“For me, coming out was the greatest thing I have ever done,” says Gareth three years on from the time when the former Wales captain broke one of the biggest taboos in sport.
The man known affectionately as Alfie retired from rugby last year after an outstanding career that saw him lead Wales to a Grand Slam in 2005, their first since 1978.
In 2010 he had become the first, and for a while only openly gay professional male athlete in the UK. Having hung up his boots in 2011, he opted for a high-profile and came third in Celebrity Big Brother in 2012 and is currently a contestant in ITV's Dancing on Ice 2013.
Now he will appear in an emotional interview on Channel 5 on Thursday 17.01. He will look back on the years before he came out and reflect on the homophobia that, as with many sportsmen, kept him in the closet for so long. The star reveals he suffered depression and even considered suicide after admitting he was gay following his break-up from wife Jemma.
Nowadays and overall, he is happy with his decision. “If I can do it, anybody can do it,” he says. “I know for sure I have helped other guys because I am always hearing it through social media and in letters. I am glad what I have done is helping other people.”
Beneath that sporting ruggedness, there is quite a story to be told, one that is being made into a movie with Mickey Rourke. Plus, there's his role as a slightly surprising fashion icon.
Christian Louboutin Alfie Flat “Black Velvet” from hypebeast.com
Whilst his career may have ensured that he doesn’t have the typical looks of a fashion model, Gareth has been cited as the inspiration for the first ever Louboutin men’s footwear boutique. As Louboutin himself put it, the 6ft 3in hunk was one of the ““key voyagers of the Louboutin male Starship Enterprise”.
Lustralboy says: "We admired him as a great rugby player. We admire him even more for speaking out and impacting the lives of many young gay people in a completely positive fashion. Don't forget: Channel 5, 10.p.m. Thursday January 17th."
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