with girls so well. When I went up to girls they would give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek like I was their gay friend. But I was the straight guy that understood them."
As for his dating past, Malakar, who is now 17, says: "I had a girlfriend but she became clingy, and I didn't want to get into a really serious relationship because I was 16. Before his arrival on the hit FOX show, "I just wanted to date and have fun," he says.