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Rebecca Adlington’s ex Harry Needs opens up about biphobia and first relationship with a man

"I've encountered 'bisexual people are greedy'. Like you have to choose men or women."

By Will Stroude

Harry Needs, the former swimmer and ex-husband of Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, has opened up about his journey to self-acceptance after coming out publicly as bisexual earlier this year.

Needs, who was married who was married to Adlington from 2014-2016, told BBC News that despite knowing he did not identify as straight since he was a teenager, he only felt comfortable labelling himself bisexual after embarking on a relationship with a man last year.

“I didn’t feel like I could honestly say I was bisexual until I had a relationship with a man”, said the 28-year-old, who is raising a five-year-old daughter, Summer, with double Olympic gold medalist Adlington.

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I didn’t ever think I’d see the day where I would finish work before 1pm… what should I do?

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“I put myself out there as bisexual and went out on some dates with both women and men.”

“‘I then found myself in a relationship with another man, and that was last year.”

Needs and Adlington began dating as teenagers, but split in 2016 after two years of marriage. The pair have remained close friends since, with Needs revealing he first discussed his sexuality with Adlington last year.

“I only told Becky in the last year. I only told all my friends and family in the last year but everyone’s reaction for me, especially Becky’s, was really really positive,” he said.

“It was just like “okay”, no-one really cared, I felt like. I really just don’t care about anyone else’s opinion on me. For me love is love, you should be with whoever makes you happy.”

Despite the support of his family and ex-wife, Needs says he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality when he was younger due to the stigma which still surrounds bisexuality, and a lack of bisexual role models in the public eye.

“I always knew I was attracted to both sexes, during my teenage years I felt like being in society you could only identify as being gay or straight”, he said.

“I didn’t feel there was many role models out there for bisexual people.”

“Girls used to show interest and that’s why I got involved in those relationships but maybe if it was more openly acceptable in society that little bit more, maybe that would have been different.

“I think it’s lack of education.”

Bisexual people continue to face prejudice from both gay and straight people alike, and Needs recalled how, like many bisexuals, he had been accused of “using bisexuality as a gateway or a stepping block to becoming gay.”

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Perfect Christmas Eve eve with my number one wishing we could feel our toes again ❄️🇪🇸

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“People almost don’t believe bisexual men and women out there exist. Being bisexual, I’m attracted to both”, he said.

“I’ve encountered “bisexual people are greedy”. Like you have to choose men or women.”

Watch Harry’s full interview with BBC News below: