Champion swimmer Ian Thorpe has revealed he is gay in an interview with Sir Michael Parkinson, after years of scrutiny from the Australian public.
In the tell-all interview that aired on Channel Ten on Sunday night, Thorpe also discussed his battle with depression, that he kept secret from those around him.
Thorpe had previously insisted he was not gay, and in his 2012 autobiography wrote: “For the record, I am not gay and all my sexual experiences have been straight.”
He told Sir Michael: “I’m not straight. And this is only something that very recently, we’re talking in the past two weeks, I’ve been comfortable telling the closest people around me exactly that.”
“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man. And I don’t want young people to feel the same way that I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.”
Thorpe said he had wanted to come out for a long time, but “didn’t feel as though I could”.
“What happened was I felt the lie had become so big that I didn’t want people to question my integrity,” he said.
“And, you know, a little bit of ego comes into this. I didn’t want people to question that… have I lied about everything?”
“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man. And I don’t want young people to feel the same way that I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.
“I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends. I’m pleased to say that in telling them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and they support me.
“And for young people out there, know that that’s usually what the answer is.”
Thorpe said although he does not feel like people had a right to ask questions about his sexuality, he feels his life would have been much easier if he had been honest from the start.
“People will criticise me, some people won’t like the idea, other people may applaud me for it. But it’s… it’s me,” he said.