It’s been 16 months since Australian swimming champion Ian Thorpe revealed to the world he is gay.
After years of speculation surrounding his sexuality, the 33-year-old’s decision to come out certainly wasn’t an easy one, but he says it was necessary for his happiness.
“There have been times when I thought, ‘This is not what I expected’, but throughout all of it, I’ve been really happy living my life with authenticity and honesty.
“It’s not like everything’s been great because I came out, there have been ups and downs, but progressively I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable in myself, and I’m looking forward to the future, which is really nice.”
Watch Ian Thorpe come out to TV interviewer Michael Parkinson below (post continues after video).
According to the publication, while Thorpe is on the hunt for Mr Right (which he defines as someone who lives in Australia and ‘isn’t crazy’), immersing himself in the Sydney dating scene hasn’t been an easy feat.
“Dating’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be.
“It’s an absolute mess out there! I’m like, ‘Where are all the normal people?’ “I’ve never really dated, so I’ve come in being almost completely blindsided by this.
“I think if someone puts an effort into a date, then full points – it’s not like I’m a hard marker. But there are some nut cases. It’s just a bit weird.
“But that’s the dating scene – I say it and I laugh and I’ve got a smile on my face, so it’s not that bad.”
Thorpe won’t be looking for love online, though, opting to “go more old-school and meet people in real life” rather than signing up for dating apps and sites.
While he’s been on a handful of second and third dates, ‘Mr Right’ is yet to walk into his life.
“I’ve mostly met great guys but, occasionally, I’ve met a couple of douche-y guys as well. It’s enough motivation for me to want to settle down with someone away from that scene.”
Are kids on the cards? Thorpe says yes, he’s definitely got his eye on becoming a father in the future, but whether that’s as a sole parent or with a partner, only time will tell.
“I don’t see it happening in the next few years – maybe in five to 10 years,” he says.
“My preference would be to do it with someone else but, if the time comes and I haven’t met that person, I’d be willing to do it by myself as well.”
As for being one of Australia’s first high profile male athletes to come out, Thorpe hopes his actions have paved the way for other stars struggling with their own identity.
“I hope it makes it easier for whoever is the next athlete who wants to come out.”
Have you or a loved one come out recently? How has your life changed?