Rugby great Gareth Thomas stunned the sporting world this week, and has publicly come out as gay.
The married 35-year-old Cardiff Blues player, who in 2007 became the first ever Welshman to win 100 caps for his country, admitted he had been suicidal at times as he hid his sexuality from his wife, his team-mates and the macho world of professional rugby as a whole.
In an interview with London’s Daily Mail, Thomas said, “It’s ended my marriage and nearly driven me to suicide. Now it’s time to tell the world the truth — I’m gay.”
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Thomas reveals that he told his wife he was gay in the summer 2006, and following a match in Cardiff later that year, he broke into tears in the changing room at the Millennium Stadium. It was at that time he confided to Wales coach Scott Johnson that he was gay, and that keeping his true sexuality a secret was destroying him.
“I was like a ticking bomb. I thought I could suppress it, keep it locked away in some dark corner of myself, but I couldn’t.
“It was who I was, and I just couldn’t ignore it any more.
“I’d been through every emotion under the sun trying to deal with this.
“You wake up one morning thinking: “I can handle it. Everything is fine,” and the next morning you don’t want anyone to see your face, because you think that if people look at you, they will know.
“I’ve been through all sorts of emotions with this, tears, anger and absolute despair.”
Today, Thomas is a supporter of the NSPCC (the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), and told the Mail he doesn’t want desperate young people confused over their sexuality, or worried about any other issue, to suffer in silence, as he did for almost 20 years, too terrified to tell anyone.
More than 3,500 boys call NSPCC’s ChildLine about their sexuality each year.
“I don’t know if my life is going to be easier because I’m out, but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine, then it will have been worth it,” said Thomas.
Read the full interview and article at the Mail Online.