Dame Kelly Holmes has admitted she’d never told anyone in the athletics industry about her sexuality until opening up to friend Sally Gunnell, just weeks ago.
The 52-year-old Olympic champion, who first realised she was gay aged 17, shared the news last weekend in a moving interview with the Sunday Mirror.
On why she had decided to come out now, she explained she ‘needed to do this now, for me’. ‘Sometimes I cry with relief,’ she told the publication.
‘The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.’
Dame Kelly has been speaking openly about her journey with her sexuality in the days to have followed and appeared on Loose Women on Friday lunchtime.
But she shared just how quiet she kept her identity as a gay woman, and only began to start sharing her truth more widely ahead of her upcoming documentary.
Her documentary, Kelly Holmes: Being Me, which is set to air on Sunday night, is what prompted her to tell her long-term pal Sally.
Panellist Sunetra Sarker asked: ‘Were there people in the industry you confided in, that supported you along the way? What was their advice? You must have had some friends in the athletics industry, maybe?’
But Dame Kelly replied: ‘In athletics, didn’t ever speak about it. I’ve literally only told Sally Gunnell at the Jubilee.
‘I said, “I’ve got a doc coming out, I need to tell you this”.
‘I’ve known Sally since 1993, I’ve never told anyone in the sport. They may well have assumed it but had no role models myself in sport.
The Olympic champion concluded: ‘No one talked about being gay, as far as I was concerned, no one was.
Dame Kelly, who has been branded an ‘inspiration’ for sharing her story, has been blown away by the reaction since and revealed her journey has been recorded in the one-off.
Loose Women airs weekdays from 12.30pm on ITV.