"I [told him], 'You know I'm not straight, right?'" Julianne Hough recalls telling her husband Brooks Laich.

By Natalie Stone
August 02, 2019

It’s been two years since Julianne Hough tied the knot with husband Brooks Laich, and in the time since, the America’s Got Talent judge has been on a journey of self-discovery and personal exploration.

Four months after the couple got married in July 2017, Hough, 31, began her “massive transformation,” she tells Women’s Health for its September cover.

Baring all for the outlet’s annual “Naked Strength” issue, Hough admits that as she was undergoing her personal evolution, she was fearful that Laich, an NHL player and entrepreneur, wouldn’t understand.

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“I was connecting to the woman inside that doesn’t need anything, versus the little girl that looked to him to protect me,” she says. “I was like, ‘Is he going to love this version of me?’ But the more I dropped into my most authentic self, the more attracted he was to me.”

As a result, Hough says they now “have a more intimate relationship.”

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Becoming more emotionally and physically intimate allowed Hough to be open with her husband about her sexuality — and reveal that she isn’t straight.

“I [told him], ‘You know I’m not straight, right?’ And he was like, ‘I’m sorry what?'” explains the pro dancer, who created a new dance concept called Kinrgy. “I was like, ‘I’m not. But I choose to be with you.’ “

“I think there’s a safety with my husband now that I’m unpacking all of this,” continues Hough, “and there’s no fear of voicing things that I’ve been afraid to admit or that I’ve had shame or guilt about because of what I’ve been told or how I was raised.”

RELATED: Brooks Laich Says Julianne Hough Was a ‘Warrior’ During ‘Super Challenging’ IVF Process

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Recently, Laich, 36, got vulnerable on an episode of his iHeartRadio podcast, How Men Think, revealing that he and Hough began the IVF process shortly before she turned 30 last July.

While the couple isn’t pregnant yet, Laich told PEOPLE he’s more appreciative than ever for Hough, who has been a “warrior” through the process.

“Knowing she has endometriosis, it could potentially make things challenging in the future to conceive naturally,” he said of their decision to start IVF. “That was just a looking at the big picture and what we want as a family.”

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In addition to starting IVF, Hough also froze some of her eggs last year, and “the commitment that she made to us having a family is something I’ll never forget,” he added.

Calling Hough a “champion,” Laich said she had three shots a day for two weeks, and dealt with mood swings from the hormones.

“As a husband, I just go into full support mode. Whatever my wife needs, whatever I can do, I’m fighting the smallest portion of the fight with her,” he said. “There are certain things in my wife’s life that I know she appreciates that help her feel calm and help her feel relaxed, so I double those efforts during that time just to show that I’m there with her and I support her.”

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And as she continues to experience different seasons of life with her husband alongside her, Hough is prepared for further growth.

“I’m going to shift for the rest of my life. I’m not like, ‘Oh, I got it.’ But I’m trusting myself now, and when I’m totally connected to me, I feel full,” the former Dancing with the Stars pro tells Women’s Health. “I want others to see that in themselves too.”

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