Kelly Holmes breaks down in This Morning interview after coming out

‘I’ve never been happy, but now I am’: Dame Kelly Holmes, 52, breaks down crying in emotional This Morning interview after coming out as gay… as she brings Phillip Schofield to tears

  • The athlete, 52, 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 Phillip with tears, she detailed her negative experiences in the army, where it was illegal for LGBTQ + people to serve until 2000
  • 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
  • Dame Kelly – whose new documentary Being Me airs on ITV on Sunday – began by saying she feels a ‘mixture of relief and apprehension’ on coming out

Dame Kelly Holmes broke down crying on Monday’s This Morning, marking her first TV appearance since coming out as gay on Sunday.

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.

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 Holmes, 52, Dame Kelly Holmes 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 – whose new documentary Kelly Holmes: Being Me airs on ITV on Sunday – 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, Pam Norman, 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. 

Alongside a photo of her stood in front of a rainbow striped butterfly, Dame Kelly penned: ‘The morning after the night before. Firstly THANK YOU – The support has been overwhelming- I actually don’t think I can take it all in and process it right now!

Strong bond: Speaking of her mum, she detailed: ‘My ‘Mother Dear’ would be so proud of my announcement’ (pictured together in 2005)

‘So here it is, the start of a new chapter in my long life book. This is an old picture when I just liked the fact that I was in black and making the body of a butterfly. 

‘It was pride month (as is this month) but nothing really to do with the rainbow. It was because the butterfly (as well as a puzzle piece) is a symbol I associate with my mother who passed away in 2017 from @myelomauk bereavement it’s hell.’

Speaking of her mum, she continued: ‘My ‘Mother Dear’ would be so proud of my announcement in the Sunday Mirror she always played me the song ‘You’re a superstar’ by love inc and wanted me to be truly me. 

‘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’

‘This announcement is part of a journey I have been on over the past 4months filming a documentary about my authentic life and how hard it has been to not be me.’ 

‘It’s emotional so get the tissues ordered!,’ she explained. 

The Olympic star concluded: ‘Lastly the documentary taught me so much about generational and social advancements when it comes to the LGBTQ+ world. 

Speaking out: The outpouring of support came after Kelly publicly came out as gay after living a ‘secret life’ for decades (pictured this year)

‘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 it helps many people on all levels.’ 

Speaking to The Mirror, Dame Kelly gushed: ‘The response has been truly overwhelming. I never ever visualised this positivity and support.

‘There’s been people from all walks of life, people who have followed me for years and new people who want to hear what I’ve got to say.

‘People have come out in their droves. I feel overwhelmed – it hasn’t sunk in.’

Smiling again: The athletics star admitted she was ‘fully aware’ of rumours about her sexual orientation but is now happy to be coming out ‘on her own terms’

The outpouring of support came after Kelly publicly came out as gay after living a ‘secret life’ for decades. 

The athletics star admitted she was ‘fully aware’ of rumours about her sexual orientation but said she was happy to be coming out ‘on her own terms’.

Speaking to the Mirror, she said: ‘There have been lots of dark times where I wished I could scream that I am gay – but I couldn’t.

‘I needed to do this now, for me. It was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement. Sometimes I cry with relief. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.’

Dame Kelly confirmed she has a partner but didn’t want to give any further details, admitting it is the first time she hasn’t introduced someone as a ‘friend or PA’.

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.

At the time, the forces had a ban on LGBTQ+ soldiers, which was only lifted in 2000. Kelly had relationships with other women during her 10 years in service.

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. 

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)

After the kiss, Kelly recalled writing to her stepdad who she shares a close relationship with to explain what had happened.

She was ‘confused and scared’ but Kelly revealed her stepfather accepted her straight away before coming out to the rest of her family in 1997.

Kelly, who was made a Dame in 2005, said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics.

And even her massive achievement of winning gold at the 800 and 1,500 metres at Athens were ruined due to her fears of being outed.

Career: Kelly said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics

The TV personality, who is currently working on a documentary called Being Me, admitted she kept her true identity hidden for years and experienced episodes of self-harm has she struggled to cope.

Kelly confessed that even as she celebrated her gold medal in the 800 and 1,500 metres at the Athens Olympics she feared being outed as her fame hit new heights.

Before the 2003 World Championship finals, Kelly said she hit an all time low and self-harmed, recalling how she had ‘no control’ over herself.

Kelly didn’t ask for any support at the time out of fear she would be dropped from the Olympic team.

In 2018, Kelly was made an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment, which she viewed as another barrier for her coming out.

Fears: In 2018, Kelly was made an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment, which she viewed as another barrier for her coming out

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