Years of speculation and self-denial have forced Olympic legend and gold medalist Ian Thorpe to confront rumors about his sexual orientation head-on this week in an interview with Michael Parkinson on Australia’s Channel 10.
Though the interview has yet to air, Australia’s Daily Telegraph is already confirming that it includes a full admission that 31-year-old retired athlete is, in fact, gay. The interview will also reportedly confront Thorpe’s battle with depression, a condition he has long believed was brought on by the media’s incessant speculation about his perceived gayness.
In 2009, after photos of he and a presumed boyfriend surfaced online, Thorpe told the Australian media that he was “offended” by rumors that he was gay, and that they were designed to “pull [him] down from the top.”
Thorpe continued to denounce his gayness even after fellow Australian Olympian Matthew Mitcham came out in 2008. In his 2012 autobiography, he wrote: “That’s the only part I find hurtful, that this is something I would be embarrassed about and that I would hide.”
The highly-anticipated interview will definitively set the record straight — er… gay. In the first 25-second preview clip released by Channel 10, Parkinson is seen asking the million-dollar question bluntly: “You’ve always said that you’re not gay…is all of that true?”
“Ian Thorpe has always been near the top of my list to interview,” Parkinson said in a statement. “His fight against depression offers a unique insight into the darker side of celebrity and success.”
Watch Thorpe react to the “gay question,” perhaps for the final time, below: