Dame Kelly Holmes hoping to finally find happiness after coming out as gay

The double Olympic champion says she suffered a breakdown in 2020.

By Press Association Published: 20 June 2022 - 11.56am

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, Holmes said: “I became a self harmer, I didn’t want to be here frankly at some points in my life.

Kelly Holmes shows off her Olympic gold medals from Athens
Kelly Holmes shows off her Olympic gold medals from Athens (Rebecca Naden/PA)

“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).

“I am relieved to finally do it, but it’s hard to unravel everything, so I know the relief will come gradually.

“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 asked Holmes if she thought she could be happy now, and she replied: “Yes.”

“You’d put everything into a box that was anything to do with your sexuality, into a box and hide it in the boot of a car.”
- Dame Kelly Holmes

Holmes’ story is told in an ITV documentary, ‘Kelly Holmes: Being Me’, which airs on Sunday.

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

“You can’t change who you are,” she said.

“So I grew up with that fear in the head because I absolutely loved being a soldier in the army. It was something that I really wanted to do.

Dame Kelly Holmes
Dame Kelly Holmes spent nearly a decade serving in the military (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“I was in there for nearly 10 years and yet I couldn’t express that. It was really difficult, because there was interrogation that happened.

“In the documentary, I explain it a lot and I speak to people that dealt with some shocking things, but for me personally, having raids, it was scary, humiliating, embarrassing.

“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.”

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