Gareth Thomas: I hung out in London gay pubs with Mickey Rourke

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Gay former rugby star, Gareth Thomas, has said that he and actor, Mickey Rourke, have become very close, including going to gay bars, and sharing secrets, as the film star prepares to play him in a biopic about his life.

The 60-year-old actor had reportedly pulled out of playing retired rugby player, Gareth Thomas, in a biopic about his life, but the the Daily Star reported that the pair have reportedly been going out in gay bars, to help the actor “get in his mind”, ahead of the film.

Mr Thomas, who is set to appear on ITV series, Dancing on Ice, in 2013, said he and Mr Rourke had hung out in gay pubs in “bonding sessions”, and said: “I’ve become so close with Mickey.”

He went on to say that he had travelled to the Los Angeles to stay with the method actor, who filled his home with large pictures of the rugby star to help prepare him for the upcoming film. He continued:

“I stayed with Mickey for a few weeks in his house. I walked into his living room and he had 10ft framed pictures of me all over his walls,

“It was so strange. If he wasn’t playing me in the film I would have been a bit freaked out but he said he wants to get into my mind.”

As well as going to visit Mr Rourke in the US, Mr Thomas said the pair went out to gay bars in London: “When he was in London I took him out to some gay bars in Soho.

“We planned to go gay clubbing but we didn’t want to get pictured going out. We just wanted to go out and have fun and let him experience a gay club.”

The former Wales Rugby captain came out as gay in an emotional interview in 2009. He remains one of just a handful of openly gay sportsmen.

Mr Thomas said that coming out was one of the best things he’d done, and he appreciated his newfound celebrity status, as it afforded him the opportunity to raise awareness about LGBT issues.
He said: “It wasn’t coming out that was important, it was what I did afterwards that mattered,

“I wanted to carry on playing rugby to show others it was possible to be gay and a professional sports star.

“Not only am I much happier being honest and open, it has also opened the door to so many amazing opportunities.”

Mickey Rourke has been rumoured to have been in training with the rugby star for some time, and had said “it takes a lot of courage” for a sportsman of his level to have come out as gay.