Although Clay Aiken says his decision to come out might lose him a few fans, three of his former “American Idol” competitors have his back.

“This news does not change my opinion of him or my friendship with him,” says Carmen Rasmusen, 23, who competed alongside Aiken during the show’s second season. But she admits she was somewhat shocked by the news. “I’m surprised, I guess because he kept it quiet for so long!”

Rasmusen, who is expecting a son with husband Brad Herbert this Christmas, added, “As I’m also going to be a mom, I know how parenthood completely changes your perspective. I think it’s great that he’s raising his son with a mother involved, and that he understands the importance of being up front and honest with his child.”

Ex-“Idol” contestant Rickey Smith, who, like Aiken, identifies himself as a Christian, says, “He has to do what makes him happy. I’m just glad he’s doing what makes him feel comfortable and confident.”

Aiken tells the upcoming issue of People, on newsstands Friday, “I still consider myself a born-again Christian, and I am absolutely comfotable with my salvation.”

Read the full story from People and more from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.