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20th Jun 2022

Dame Kelly Holmes and Phillip Schofield burst into tears over coming out experiences

Kieran Galpin

Pass the tissues!

Both Dame Kelly Holmes and Phillip Schofield were reduced to tears this morning after sharing their experiences with coming out.

Two-time Olympic gold champion Kelly Holmes came out yesterday to open arms; with stars like Alan Carr, Fearne Cotton and Ru Paul’s Drag Race star Baga Chipz sharing congratulatory comments and reactions to Holmes’ Instagram post.

Just a day later, the 52-year-old middle-distance athlete appeared on This Morning, where she discussed the momentous occasion with hosts Schofield, 60, and Holly Willoughby, 40.

After detailing how yesterday’s announcement didn’t seem real, mainly due to it being online, Holmes noted how “it’s really hard” and “a bit scary” to talk about her sexuality despite her years of interviews.

“I needed to talk about this for myself and my own wellbeing, and my own mental health,” she told Schofield, who quite literally sat in her seat when he came out back in 2020.

She continued: “The documentary was a way of me articulating the fear I’ve had for so many years and to allow me to have a platform to hopefully educate and inform people of the complexities of maybe being gay as well. I’ve never said that before – that I’m a gay woman – publicly on TV.

“People don’t realise how hard it is to say that word. I’m not ashamed and I’ve been it since I was 18, but it’s really hard when you’re documenting different parts of your life that you’ve had to keep inside.”

Holmes joined the British Army at the age of 17, where she would stay for almost 10 years. While grappling with the typical hurdles the Army throws at you, Holmes was also hiding her sexuality.

“You were read the rules of homosexuality in the army – that it was illegal to be gay – and yet you can’t change who you are. 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,” she explained during a conversation that saw both Holmes and Schofield share a teary moment or two.

“‘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.”

She continued: “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.

“If you got tipped off… you’d put everything into a box that wasn’t anything to do with your sexuality, into a box and hide it in the boot of a car because you don’t want to risk being court marshalled.”

Holmes realised in December 2020 that something had to change.

With tears in her eyes once more, she said: “But I became a self harmer, I didn’t want to be here frankly at some points in my life. 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 do it.”

Now she feels “relieved” and ultimately thinks she can be happy.

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