Dame Kelly Holmes has said she is ‘overwhelmed’ by the support she has received after coming out as gay.
The Olympic runner, 52, took to Instagram on Sunday to thank her fans and added that her late mother, Pam Norman, would be ‘so proud’ of her for being her true self.
She received an outpouring of support from both her followers and celebrities after she spoke about her sexuality for the first time and declared that she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life.
‘I can’t process it right now!’ Dame Kelly Holmes, 52, said she is overwhelmed by support after she came out as gay… while saying her late mother would be ‘so proud’ on Sunday
Alongside a photo of her stood in front of a rainbow striped butterfly, Dame Kelly penned: ‘The morning after the night before. Firstly THANK YOU – The support has been overwhelming- I actually don’t think I can take it all in and process it right now!
‘So here it is, the start of a new chapter in my long life book. This is an old picture when I just liked the fact that I was in black and making the body of a butterfly.
‘It was pride month (as is this month) but nothing really to do with the rainbow. It was because the butterfly (as well as a puzzle piece) is a symbol I associate with my mother who passed away in 2017 from @myelomauk bereavement it’s hell.’
‘Finally free’! She received an outpouring of support from both her followers and celebrities after she spoke about her sexuality for the first time (pictured 2004)
Strong bond: Speaking of her mum, she detailed: ‘My “Mother Dear” would be so proud of my announcement’ (pictured together in 2005)
Speaking of her mum, she continued: ‘My “Mother Dear” would be so proud of my announcement in the Sunday Mirror she always played me the song “You’re a superstar” by love inc and wanted me to be truly me.
‘This announcement is part of a journey I have been on over the past 4months filming a documentary about my authentic life and how hard it has been to not be me.’
Dame Kelly continued as she added that her documentary Kelly Holmes: Being Me will be aired on June 26 on ITV.
‘It’s emotional so get the tissues ordered!,’ she explained.
‘True self’: The Olympic star concluded: ‘I have been petty oblivious and ignorant about it all but I hope one day to be an authoritative voice’
The Olympic star concluded: ‘Lastly the documentary taught me so much about generational and social advancements when it comes to the LGBTQ+ world.
‘I have been petty oblivious and ignorant about it all but I hope one day to be an authoritative voice and also that my doc it helps many people on all levels.’
Speaking to The Mirror, Dame Kelly gushed: ‘The response has been truly overwhelming. I never ever visualised this positivity and support.
‘There’s been people from all walks of life, people who have followed me for years and new people who want to hear what I’ve got to say.
‘People have come out in their droves. I feel overwhelmed – it hasn’t sunk in.’
Speaking out: The outpouring of support came after Kelly publicly came out as gay after living a ‘secret life’ for decades (pictured this year)
The outpouring of support came after Kelly publicly came out as gay after living a ‘secret life’ for decades.
The athletics star admitted she was ‘fully aware’ of rumours about her sexual orientation but said she was happy to be coming out ‘on her own terms’.
Speaking to the Mirror, she said: ‘There have been lots of dark times where I wished I could scream that I am gay – but I couldn’t.
‘I needed to do this now, for me. It was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement. Sometimes I cry with relief. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.’
Smiling again: The athletics star admitted she was ‘fully aware’ of rumours about her sexual orientation but is now happy to be coming out ‘on her own terms’
Dame Kelly confirmed she has a partner but didn’t want to give any further details, admitting it is the first time she hasn’t introduced someone as a ‘friend or PA’.
She explained how her family and close friends have known for years she is gay but she worried about being in trouble for breaching retrospective rules in the Forces.
At the time, the forces had a ban on LGBT soldiers, which was only lifted in 2000. Kelly had relationships with other women during her 10 years in service.
Kelly, who chose to come out during Pride month, told how she first realised she was gay when she kissed another female soldier at the age of 17.
Army: She explained how her family and close friends have known for years she is gay but she worried about being in trouble for breaching retrospective rules in the Forces (Dame Kelly in her Colonel role at Trooping the Colour)
After the kiss, Kelly recalled writing to her stepdad who she shares a close relationship with to explain what had happened.
She was ‘confused and scared’ but Kelly revealed her stepfather accepted her straight away before coming out to the rest of her family in 1997.
Kelly, who was made a Dame in 2005, said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics.
And even her massive achievement of winning gold at the 800 and 1,500 metres at Athens were ruined due to her fears of being outed.
Career: Kelly said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics
The TV personality, who is currently working on a documentary called Being Me, admitted she kept her true identity hidden for years and experienced episodes of self-harm has she struggled to cope.
Kelly confessed that even as she celebrated her gold medal in the 800 and 1,500 metres at the Athens Olympics she feared being outed as her fame hit new heights.
Before the 2003 World Championship finals, Kelly said she hit an all time low and self-harmed, recalling how she had ‘no control’ over herself.
Kelly didn’t ask for any support at the time out of fear she would be dropped from the Olympic team.
In 2018, Kelly was made an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment, which she viewed as another barrier for her coming out.
Fears: In 2018, Kelly was made an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment, which she viewed as another barrier for her coming out