Olympic diver and British hero Tom Daley told the world on Monday that he's in a relationship with a man, ending (sort of) months of speculation among his fans, both gay and straight.
The 19-year-old won a Bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics, winning a devoted following not just in England, but around the globe. In a YouTube video, posted earlier today, Daley said, "In spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone," adding, "That someone is a guy."
Daley added that he "still fanc[ies] girls," has dated women in the past, and that he doesn't think details of his relationships should be a "big deal." So here's why Daley, who characterized his current relationship as his first serious one, said he decided to come out. "In an ideal world I wouldn't be doing this video, because it shouldn't matter" he said, adding, "but recently I was misquoted in an interview and it made me feel really angry and frustrated." That article is probably this Daily Mirror piece from September, which led with Daley saying "I think it’s funny when people say I’m gay... I laugh it off...I’m not. But even if I was, I wouldn’t be ashamed." Here's his longer quote, aimed at correcting the record:
One thing I've never felt that comfortable talking about are my relationships. It's what I get asked, even if I'm doing sporting interviews, it's: 'Do you have a girlfriend? Who are you seeing?' All that kind of stuff. I've been dating girls and I've never really had a serious relationship to talk about and now I feel ready to talk about my relationships. Come spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe, and everything just feels great. And, well, that someone is a guy. And it did take me by surprise a little bit. It was always in the back of my head that something like that could happen but it wasn't until spring this year that something just clicked. It felt right. Like I said, my whole world just changed there and then. Of course I still fancy girls but, I mean, right now I'm dating a guy and I couldn't be happier. It feels safe and it really does feel right.
Daley, or rather GIFS of an often shirtless Daley, have a pretty solid presence on gay Tumblr, leading some male fans to enter a (premature!) period of mourning following the Mirror piece. The diver, who is aiming to compete again in Rio in 2016, said that the reaction to the news from his family had been "mixed." He added that his mother was "very supportive" of his current relationship.