Mark Foster gives first TV interview since coming out

Mayer Nissim
Photo credit: ITV

From Digital Spy

BBC Sport pundit Mark Foster has given his first TV interview since coming out as gay in a newspaper interview earlier this week.

The former world champion swimmer appeared on ITV's Loose Women today (November 30) to talk about his decision.

"If I look back, I met my first partner when I was 21 years of age, I was in a relationship for 19 years, then I met somebody else and fell in love with them for seven years," he said.

Photo credit: Jeff Spicer / Stringer / Getty Images

"To friends and family, I was out. It took me a long time to tell my mum, a couple of years anyway.

"When I went to work, which was swimming, friends there and swimming colleagues, no-one knew.

"I never shared it. I was completely Mark the swimmer there and Mark the real person when I came home."

Mark continued: "Going back to when I was a kid, being gay was wrong. Typically, you should meet a woman, get married, have kids, get a house and that's the way it worked in a sense.

"That's what you get taught. When I did meet someone and started have feelings towards men I was kind of going, 'Well, that's wrong, you shouldn't be having these feelings.'

"I had girlfriends as well when I was younger, I just kind of knew what I preferred. I just got so used to tucking things away and hiding stuff away."

Photo credit: David M. Benett / Contributor / Getty Images

He added: "You get so used to not sharing your full self with people because you're going to be vulnerable, and you're afraid of what people might think, and you're potentially afraid of what the outcome might be regarding work or other bits and pieces.

"I got used to being Mark the swimmer that stands on the block, trains really hard, breaking world records and win world championships.

"I never won the Olympics and I'm not saying had I been myself I would have won the Olympics but you just don't know.

"I was always, was I afraid of being in the limelight a little bit more? Step into the limelight, people will see a little bit more of you."

Mark also spoke about how his personal difficulties in 2017 may have contributed to the timing of his decision to publicly come out.

"Dad died in June, there was so many sorts of bits in pieces whereby I never talked about lots of stuff with him," he said.

Photo credit: Clive Rose / Getty Images

"He obviously knew and knew my partners, but there were some things I wished I had asked [for example] when mum and dad split up, what was it like for him?

"End of last year was quite a difficult time. I split from my partner and had a break. All these things were going on."

Quizzed on why he didn't come out when there were rumours of him being in a relationship with fellow swimmer Rebecca Adlington, he replied: "You don't want to be pushed."

Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm – 1.30pm on ITV.

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