Gareth Thomas has revealed that the tabloid journalist who threatened to reveal his HIV status to the world was the first person to tell the former rugby star's parents that he is living with the virus.
Former Wales captain Thomas, who publicly announced that he is living with HIV over the weekend after being blackmailed by a tabloid newspaper, told BBC Breakfast that the journalist who doorstepped his parents also told them about his private medical diagnosis.
In an emotional interview, 45-year-old Thomas said: "[My parents] love me whatever. [But] I can never have that time back. I can never have that moment back to sit down with them and explain to them why their son is going to be ok and is going to be able to live through this, and live a healthy, normal life.
"I can never, ever, EVER, have that moment back with my mother and father"@gareththomas14 tells #BBCBreakfast how he lost the chance to tell his parents about living with #HIV pic.twitter.com/Vl72Wm7Os7— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) September 18, 2019
"I can never take that moment back. That person came and took that moment away from me."
Thomas, who promised to " fight and educate to break the stigma" after being forced to share his HIV status with the world on saturday (14 September), continued: "My parents will say that they're fine because that's [who] my parents [are], but I can't really tell you how they felt because I can't imagine how they'd feel.
"Can you imagine somebody coming to your door and saying something so personal and so intrusive to you about the person that you love and protect through anything. Can you imagine how that would feel? I can't.
Follow @GarethThomas14 on his journey to get to grips with his HIV diagnosis, taking on the stigmas and myths surrounding the condition.— BBC Wales 🏴 (@BBCWales) September 17, 2019
Documentary - Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me
Wednesday 9pm BBC One Wales / BBC iPlayer pic.twitter.com/utPXw7HHwH
"All I can tell you is that I have the best parents on the planet, because to this day they stand by me and belive in me, and they believe in what I'm doing now."
Thomas is set to open up about his journey living with HIV in a BBC documentary, Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me, set to be broadcast tonight at 9pm on BBC One Wales.