Following his recent gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships, diver Tom Daley has opened up about his marriage to Dustin Lance Black and the couple’s twenty-year age gap.

The couple wed earlier this year after a four year romance. “The wedding was amazing, and you want that moment to last forever, but at the same time, it’s nice to get back to work and normality,” Tom told the Belfast Telegraph. “We’re a married couple and life goes on.”

Tom is 23 while Dustin is is 43, and much of the media conversation around their relationship has revolved around the difference in their ages. For his part, Tom, who will host this year’s Attitude Awards, doesn’t see the issue. “I don’t really think about age and we never notice the age gap. Funnily enough, I feel older in terms of maturity. I had to grow up quickly because I was only 10 when I first travelled to Australia without my parents to compete.

“In a way, I did miss out on some aspects of childhood because I had to learn to do things for myself and stand on my own two feet quite quickly, but, on the other hand, I was so lucky to be able to travel and have so many experiences.”

Tom also said that despite being only 23, he now feels old when spending time with his teammates: “Actually, when I’m with the diving squad nowadays, I feel old because basically I’m the ‘granddad’ in the team – everyone’s younger than me.”

Tom also explained how meeting Lance reinvigorated his excitement for diving. “The 2012 Olympics was such a high, but once it was over, I felt really down in the dumps,” he said. “You don’t really look beyond the event which you’ve spent four years preparing for and so there’s a bit of a comedown. At one point after it, I didn’t want to dive again.

“Meeting Lance during that period was amazing because he’s so motivated about his career and enjoys what he does so much that he helped rekindle my motivation and made me work harder. I literally fell in love with everything again and rediscovered my excitement in diving. He was exactly what I needed.”

After winning his first individual Wold Championship Gold in eight years last month, he has his sights on an Olympic gold at Tokyo in 2020, following disappointment in Rio. “It’s great. I still love diving. That disappointment at the Rio Olympics has turned into fuel for the fire to power me up to do better next time.

“I learnt a lot from that experience, am focusing on what I can do to make sure that doesn’t happen again, and feel on track to do well in the future.”

Looking to the future, he reiterated previous comments about starting a family with his husband. “Lance and I definitely want a family in the future – who knows when? We’re both lucky to have supportive families and we want to share that with our own children,” he explained.

Words by Louis Shankar