Dame Kelly Holmes' documentary viewers in tears after she comes out

‘It’s time for you to live your life now as you want to’: Dame Kelly Holmes heaped with praise and hailed as an ‘inspiration’ by documentary viewers after coming out as gay

  • Dame Kelly Holmes was hailed as an ‘inspiration’ after viewers were moved to tears while watching her ITV documentary Being Me on Sunday night
  • The Olympic champion, 52, said she was ‘just trying to free myself’ after suffering decades of mental and emotional torture as she came out as gay at the start of the programme, having hidden her sexuality for over 30 years
  • Athlete Dame Kelly lived in fear of her true self being exposed after joining the British Army at the age of 18 as the forces had a ban on LGBTQ+ soldiers, which was only lifted in 2000, with the sportswoman terrified she would be ordered to leave 
  • An emotional and visibly nervous Dame Kelly came out at the start of her documentary, saying: ‘I think there comes a time in life when you’ve need to live your life and be who you want to be. Mine’s now’ 

Dame Kelly Holmes was hailed as an ‘inspiration’ after viewers were moved to tears while watching her ITV documentary Being Me on Sunday night.

The Olympic champion, 52, said she was ‘just trying to free myself’ after suffering decades of mental and emotional torture as she came out as gay at the start of the programme, having hidden her sexuality for over 30 years.

Athlete Dame Kelly lived in fear of her true self being exposed after joining the British Army at the age of 18 as the forces had a ban on LGBTQ+ soldiers, which was only lifted in 2000, with the sportswoman terrified she would be ordered to leave.

Moving: Dame Kelly Holmes, 52, was hailed as an ‘inspiration’ after viewers were moved to tears while watching her ITV documentary Being Me on Sunday night

An emotional and visibly nervous Dame Kelly came out at the start of her documentary, saying: ‘I think there comes a time in life when you’ve need to live your life and be who you want to be. Mine’s now.’

She continued: ‘I want people to know, directly from me, that I’m a gay woman but I’ve been unable to live my life authentically.

‘I feel like I’ve been trapped. It just weighs down on you every day. It puts a barrier up.

Tearful: The Olympic champion said she was ‘just trying to free myself’ after suffering decades of mental and emotional torture as she came out as gay at the start of the programme

‘It puts this block, a wall, and then people don’t get to know the real you and I don’t want to live my life like that anymore.

‘I’m just trying to free myself.’ 

Dame Kelly was overwhelmingly heaped with praise on social media as the ITV audience watched her tell her story throughout the documentary.

Impressed: Dame Kelly was overwhelmingly heaped with praise on social media as the ITV audience watched her tell her story throughout the documentary

Taking to Twitter to share some heartfelt words, one viewer wrote: ‘Watching the documentary about Dame Kelly Holmes #beingme unbelievable that just so recently she had to hide her individuality and risk being locked up and thrown out of the armed services and we might have lost one of our greatest athletes. Such an inspiring woman.’

Another viewer tweeted: ‘Well done Kelly for coming out and a brilliant documentary. Of course, it is totally understandable why you were scared to come out in the Army. Hope you can feel the love from the LGBTQ+ family.’ 

‘Just be you, it’s time for you to live your own life now as you want to live it, don’t worry about what other people think, nobody will be judging you. Well done amazing,’ offered another person.

Compassion: Another viewer tweeted: ‘Well done Kelly for coming out and a brilliant documentary. Of course, it is totally understandable why you were scared to come out’

While someone else shared: ‘Watching Dame Kelly Holmes. What a woman, you are an inspiration to all gay people, never be ashamed, we are all born to be what we are.’

‘Its so sad when people are unable to live their true life,’ wrote another audience member. ‘I hope you receive nothing but positive responses to the documentary. It’s not for others to control your life. Good luck x.’

While someone else posted: ‘Watching Kelly Holmes: Being Me. She’s a local girl and does loads for the community. It’s such a powerful programme. Can’t imagine having to spend decades hiding who you really are from so many people and being frightened of being outed. It’s terribly sad.’

Lauded: Someone else shared: ‘Watching Dame Kelly Holmes. What a woman, you are an inspiration to all gay people’

Another moved fan wrote: ‘What a beautiful inspirational woman you are Kelly. So sorry it took you so long to be yourself. I am crying with you watching your documentary. I wish you all the love and luck in the world and you have a special person to share your love with.’

‘Watching your documentary. Brave, inspirational. Much respect. So sorry you had to experience such fear about being yourself,’ wrote another viewer.

One other person added: ‘What an inspiration brave and beautiful soul, this woman is! People shouldn’t feel terrified to come out, she is loved by many , and I hope this brings hope to others.’

