RUGBY REF NIGEL OWENS ON STEROID ADDICTION AND HIS STRUGGLES OF COMING OUT AS GAY
It’s hard to think of a man in world rugby more likeable than Nigel Owens.
The Welsh ref has won over fans around the world through a high standard of officiating as well as his ability to remind players who is in charge with a simple witty comment.
But back before he was getting shout-outs on WWE Raw, Owens struggled with personal demons as he came to terms with his homosexuality.
Speaking on The Clare Balding Show
on BT Sport, the World Cup final ref opened up how he did not want to accept he was gay, saying he became addicted to steroids and even attempted to take his own life.
“I’d come out in last 2005 and I’d pretty much had to because my life was a complete mess. I was depressed, I got hooked on steroids, I got bulimic, I was overweight.
“I started going to the gym and I got hooked on steroids, got into steroid depression and I think the biggest challenges that anybody comes across in their life is accepting who you are and I couldn’t accept who I was.
“And it was affecting my performances as a referee and I was pretty much going to get booted off the international panel because I wasn’t refereeing well enough because I was hiding who I was and I couldn’t accept who I was.”
Owens then told the story of his darkest time when he attempted suicide – a moment he says he regrets to this day.
“I didn’t want to be gay,” he said. “It was totally alien to me. I was 19-years-of-age, starting to have these feelings that were totally alien to me and I didn’t know what they were all about and I got in a very, very dark place and I did something one night that I will regret for the rest of my life and it is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.
“I left a note for my mum and dad and said that I can’t carry on with my life anymore and just to imagine what they must have been going through when they found that letter in the morning and there was a police helicopter out looking for me and they actually found me in time, they airlifted me to the local hospital where the doctors pretty much said, I had a few days in intensive care and they said another 20 minutes and it would have been too late to save you.
“When my mum came in to see me with my dad that night and said, if you ever do anything like that again then you take me and your dad with you because we don’t want to carry on our lives without you and that’s … I sat up in bed that night and said, ‘I’ve got to grow up here, I’ve got to grow up and I’ve got to accept who I am’.”