Words: Alastair James; pictures: Eddie Blagbrough
It’s been almost eight years since Tom Daley became one of Britain’s most high-profile athletes to come out publicly – and almost a decade on, the 27-year-old diver has no regrets about when and how he chose to do it.
As Tom appears on the cover of the Attitude July issue – out now to download and to order globally – the Team GB star admits that while he sometimes thinks he “might’ve come out earlier”, on balance he believes his decision to open up about his relationship with now-husband Dustin Lance Black in a YouTube video in December 2013 was the “best way” for him to address his sexuality.
Tom Daley for the Attitude July issue, out now (Photography: Eddie Blagbrough)
“I don’t think I would have done anything differently, actually,” says Tom, who was just 19 when he came out to the world.
“I always think that I might’ve come out earlier, but then there was also a time for me to experiment and actually figure out who I am.
“I didn’t want to have to go through all that in the public eye, so I think doing it in the way I did was the best way for me to do it.”
After making his Olympic debut aged just 14 at the 2008 Bijing Olympics, Tom was already well-versed in the pressures of public life by the time he began privately dating Oscar-winning screenwriter Black.
Tom wears swimwear by adidas (Photography: Eddie Blagbrough)
Asked if he ever regrets putting so much of his personal life in the public eye, Tom, whose son Robbie was born via surrogate in 2018, responds: “don’t think I’d ever regret it. It is what it is. I share what I’d like to share, and that’s all of what’s on my social media and things like that.
“At the end of the day, I’ve lived with it from such a young age, I don’t feel any different for it, if that makes sense? And I don’t know any different.”
Tom, who is set to appear at his fourth consecutive Olympics in Tokyo this summer, adds that when it comes to peoples’ opinions on social media, it’s all water off an, erm, diver’s back.
Photography: Eddie Blagbrough
“You can read so many things about yourself […] but the opinions that actually matter are [those of] your friends and family” Tom muses.
“And, of course, I’m always mindful of everything that’s going on, and aware of things, but at the same time I try not to consume myself with it.”
Read the full interview in the Attitude July issue, out now.