Olympic Gold Medalist Ian Thorpe Set To Finally Come Out On Australian TV

ThorpeHeaderYears 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:

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #channel10 #comingout #gay stories and more


  • Xzamilloh

    Okay… WHO?

  • Uppity

    When I first heard the news I thought, about time, good for him. But then I heard he’s getting paid half a million dollars for the interview and it reminded me that basically, he never came out because he didn’t want to lose sponsorship deals. So he dug himself into a hole and denied his sexuality for so long that it became much more difficult to come out. And now he does come out .. for half a million bucks. I guess it’s his retirement fund. I’m glad he’s out but he was essentially the architect of his own misery all those years, and he’s still ruled by the dollar.

  • andy0529

    I don’t blame him, little sick of the Perez Hilton’s of the world profiting because someone famous doesn’t want YOU in their bedroom. Has Anderson Cooper’s or Matt Boomer’s coming out benefited you or anybody you know life?

  • Billy Budd

    At least now he will be able to date men without having to hide himself. Will be good for his mental health.

  • Billy Budd

    I also want to add that he looked VERY depressed in that clip. He looked clinically depressed. I’ve had depression, and I know what it looks like. It takes one to know one.

  • tardis

    I hope he’s more happier. I’m interested to hear why he stay closeted and denied his sexuality so much.

  • Billy Budd

    @tardis: Mostly because of money. Aside from his swimsuit sponsor Adidas, Thorpe was sponsored by Australian corporate giants such as Qantas, Telstra, and the Seven Network. These companies do NOT want a gay hero. They want a straight hero.

  • justSomeGuyFromNJ

    I feel bad for him for all the torture he suffered from the media, hounding him to come out. I never agreed with forcing people out of the closet (unless they’re working actively against our community).

    From what I’ve read about him, he suffers horribly from severe depression (most undoubtedly in part from feeling like he had to stay closeted) and it just sounds like the poor guy’s had a rough time of it.

    With that said, I’m very happy for him and wish him nothing but the best. :)

  • Bjarne Henriksen

    I’m glad he can eventually overcome his demons and start to live a “normal” life… soon, hopefully, gay sport stars won’t have to hide their sexuality from the media and not fear sponsor rejection.
    And when are we going to stop using the word “admitting” to being gay?? FFS, is it a crime?

  • tdnte

    Complete and utter twat. Look at his homophobic language. He wanted the almighty dollar. No hero.

  • Lefty

    It’s a filthy lie!
    Thorpey should sue!!!
    What business is it of ours what he…
    So proud of you right now, Thorpey!
    Welcome to the family!
    You’ll be so much happier now that… [continues into the night with nauseating platitudes and self-righteous pomposity]

  • blackberry finn

    Thorpe should not be criticized if his bread and butter relied on maintaning a straight image. If that’s the case, the problem is systemic not only personal. The fact he was dating men all along shows that he at least was not in denial to himself, and as far as I know, he never made an anti-gay statement per se. It’s unfortunate that he had to live with that contradiction but now the situation has changed. My only worry is that his perception of himself as a gay man may still be negative. That’s really where his focus should be now.

  • tjr101

    For such an advanced nation Australia is still a virulently homophobic society. Their Prime Minister is a conservative dolt much in the same vane as George W Bush. There is no recognition of same-sex marriage anywhere in the country. While they’re great at sports, it remains a very machismo atmosphere. Ian Thorpe was basically the greatest swimmer ever before Michael Phelps came on the scene. I’m glad he came out, he looks very tortured and older than his age in the clip.

  • Lvng1tor

    “Thorpe was reportedly paid $400,000 for the interview, which was made part of his deal to work as a commentator for the Commonwealth Games for Channel Ten.
    Thorpe, who made a failed bid for selection for the 2012 Olympics, spoke of his ongoing problems with a shoulder infection and revealed that it may stop him from ever swimming again.
    “I may not be able to lift my arm above my head … which would mean that I would never swim again,” he said, relaying a conversation with his doctor.”

    I don’t blame the guy….cash that check….just don’t expect me at the parade of “maybe if I kiss this celebrities ass he’ll fuck me….” Gay as a Career move…no judgement just fact.

    Read more:

  • Cam

    @andy0529: said… “I don’t blame him, little sick of the Perez Hilton’s of the world profiting because someone famous doesn’t want YOU in their bedroom. Has Anderson Cooper’s or Matt Boomer’s coming out benefited you or anybody you know life?”

    What a pathetic comment? So basically Matt Bomer and Anderson Cooper should have stayed in the closet?

    And either you are a bigot or a self hater if you think that revealing you are gay is akin to discussing in detail what goes on in a bedroom. Did Anderson Cooper talk about being a top or bottom or what lube he uses? No, he did the EXACT same thing that a guy proposing to a woman does….announces their sexuality. As for who it helped. Gee, why don’t you go ask a bunch of Australian gays if having their national hero come out of the closet when they were 12, 13, 14, etc… would have made them a little less depressed, a little less unsure of themselves etc…

  • cformusic

    good for thorpe..hopefully this will help with his depression

  • enlightenone

    @Uppity: Glad you said it, since I’m often accused of not being “empathetic” and “insensitive” or outright don’t know what I’m talking about! This is what I posted on Huff Post:

    No, they did not have to deny what they are, they chose to! An honest headline should read “I Created an Elaborate Lie About What I Was, Not a Healthy Thing to Do. I am Gay!” This will help stop the vicious cycle of shame that for too many results in mental and physical health problems and for some suicide. Not to mention how “denials” confuses so many and leaves the door open for so much abuse and violence against same-sex oriented people around the world. Yes, it’s a hard thing to have to say since I will be accused of not being empathic (though I was, and so many others, were 14 year old gay kids at a time when the “DSM” diagnosed gay people as being mentally disordered and gay people couldn’t be teachers because they were seen as pedophiles, etc., etc., etc.) but it cannot be denied!

  • enlightenone

    @Bjarne Henriksen: I agree! But in his case it was “necessary” since he insisted in so many ways that he was “straight,” even going as far as to say he was “offended” that someone would accuse/say he was gay. (See the Huff Post article!)

  • seaguy

    It’s sad that someone in a developed country like Australia would think the closet is a better place than being out.

    Why is that clip 7:55 long but only 30 something seconds of actual video and sound?

Comments are closed.