Wales Rugby Star Gareth Thomas: I’m Gay


Wales rugby legend and fullback for the Cardiff Blues Gareth Thomas has joined the few high-profile athletes who have come out of the closet during their career, telling the Daily Mail he's gay:

Thomas "I've been through all sorts of emotions with this, tears, anger and absolute despair. I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to let people know, and, to be honest, I feel anxious about people's reactions and the effect it might have on my family. It's been really tough for me, hiding who I really am, and I don't want it to be like that for the next young person who wants to play rugby, or some frightened young kid. 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. My parents, my family and my friends all love me and accept me for who I am, and even if the public are upset by this, I know the love of those people who mean the most to me will never change. I'm not going on a crusade, but I'm proud of who I am. I feel I have achieved everything I could ever possibly have hoped to achieve out of rugby, and I did it being gay. I want to send a positive message to other gay people that they can do it, too."

Much more at the Daily Mail

Former Australian rugby star Ian Roberts, who came out late in his career in 1995, told the Sun Herald: "It's great that the times have allowed for it. It's so bewildering to me that other people haven't allowed for that to happen to themselves. There are so many gay sportspeople … gay people playing league. I'm just like, 'How can you be controlled by all these other people?' It doesn't have to be a problem, as long as you don't allow it to be a problem. I think it's great … at long last someone else has done it! It's almost like, that's the breaking of the ice for me. The fact that someone else has done it, it shows that it can happen and it does happen."


  1. Mike in the Tundra says

    He really is a hot looking guy, but his public coming out makes him 10 times hotter. Reminds me of an old bumper sticker, “It takes leather balls to play rugby.”

  2. Rhys says

    People have known he was gay for years – it’s hardly an announcement; and to come out at the end of your career? Well, at least he’s done it, but it’s hardly a revelation or ground-breaking.

  3. RJ says

    @RHYS, well, geez, you just HAD to be the debbie downer here didn’t you?

    It’s a huge revelation to the world at large and quite groundbreaking. What other famous rugby star has come out, even at the end of his career, besides the aforementioned Australian Ian Roberts in 1995?

  4. sparks says

    I guess he’s hot; I mean, he’s got a killer build. Just not my type, though. But I’m over the moon for him and proud of him for having the guts to come out.

    Most people would be afraid of coming out because they’d expect it to be harder living outside the closet. He has a wonderful message for other gay athletes, in saying that he thinks it will be easier on him AFTER coming out because he can be himself.

  5. atheist says

    Rhys, i am welsh and a rugby fan (of course!) and it was news to me so I’m sure it is news to many. It’s not like he isn’t risking anything by coming out – he is. He’s only recently retired from the international game and his career is by no means over. He is still a high profile figure in rugby and a legend in wales so it is actually quite a big deal. It takes balls to do what he’s done; rugby is THE most macho sport. I cannot think of any other openly gay man in public life in the UK who dispels every gay stereotype better than Gareth; he breaks the mould and shows people once and for all that masculinity is not the exclusive preserve of the straight man. That will mean a lot to a lot of young gay men.

  6. JSE says

    I’m glad he’s out. Good for him. We need people like this because he in such a terribly phobic milieu. But he does nothing for me physically. I long ago got over the jocks-are-hot fetish society beats into us from birth. If I saw him in a bar I wouldn’t look twice. That’s not meant to be flame bait or a slam against him. Some jocks are hot, but I find brains much more sexy and interesting than the ability to follow a ball around a field or court. And far more useful toward making the world a better and more interesting place.

  7. peterparker says

    There are few things that are as much of an instant turn off for me than a guy who shaves his head or is balding. But Gareth Thomas is one of the exceptions to that rule…totally HOT! Thanks for bringing him to my attention, Andy.

  8. Chris says

    I suspect the worst problems he will face will not be with other players, he has proven himself to them, it will be with opposing team’s fans. I suspect that will be the case in all pro sports. In hockey there have been players whose sexual orientation was more or less an open secret and it didn’t cause them too much trouble with their fellow players, but it sure would have with the fans.

  9. john says

    How very sad that this is a major achievement in his life declaring who he is.Brave is hardly a description i would use.It’s about time people stopped caring about what others think & just get on with your life as the person you were born to be.Having said that,i realise the stigma,the disapproval,the hate,the lack of belief in yourself and it goes on.Walk out your door & start living YOUR life.Do it.Be proud that you’re a human being.Sexuality is not the issue.