New show: Kelly Holmes: Being Me – the documentary shows the Olympic champion reveal her mental health struggles as a result of hiding her sexuality

Tough: One scene shows Kelly in a room decorated with her winning newspaper articles, medals and successes – as she solemnly stands in front of the collection

While someone else shared: ‘Congratulations #kellyholmes Seems incredible to someone who has never had to live life under a cloak of invisibility just how damaging and hard this has been for you. We have all be so proud of you as an athlete and are even more so now.’ 

The one-off documentary introduced those closest to the runner, and saw her discuss personal topics that she has never publicly spoken about before.

One scene saw the Olympian admit she ‘lost the plot’ when her mother Pam Norman died in 2017, adding that her mum would be ‘so proud’ that she is finally speaking out on her sexuality.

Opening up: The one-off documentary introduces those closest to the runner, and sees her discuss personal topics that she has never publicly spoken about before

Dame Kelly had come out to her mother and she explained that ‘she wanted me to always be me and I just couldn’t.’

She added: ‘It’s consuming my life all the time, this worry and fear, which has been since I’ve been a kid’.

Dame Kelly publicly came out as gay earlier this month.

Candid: In a clip from the documentary, the Olympian admits she ‘lost the plot’ when her mother Pam Norman died in 2017, adding that her mum would be ‘so proud’ that she is finally speaking out on her sexuality

Strong bond: Dame Kelly shared emotional memories of her late mother  Pam Norman in the new documentary (pictured together in 2005)

The Olympic runner has spoke about her sexuality for the first time as she declared she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life.

The athletics star admitted she was ‘fully aware’ of rumours about her sexual orientation but is now happy to be coming out ‘on her own terms’.

Speaking to the Mirror, she said: ‘There have been lots of dark times where I wished I could scream that I am gay – but I couldn’t.’

Speaking out: Dame Kelly Holmes has publicly come out as gay (pictured this year)

‘I needed to do this now, for me. It was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement. Sometimes I cry with relief. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.’

Dame Kelly confirmed she has a partner but didn’t want to give any further details, admitting it is the first time she hasn’t introduced someone as a ‘friend or PA’.

She explained how her family and close friends have known for years she is gay but she worried about being in trouble for breaching retrospective rules in the Forces.

‘Finally free’! The Olympic runner has spoken about her sexuality for the first time as she declared she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life (pictured 2004)

At the time, the forces had a ban on LGBT soldiers, which was only lifted in 2000. Kelly had relationships with other women during her 10 years in service.

Kelly, who chose to come out during Pride month, told how she first realised she was gay when she kissed another female soldier at the age of 17. 

After the kiss, Kelly recalled writing to her stepdad who she shares a close relationship with to explain what had happened.

Smiling again: The athletics star admitted she was ‘fully aware’ of rumours about her sexual orientation but is now happy to be coming out ‘on her own terms’

Career: Kelly said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics

She was ‘confused and scared’ but Kelly revealed her stepfather accepted her straight away before coming out to the rest of her family in 1997.

Touching on her previous relationships with women, she said: ‘No disrespect to them, but the relationships have only been a small part of my life.

‘They haven’t been in this fearful world with me for 34 years.’

Kelly, who was made a Dame in 2005, said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics.

Being me! The TV personality, who is currently working on a documentary called Being Me, admitted she kept her true identity hidden for years and experienced episodes of self-harm has she struggled to cope (pictured in 2020)

And even her massive achievement of winning gold at the 800 and 1,500 metres at Athens were ruined due to her fears of being outed.

The TV personality, who is currently working on a documentary called Being Me, admitted she kept her true identity hidden for years and experienced episodes of self-harm has she struggled to cope.

Kelly confessed that even as she celebrated her gold medal in the 800 and 1,500 metres at the Athens Olympics she feared being outed as her fame hit new heights.

Historic: Kelly, who chose to come out during Pride month, told how she first realised she was gay when she kissed another female soldier at the age of 17 (pictured during her time in the Army)

Before the 2003 World Championship finals, Kelly said she hit an all time low and self-harmed, recalling how she had ‘no control’ over herself.

Kelly didn’t ask for any support at the time out of fear she would be dropped from the Olympic team.

In 2018, Kelly was made an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment, which she viewed as another barrier for her coming out.

After suffering a breakdown in 2020, she made a call to a LGBTQ+ leader to question if she could still face repercussions over her Army relationships.

When she was reassured that she wouldn’t get in any trouble with the Forces, Kelly revealed she felt like she could ‘breathe again’.

Her documentary will see Kelly speak to LGBTQ+ soldiers and she said she was ‘gobsmacked’ about how much the Army has changed since her time serving.

She said she talking to some young people in the Forces for the documentary who weren’t even aware of the ban. 

Army: Dame Kelly in her Colonel role at Trooping the Colour

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