Dame Kelly Holmes admits she 'lost the plot' when her mother died
‘She wanted me to always be me. And I just couldn’t’: Dame Kelly Holmes admits she ‘lost the plot’ when her mother died as she shares emotional memories and reveals she would be ‘so proud’ that she has come out as gay
Dame Kelly Holmes shares emotional memories of her late mother in her new documentary Being Me.
The Olympic medalist’s ITV film will air on Sunday, and will see the sportswoman, 52, reflect on her decision to come out at gay after living ‘a secret life’ for decades.
In a new clip from the documentary Dame Kelly admits she ‘lost the plot’ when her mother Pam Norman died in 2017, adding that her mum would be ‘so proud’ that she is finally speaking out on her sexuality.
Strong bond: Dame Kelly Holmes shares emotional memories of her late mother Pam Norman in her new documentary Being Me (pictured together in 2005)
The clip sees Kelly walking around a lake, a place close to her heart as she explains her mum used to go for dog walks in the beauty spot.
‘I am sitting on a bench that I had put here for my mother or mother dear, as I used to call her,’ the athlete tells the camera,
‘So, the day my mum passed away, literally changed everything. I lost the plot, basically, when she died, it was like, literally my heart ripping apart. Still feels like it.’
Dame Kelly had come out to her mother and she explains that ‘she wanted me to always be me. And I just couldn’t. It’s consuming my life all the time, this worry and fear, which has been since I’ve been a kid.’
Free: The Olympic medalist’s ITV film will air on Sunday, and will see the sportswoman, 52, reflect on her decision to come out at gay after living ‘a secret life’ for decades
The sportswoman spent time in care as a young child after concerns that her mother, who gave birth to her at the age of 17, couldn’t cope with raising a baby by herself. Dame Kelly’s dad left before she was one.
While Kelly spent periods of time in care, her mother always came back to collect her, later marrying painter and decorator Mick Holmes when Kelly was four, who she regards as her father.
While she had a close relationship with her mother, Dame Kelly admits in the documentary that her experiences in care have had a lasting impact.
‘I grew up not trusting people because my biggest memories of being in the care home was the times that my mum had to leave,’ she says.
Tears: Dame Kelly had come out to her mother and she explains that ‘she wanted me to always be me. And I just couldn’t’
‘You know, I used to literally scream the place down because I just thought she was never going to come back to get me.’
‘She wouldn’t like hearing how this has really, really been affecting me. Yeah, she’d really, really hate like how I am and how it literally destroys me. But I know, she’d be so proud of me for doing this.’
Dame Kelly broke down crying on Monday’s This Morning, marking her first TV appearance since coming out as gay on Sunday.
The athlete tragically admitted she ‘doesn’t feel she had ever been happy’ but is now able to live her life authentically after years of hiding her sexuality in fear.
Filling presenter Phillip Schofield with tears, who came out in February 2021, she detailed her negative experiences in the army, where it was illegal for LGBTQ+ people to serve until 2000.
‘I’ve never been happy but now I can’: Dame Kelly broke down crying on Monday’s This Morning, marking her first TV appearance since coming out as gay
When asked if she had ‘someone special’ in her life, Dame Kelly nodded – however she had already confirmed this over the weekend.
She told hosts Phillip and Holly Willoughby that after reaching her lowest point at the end of 2020, she knew she had to be honest with herself and others, saying, ‘I just want to live my life.’
Dame Kelly began the interview by saying she feels a ‘mixture of relief and apprehension’ on coming out.
She said, ‘When it was announced [yesterday], I was still in a bubble, still at home and to go on social media, the reaction was amazing.
Candid: Filling Phillip Schofield with tears, who came out in February 2021, she detailed her negative experiences in the army, where it was illegal for LGBTQ+ people to serve until 2000
Onwards and upwards! The athlete, 52, tragically admitted she ‘doesn’t feel she had ever been happy’ but is now able to live her life authentically after years of hiding her sexuality in fear
‘But it still felt like it wasn’t the real world and then sitting here now, it feels like the real world and it’s really hard because I’ve been having interviews for absolutely years, but this is such a big step for me to be open and honest about the true me, that it’s still a bit scary.’
Phillip explained it wasn’t that long ago that he sat in the same place and said her coming out will help her and other people, and Dame Kelly said, ‘Absolutely. I feel like that was one reason I wanted to do the documentary. If I was going to talk about… I needed to talk about this for myself and my own wellbeing, and my own mental health.
