Rylan Clark was left with a fractured skull after brutal homophobic attack

Rylan has spoken openly about how he would "pray he wouldn't wake up" after his marriage ended. (Getty)

TV host Rylan Clark has opened up about experiencing a horrific homophobic attack as a teenager that left him with a fractured skull.

Though Rylan Clark, real name Ross Clark, has become a national treasure and TV mainstay following his appearances on This Morning, Celebrity Big Brother and Eurovision, his journey to the top was a rollercoaster.

The 35-year-old out gay star recently shared that he had to wade through a wave of homophobic abuse from the public when he first shot to fame as a contestant on The X Factor in 2012. He’s even spoken out about a hotel worker who once threatened to “slice his neck”.

Yet sadly, it sounds as though the host of the 2023 PinkNews Awards had sadly already become accustomed to experiencing vile attacks on his sexuality.

In his new discovery+ documentary Rylan: Football, Homophobia and Me, which sees the West Ham devotee explore why there are no out gay Premier League players, Rylan explained that he had to deal with a “fair share of s**t thrown” at him as a young, gay football fan.

@pinknews

We spoke to #Rylan about his new documentary ‘Football, Homophobia and Me’, which takes a look at the apalling changing room culture and homophobic fan behaviour that so many #LGBTQ football fans, players, and mangers alike have experienced. In the documentary, Rylan reflects on his life growing up as a gay man who loves football, exploring how the community manages to bring so many people together yet also isolates, with there being so many homophobic crimes committed. The documentary will be airing tonight (Tuesday 13 Feb) at 10:45pm on TNT Sports 1 and is available to stream on discovery+. #footballtiktok #football #rylanclark #endhomophobia

♬ Epic Music(863502) – Draganov89

Sometimes, he was bombarded with verbal insults.

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“I just remember, growing up, that even if I went and played football with all the lads, they’d be like ‘gay boy’,” he said in the documentary.

Other times, though, things got violent. In one particularly vicious incident, a group of boys kicked his head so aggressively that it fractured his skull.

“There was this group of boys who weren’t our friends, and they weren’t very nice… I remember, just this hand coming on the back of my head, throwing me down to the floor from the platform, and just getting kicked in the head,” he explained.

“And the next full memory I have is being in the back of an ambulance, and waking up right here, driving past my house on the way to the hospital. 

“I remember saying, ‘I live there, that’s my house,’ because I didn’t know what was going on, and the doctor said, ‘lay down, lay down, your head is bleeding.’

“My skull was fractured in a couple of places. I was told my head was repeatedly kicked and stamped on.”

Rylan at the PinkNews Awards 2023
Rylan at the PinkNews Awards 2023, sponsored by Lloyds Bank. (PinkNews)

Despite the attack leaving with him a severe injury, the TEN: The Decade That Changed My Future author went on to admit that he was almost thankful that it happened.

“Actually, in a sick way, I’m almost glad it happened to me… because it taught me to never make people feel like s**t,” he revealed.

“Part of my success is I always go out of my way to make people feel good. I sometimes worry too much about what people think about me.

“That’s probably a good thing and a bad thing that’s come out of that.”

Rylan: Football, Homophobia and Me is available to stream on discovery+.

If you have been affected by homophobic violence or abuse, the UK’s National LGBT+ Abuse and Violence Helpline, ran by Galop, is available Monday to Thursday (10am to 4:30pm) and Friday (10am to 4pm) on 0800 888 5428 and at galop.org.uk.

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