Bake Off winner David Atherton opens up about decision to come out as gay at the age of 29

David Atherton

The Great British Bake Off winner David Atherton has opened up about his decision to come out as gay at the age of 29.

Atherton was crowned Bake Off champion last month, having wowed judges from the very first week with his colourful ‘Snakey Bakey Cake‘. He went on to deliver some of the most impressive showstopper bakes of the competition.

The 36-year-old health advisor also won over gay Twitter when he revealed his Bulgarian partner Nik, who ran over to congratulate him with a kiss when he was announced as the winner.

But he hasn’t always been so open. Atherton was raised was one of seven children in an evangelical Christian family, which he says led to a lot of shame about his sexuality.

“[Homosexuality] wasn’t really talked about but I knew that it was seen as a very negative thing,” he told Attitude. “All my friends were Christians and there was never a day that went by where I didn’t hear a very hurtful thing said referring to LGBTQ people.”


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He remained in the closet until his late 20s, keeping himself busy with his work delivering healthcare programmes in Africa so that he didn’t have to stop and think about his sexuality.

“So that means for certain things I’m an overachiever, but I definitely haven’t achieved as much on the emotional side,” he admitted. “That’s been quite tough. But it’s been good therapy to think about that and to challenge it.”

But eventually he reached “a tipping point” where he could no longer lie to himself and others around him.

“I realised that I hadn’t been brave, and I needed to take that step,” he said.

“I’d found it easy to come out to people I’d just met because they didn’t know my history, but I worried that other people would think I’d been living a lie, and that I’m not the person they knew. It got to a tipping point where I thought ‘No, I can’t live a lie any more.'”

Nik was the first partner Atherton ever introduced to his parents, and the pair now live happily together in London.