She added, ‘The documentary was a way of me articulating the fear I’ve had for so many years and to allow me to have a platform to hopefully educate and inform people of the complexities of maybe being gay as well. I’ve never said that before – that I’m a gay woman – publicly on TV.
‘People don’t realise how hard it is to say that word. I’m not ashamed and I’ve been it since I was 18, but it’s really hard when you’re documenting different parts of your life that you’ve had to keep inside.’
Historic: Kelly, who chose to come out during Pride month, told how she first realised she was gay when she kissed another female soldier at the age of 17 (pictured during her time in the Army)
Holly explained that part of the reason Dame Kelly kept her sexuality a secret was because she was in the army and until 2000, it was illegal to be gay in the army.
Dame Kelly revealed, ‘You were read the rules of homosexuality in the army – that it was illegal to be gay – and yet you can’t change who you are. So I grew up with that fear in the head because I absolutely loved being a soldier in the army. It was something that I really wanted to do.
‘I was in there for nearly 10 years and yet I couldn’t express that. It was really difficult, because there was interrogation that happened. In the documentary, I explain it a lot and I speak to people that dealt with some shocking things, but for me personally, having raids, it was scary, humiliating, embarrassing.’
She continued, ‘People were tipped off, the Royal Military Police would come into your barracks and literally turn everything upside down, take everything out, you’d be left with your belongings laying around. They were trying to find any evidence you might be.
Must watch: She spoke on the daytime programme to promote her Being Me documentary, which will air on ITV on Sunday
‘If you got tipped off… you’d put everything into a box that wasn’t anything to do with your sexuality, into a box and hide it in the boot of a car because you don’t want to risk being court marshalled.’
She added, ‘It’s a career, people fight for their country, put their lives on the line. But saying that the documentary also goes through how great it is now.
‘I’ve been so scared if anyone found out… for 34 years. It was only when I had a really bad breakdown in December 2020 that I knew I had to do something because it was so bad.’
Dame Kelly went on to explain she has talked ‘very openly’ about her mental health.
She said, ‘I’ve always been able to relate it to sport – being disappointed, having injuries and yes there was an element of that because I wanted to be an Olympic champion since 14 and it was me.’
‘I can’t process it right now!’ It comes after Kelly said she is ‘overwhelmed’ by the support she has received after coming out as gay
Getting emotional, Dame Kelly added, ‘But I became a self harmer, I didn’t want to be here frankly at some points in my life. I’ve been in a bad way a lot and in 2020 I had a really bad breakdown. I knew if I couldn’t release it, then I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I had to do it.’
Tearfully, Phillip asked her how she feels now and she replied, ‘I am relieved to finally do it, but it’s hard to unravel everything, so I know the relief will come gradually. The responses are really helping me, but it’s that relief and that final thing of releasing myself to have my life. I can honestly say I don’t feel I have ever been happy.’
Phillip asked if she thinks she can be happy now and she said, ‘Yes.’
Dame Kelly added, ‘My friends and family have been there all the time. I live my life privately, just as me… I’m more distraught they’re putting my age in all of this, I’m only 39, come on guys!’
Kelly then spoke about losing her mum and how that was the catalyst for her to change, She said, ‘ My mum passed away and it was devastating, it was almost the start of me needing to change, it ripped my heart apart and she always wanted me to just live my life… I’m here now and out of everything that I feel hurts me, I do know and I hope I have an authoritative voice to change things, to make things better, that people don’t live in fear and people live their life…’
‘Finally free’! She received an outpouring of support from both her followers and celebrities after she spoke about her sexuality for the first time (pictured 2004)
She added, ‘I had different things that was complex because of the army and being an International athlete and no-one spoke about being gay. I had both sides that were just… I had nowhere to know where to go to be who I wanted to be. Now, at the age I am now, I just want to live my life.’
It comes after Kelly said she is ‘overwhelmed’ by the support she has received after coming out as gay.
The Olympic runner took to Instagram on Sunday to thank her fans and added that her late mother would be ‘so proud’ of her for being her true self.
She received an outpouring of support from both her followers and celebrities after she spoke about her sexuality for the first time and declared that she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life.
You can watch Kelly Holmes: Being Me, Sunday 26th June, 10:20pm on ITV and catch-up on the ITV Hub
‘True self’: The Olympic star concluded: ‘I have been petty oblivious and ignorant about it all but I hope one day to be an authoritative voice’
Army: She explained how her family and close friends have known for years she is gay but she worried about being in trouble for breaching retrospective rules in the Forces (Dame Kelly in her Colonel role at Trooping the Colour)
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