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Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe on how ‘hard’ it was to come out as gay

He came out as gay in 2014, during an interview with broadcaster Michael Parkinson.

And former Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe revealed that although he struggled with publicly coming out as a gay man, he wishes he did it sooner.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Friday, the 35-year-old also recalled his battle with depression and how he forged a path beyond his swimming career.

‘I felt like I was accused of being gay’: Swimming champion Ian Thorpe (R) candidly reveals how ‘hard’ it was to come out but admits he wishes he did it sooner… and talks about his battle with depression. Pictured with boyfriend Ryan Channing (left)

Ian recalled the moment he was first asked about his sexuality as a teen.

‘I remember being on a plane when I was about to turn 18 and for the first time it was going to be published that I was accused of being gay,’ he told the publication.

‘And this is the problem — we’re “accusing” people. It’s a terrible way to phrase it, but for me that’s how it felt,’ he added.

Honest: 'I remember being on a plane when I was about to turn 18 and for the first time it was going to be published that I was accused of being gay,' he told The Daily Telegraph on Friday

Honest: ‘I remember being on a plane when I was about to turn 18 and for the first time it was going to be published that I was accused of being gay,’ he told The Daily Telegraph on Friday

Looking back: 'And this is the problem — we're ''accusing'' people. It's a terrible way to phrase it, but for me that's how it felt,' he added

Looking back: ‘And this is the problem — we’re ”accusing” people. It’s a terrible way to phrase it, but for me that’s how it felt,’ he added

‘And it was hard. But now that I have (come out) I wish that I had done it sooner and been comfortable to do it sooner.’

Ian suffered from depression since he was a teenager and explained that his mental health worsened after he retired from swimming.

In the same year that Ian came out as openly gay, he was admitted to a rehabilitation clinic after struggling with depression and alcohol abuse.

Mental health: Ian suffered from depression since he was a teenager and explained that it worsened after he retired from swimming

Mental health: Ian suffered from depression since he was a teenager and explained that it worsened after he retired from swimming

And Ian has revealed he is now happy and in a good place, while also keeping busy with brand ambassador roles including The Star and Invictus Games – after concluding his swimming career.

He also mentors several young athletes and is currently working with the Australian Institute of Sport to create an official mentoring program. 

Ian shot to fame when he became the youngest male to represent Australia in swimming, having competed in the Sydney Olympics at the age of 15.

During his successful swin career, Ian was the first Australian to win five Olympic gold medals.

The future's bright! Ian has revealed he is now happy and in a good place, while also keeping busy with brand ambassador roles - including The Star and Invictus Games - after concluding his swimming career

The future’s bright! Ian has revealed he is now happy and in a good place, while also keeping busy with brand ambassador roles – including The Star and Invictus Games – after concluding his swimming career

Australian legend: Ian was the first Australian to win five Olympic gold medals

Australian legend: Ian was the first Australian to win five Olympic gold medals

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk