Gareth Thomas: I previously took part in anti-gay jokes and prayed rugby could turn me straight

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Former Wales rugby star Gareth Thomas has revealed that he once took part in homophobic jokes with teammates in a bid to hide his sexuality.

The 38-year-old came out in 2009 but has admitted that he tried to “get rid” of his feelings and that he prayed the sport would turn him straight.

“For me, rugby was a great way of hiding it,” the Daily Star quotes Thomas as saying. “I’d even join in with homophobic changing room banter.

“I had a lot of anger because I didn’t like who I was when I was off the field.

“I used to relish the chance to try and hurt somebody in a legal way, and in the game of rugby you were able to do that.

“There have been games I’ve played when I’ve just felt uncontrollable.”

Thomas, who is currently competing on ITV reality show Dancing On Ice, continued: “If I hadn’t had the rugby field to get rid of my aggression I would have been locked up a long time ago. By hurting people and being aggressive on the pitch, I was seen as a tough guy. And if you’re known as a tough guy it means you’re not gay.”

In a Channel 5 documentary tonight, the former Wales skipper returns to his family home in Bridgend and visits a spot where he ­regularly considered suicide.

“During my worst times, I’d come here every day with the thought that I was going to kill myself. I hated being Gareth Thomas. I hated the man I saw in the mirror. I hated it so much I wanted to die.”

In December, Thomas said that he and actor Mickey Rourke had become very close, as the film star prepares to play him in a biopic about the ex-rugby player’s life.

My Secret Past: Gar­eth Thomas ­Coming Out is on Channel 5 at 10pm tonight.