  10. DR says

    How very sad that a majority of the comments here and on Matthew’s most recent story are debating whether or not “he’s hot”. I guess competing at the Olympic level or being a household name in the UK doesn’t mean much if he isn’t worthy to drool over. How terribly sad.

  11. Rowan says

    @ Doug Berman

    Lol indeed. If only when he was young and cute but not as successful or having being caption of the best of the best Rugby 6 nation ‘Lions’ team, like 3 years ago.

    Oh no.

    Much more impactful when he was just an up and coming cute Rugby player who would’ve prolly got more heat, instead of now, getting unanimous praise across SPORTS blogs in the UK, something that would NEVER have been done if he didn’t have a sterling and fearless repuation.


  12. Steve Kerbow says

    It’s too bad that the American Athletes don’t follow suit! We are still a young Nation compared to most and still very Puritanical in most ways! Coming out as a professional athlete here is suicide for most of the Baseball, football, soccer and hockey players! Gareth has made the right choice even after struggling with his descion over a period of time! Kudos to him and may he be an Icon for all in the closet pro althletes world wide!

  13. atheist says

    Bob, I am unlclear; Justin Fashanu came out almost 20 years ago – are you suggesting that Gareth T is going to receive the same treatment? It is very apparent from the UK press that GT is receiving tremendous support from all sides. Fashanu hanged himself because he had been charged with sexual assault by a teenager in the US where he lived at the time, not because of the reaction of football fans to his homosexuality.

  14. Bill says

    GAY IS THE WAY!!! I am completely with Ian. Finally another rugby player has come out. A few months ago I was thinking about Ian Roberts and how long it’s been since he came out and why no one else has in rugby.

    The fact is we need more forceful gay activists. Gay activist work for GAY people and need to lead on gay issues. Gay people also need to be much more supportive of gay activists and other gay people because they need it. We don’t have forceful gay activists and supportive gay people to have famous gay people come out more often.

  15. Rowan says

    @ Atheist

    Justin Fashunu died in 1998…..are you saying he came out in 1989??

    Nope. I’m British and he DIDN’T.

    And yeah, he died cause he was gay. It all started with the homophobic abuse he alwyas got in the press and on the field but here this…

    1) Fashanu was black..

    2) He also wasn’t as good a player (in football OR he didn’t reach his potential) as GT..

    3) GT was also known as an ALPHA MALE. Men wanted to BE him. Fashanu wasn’t. He was always sensitive.

    It sucks but this is human beings, as will all know from reading Towleroad comments!

  16. steve says

    If anyone needs proof that anti-gay hate speech is violence, all you have to do is read his words about the pain of being in the closet. This poor guy was tortured for so many years because of society’s bigotry. I only hope he stops apologizing to his wife soon – because it’s not his “fault” for being gay.

    And now he’s out – and a very hot man he is! Somehow I think he’s not going to be lonely.

  17. terry says

    JSE, years ago I would have argued with you vehemently on how hot jocks are. Now that I’m older personality and intelligence are more attractive to me. Not to say looks and athleticism don’t count (they always do) but I consider those pluses rather than essentials.

  18. Jon says

    Gareth Thomas, you are totally my hero. I wish I knew about someone like you when I was ten. I hope there’s a lot of kids out there who you’ll reach – even kids who don’t know much about rugby.

    Thank you.

  19. Mike in the Tundra says

    ” I only hope he stops apologizing to his wife soon – because it’s not his “fault” for being gay.”

    Steve, I think you’re wrong about that one. Of course, it’s not his fault that he’s gay, but it is his fault for marrying someone to whom he had no sexual attraction. He used her as a beard which would have been okay, if she had known all along that he was gay. Now that it is done, I rather imagine that they will both move on and find people they can feel attracted to and the feeling will be reciprocated.

    That being said, I do know a woman who has had three gay husbands (and her name is not Liza). She finally realized that she only liked gay man, and she was better off just being our friend.

  20. Travis says

    There’s nothing wrong with focusing on this man’s looks. We’re gay men, we like good looking guys. If this was a random story that featured a remotely good looking women & we were all straight guys, we’d be focusing on how hot said woman is.

    It’s all relative.
    Anyways, this guys is SEX, & he’s also very very brave.
    But most importantly, he’s sexy as hell.

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