Mark Foster has opened up about what life was like for him while he was in the closet.
The BBC presenter, who's been crowned Winq Magazine's Man of the Year, came out this month following years of speculation about his sexuality.
Foster became a target in the press due to the secrecy surrounding his love life, and last year things became particularly tough for the six-time World Champion swimmer when he reports in The Sun appeared to suggest that he had been caught cruising.
The sports star finally breaks his silence over the claims for the first time in the Winter issue of Winq Magazine, where he reveals that he was left distraught over concerns that it might have a negative impact on his blossoming television career.
“I think you’re probably right,” he acknowledges. “I think they were trying to say that I’m gay and I was cruising... They said lots of things, but they didn’t say anything, as in, he was getting out of the car for two minutes, he went in, then came out, or he didn’t even get out of the car.
"They did say that there’s gay sex here, there’s dogging here, I think there was lots of things.
The article couldn’t have been easy to read for someone who’d kept his sexuality such a closely guarded secret for so long. He admits to feeling anxiety that he was losing control of his story and was worried about how it would affect his career.
"It was a little bit of a bomb going off , in terms of, ‘How do I respond to this?’ I didn’t know what to do, I was floundering.”
While he insists that the story at the time was inaccurate, Foster later goes on to admit that his time in the closet had led him to having experiences with cruising in the past. But had he actually been cruising?
“No, on that occasion, no,” he answers. “I’m no bloody angel and I’m not about to deny that I have in the past. But on those occasions, no.”