JK Rowling has revealed a secret about one of the main characters in her Harry Potter books- the wizard Dumbledore is gay.
The best-selling British author made the confession on Friday evening in Carnegie Hall in New York when a young fan asked her if the headmaster of the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ever fell in love.
"My truthful answer to you... I always thought of Dumbledore as gay," said Rowling, whose comments were posted on the Potter fan website TheLeakyCauldron.org.
She said Professor Dumbledore had fallen in love with the wizard Gellert Grindelwald, but was crest fallen as Grindelwald turned his talents to the dark arts.
Dumbledore was "drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him," she said.
During a script reading for the sixth Harry Potter film, the author corrected a reference to Dumbledore waxing nostalgic about a female flame, she said.
"I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, 'Dumbledore's gay!' Rowling said.
Her revelations about Dumbledore drew a "prolonged ovation," according to the fan website.
"If I'd known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!" she told her fans.
In the Potter films, Dumbledore was played by the late Richard Harris and then by Ian McKellen.
Rowling, 42, has become a billionaire from the Potter phenomenon, with the books translated into 64 languages.
The first in the boy wizard series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was published in 1997 and the final and seventh novel, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", broke records after going on sale in July.
As for telling her admiring readers about the sexual preference of Professor Dumbledore, she said: "I had to give you something to talk about for the next 10 years...Just imagine the fan fiction now."