The Chase star Paul Sinha opens up about being forced to come out to his mum: ‘It didn’t land well’

Paul Sinha in a blue suit and shirt standing in front of a blue and purple background.

Paul Sinha, the stand-up comedian and fan favourite “chaser” on ITV’s The Chase, has spoken about how he was forced out of the closet by a prank caller.

The 53-year-old star became a household name when he joined the game show in 2011, and has routinely been called The Chase’s “best chaser” by fans. Some even lovingly refer to him as “The Sinnerman”.

However, many fans weren’t aware of his sexuality until he used “he” and “him” pronouns to refer to an ex-partner while bantering with the show’s host Bradley Walsh.

While Sinha is now married to his Oliver Levy, he revealed that his journey with his sexuality wasn’t always easy – and coming out to his parents was particularly turbulent.

Speaking to TV presenter Kate Thornton on her podcast White Wine Question Time, he shared the story of someone telling his mum that he was gay as part of a “boozy prank”.

Sinha explained: “I came out to my mum because somebody at a house party at our house rang my mum from our phone and said, ‘Your son’s gay’, and put the phone down. That is how she found out.”

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The incident occurred when he was 24, and although he reassured Thornton that he laughs about it in his comedy routines now, he revealed that it was “pretty stressful” to deal with at the time. 

“It didn’t land well, the news. I laugh about it now and obviously with comedy you write about the darkness as well as the light, so I’ve written material about it and got laughs out of it. But it was a pretty stressful time to be alive, to be honest,” he said.

Paul Sinha and his partner Oliver Levy wear suits on a red carpet.
Paul Sinha (L) married Oliver Levy in 2019. (Getty/Shane Anthony Sinclair)

The chaser admitted that while he was somewhat relieved that at least “somebody said it”, he felt it was “a bit early” in his life for him to have to share it with his mother.

Although he was forced out to his mum in 1994, it wasn’t until he was 35, 11 years later, that he came out to his father.

Speaking to TV host Clive Anderson on the My Seven Wonders podcast in 2021, Sinha revealed that he wasn’t sure what his life would be like once he’d told his dad the news.

“Things have certainly moved on, there’s no doubt that coming out to my dad was the fulcrum of everything that’s happened in my life,” he said.

“When you grow up in a relatively conservative Bengali family, and you know there’s no chance you’re ever not going to be gay, this moment has to come at some stage and you don’t know how life is going to pan out.”

His dad, it turned out, was “very pragmatic, positive and supportive” because he’d already “kind of guessed” Sinha’s news.

“If I’d come out to him in 1994, I don’t know whether he’d have been the same, we’ll never know.

“There’s an element of maybe I was right to leave it until 2005 in terms of the progress in society and the different way people look at sexuality, maybe he needed to wait. My mum never got that option.”

Sinha married Levy in 2019, just months after the TV star revealed that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

In a moving blog post about the wedding ceremony, he said: “I [didn’t think] about my Parkinson’s once. All I thought was how lucky I was to have lived a life where my friends and family are amazing.”