Dancing on Ice contestant John Fashanu once offered gay brother £75,000 to stay in the closet

Dancing on Ice star John Fashanu (left) and his late brother Justin Fashanu

Former football star John Fashanau, who is set to appear on Dancing on Ice season 15, has had a huge family tragedy to come to terms with over the years. Back in 1998 his brother Justin Fashanau killed himself after coming out as gay.

Norwich City and Nottingham Forest star Justin Fashanu came out publicly in 1990 in an interview with The Sun newspaper, before tragically taking his own life eight years later at the age of 37.

John heavily opposed Justin’s coming out at the time, even going to the point of offering him £75,000 to keep quiet about it.

A week after Justin’s interview with The Sun, John agreed to an interview with The Voice titled: “My gay brother is an outcast.” He later described the announcement as “Hiroshima or Nagasaki on our lives”.

Why didn’t John Fashanu support his brother coming out?

John’s initial fears over Justin coming out as gay was stoked because he thought people would mistake him for his brother during a period when homophobia was rife throughout football and British society.

“I was worried that people would think it was me. John Fashanu, Justin Fashanu, J and J,” John said.

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“I was the hard man, we were hard men, Vinnie Jones, John Fashanu, Dennis Wise, we were the hard team with a macho, strong image, we had a massive following of people who loved the way we played, and suddenly my brother’s coming out and saying this?”

In 2017, John described himself as a “monster” for trying to keep Justin in the closet, and attributed the offer of money to a “lack of education”.

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John also explained he had been motivated by complicated family circumstances at the time.

“I was looking at the situation around us and my mother had cancer and was dying, and the rest of the family couldn’t understand the situation,” he said.

“We didn’t know what to do, the best thing I thought to do was to keep it quiet.”

John Fashanu has since expressed remorse for how he treated his brother Justin Fashanu after he came out

In recent years, John has spoken frequently about how he treated his brother, saying in 2020 that he still feels guilty about the situation.

“There’s not a time when he doesn’t come into my mind,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain. It was a very very sad time. You can go over it again and again, and you can pray and wish that you’d handled yourself differently, but we didn’t. What a waste.”

In 2015, John admitted that “had he come out now, it would be a different ball game.”

The Dancing on Ice star’s most recent controversy came when he said that pro-LGBT protests in Qatar around the FIFA World Cup 2022 were “inappropriate”.

“I just don’t think it’s got anything to do with football,” he told Good Morning Britain in November 2022. “If they’re going to award Qatar the opportunity, to have this wonderful opportunity for football, of course, you would like to think that everybody would adhere to the rules and regulations of the country. Simple.”

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The new series of Dancing on Ice starts 15 January on ITV at 6.30pm.

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