Kelly Holmes feared girlfriends would force her to come out as gay: ‘I couldn’t do it’
Kelly Holmes said she was afraid to get into serious relationships with women while in the closet.
The Olympic champion, now 52, came out as a lesbian in June this year and has since been vocal about her life-long struggles with her sexuality, especially when it came to being in the military.
She was appearing on Loose Women when the topic turned to whether you can be too in love.
Holmes admitted: “I’ve had different circumstances as I wasn’t out, so my relationships have been… I didn’t know how to meet people or how I would ever meet a gay woman as I couldn’t publicly do it.
“I would circumstantially meet people through friends and convince myself they’re right as I didn’t want to be lonely.
“And then I would think: ‘Nah, no way. I would think if I got too attached they would want us to go public.”
Before becoming an Olympic athlete, Kelly Holmes was in the army.
When she came out earlier this year, she explained how she was terrified of being outed while serving, due to the pre-2000 military ban on LGBTQ+ soldiers.
She told the Sunday Mirror that she first realised she was gay at 17 when a female soldier kissed her, but it had taken her 34 years to feel confident enough to come out.
“I needed to do this now, for me,” she said at the time. “Sometimes I cry with relief. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.”
On Instagram, she wrote: “I can finally breathe. Yes I have been petrified of putting this out – you have no idea.”
Her coming out was linked with the release of an ITV documentary sharing her journey with her sexuality, Kelly Holmes: Being Me, in which she spoke about her experiences with the military.
During her time serving she pursued relationships with other women, but lived in fear of being caught.
Holmes explained how the Royal Military Police would search her accommodation.
“They pulled everything out of your cupboard, turned out the beds and drawers, read letters – everything – trying to catch us out, so we could be arrested, court-martialled and potentially go to jail,” she said.
“It’s humiliating, it’s degrading – it feels disrespectful when you’re serving your country and you’re doing a good job. You feel violated, treated like you’re some massive villain.
“Those moments stuck with me because I didn’t want to lose my job, I loved it. But I felt the law was wrong.”
Kelly Holmes has confirmed she is now in a long-term relationship but has kept the details private. In June, she told Sunday Mirror: “It’s the first time I’ve had someone who I don’t introduce as a PA or friend.”
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