Olympic legend Dame Kelly Holmes made headlines last week after coming out as gay at the age of 52.
The sporting icon said she realised she was gay when she was a soldier in the Women’s Royal Army Corps in 1988 at the age of 17, and kissed a female comrade.
However, for 34 years she kept that part of herself hidden, out of fear of being prosecuted, since same-sex relationships were banned from the forces.
But, Dame Kelly said the global pandemic showed her that it was time to be her ‘real self’ and express who she is, after remaining closeted led her to breakdowns and suicidal thoughts.
In the last few days, Dame Kelly has been sharing her truth more widely, ahead of her upcoming documentary, including appearances on Loose Women and This Morning.
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.
When Loose Women 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?’ 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.’
Is Dame Kelly Holmes married?
Dame Kelly is not, and has never been, married.
She also doesn’t have any children, and remains fairly private about details of her partner.
Does Dame Kelly Holmes have a partner?
Dame Kelly is in a romantic relationship, however, she remains private about sharing the ins and outs.
She spoke fondly of her partner in an interview with The Sunday Mirror, saying: ‘It’s the first time I’ve had someone who I don’t introduce as a PA or friend.’
She added that, while she means ‘no disrespect’ to previous partners, those relationships have only been ‘a small part’ of her life.
‘They haven’t been in this fearful world with me for 34 years.’
After receiving incredible support following her emotional interview, Dame Kelly took to Instagram to share details of her upcoming ITV film.
‘This announcement is part of a journey I have been on over the past four months filming a documentary about my authentic life and how hard it has been to not be me,’ she wrote.
She added that the project ‘taught me so much about generational and social advancements when it comes to the LGBTQ+ world’.
‘I have been petty oblivious and ignorant about it all but I hope one day to be an authoritative voice and also that my doc helps many people on all levels,’ she continued.
Dame Kelly also warned it’s an emotional watch ‘so get the tissues ordered!’
Kelly Holmes: Being Me airs on tonight (Sunday, June 26) at 9pm on ITV.
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