'I think I can be happy now': Dame Kelly Holmes on her decision to come out as gay

Kelly Holmes gives a tearful interview to ITV's This Morning after coming out over the weekend

Dame Kelly Holmes hopes being open about her sexuality will bring contentment to her life as she admitted: “I don’t feel I have ever been happy.” Holmes, 52, who won Olympic gold in the women’s 800 and 1500 metres at the 2004 Games in Athens, says she feels as though she is finally “releasing herself” after coming out as gay over the weekend. In an interview with ITV’s This Morning programme, a tearful Holmes said she had previously self-harmed and had suicidal thoughts.

“I’ve been in a bad way a lot and in 2020 I had a really bad breakdown. I knew if I couldn’t release it, then I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I had to (come out)," she said. “The responses are really helping me, but it’s that relief and that final thing of releasing myself to have my life. I can honestly say I don’t feel I have ever been happy.” This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield, who came out on the show last year, asked Holmes if she thought she could be happy now, and she replied: “Yes.”

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She told This Morning that being in the military, where homosexuality was banned until 2000, made coming out even more difficult.

Holmes said: “People were tipped off, the Royal Military Police would come into your barracks and literally turn everything upside down, take everything out, you’d be left with your belongings laying around. They were trying to find any evidence you might be (gay). “If you got tipped off… you’d put everything into a box that was anything to do with your sexuality, and hide it in the boot of a car because you don’t want to risk being court marshalled.”

The double Olympic champion said she feared repercussions from the army. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Images

Social media has been flooded with support for the Olympic champion since she came out in the Sunday Mirror over the weekend.

Holmes told the newspaper she realised she was gay at the age of 17 after kissing a fellow female soldier, and that her family and friends have known since 1997.

Holmes talks to LGBTQ+ soldiers about their lives in the military, and discusses her own experiencing in Being Me, an ITV documentary airing on Sunday.