Inside Gareth Thomas’ marriage to teen sweetheart Jemma before coming out as gay

Gareth Thomas came close to suicide after confessing to his wife that he was gay.

The retired Welsh rugby star, who today has taken the brave step of telling the world of his HIV+ status, previously spoke of his abject misery at putting Jemma Thomas through so much heartache.

The childhood sweethearts had married in a beautiful white wedding in 2001, but five years later Gareth told Jemma the truth about his sexuality – a secret he'd been struggling with for nearly 20 years.

And, when Jemma decided to leave him, Gareth nearly took his own life as he calmly dressed in the tailored grey suit issued by the Welsh Rugby Union and went down to the private swimming pool in their marital home to drown himself.

"A form of madness gripped me that first night after Jemma left. I needed her presence, so I invented it. I climbed into her wardrobe, and sprayed her favourite perfume, Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, around the interior," Gareth wrote in his 2014 memoir Proud, which documented his journey to acceptance of being gay.

"I pulled her clothes off the hangers and shelves, and buried myself in them. In my warped state of mind, it was my only way of getting her back. I sensed her spirit, savoured her scent. I was in her space, her sphere.

"I missed her so badly, and hated myself for what I had inflicted on her."

Gareth met Jemma when they were both teenagers growing up in neighbouring Welsh villages and he was her postman before going professional.

They dated on and off for years, with Gareth struggling to commit as he wrestled with his secret identity.

He popped the question in Christmas 2020 and Jemma was elated, with "not a second's hesitation" about marrying him.

"Before our marriage I had no idea, no suspicion at all, not then anyway. That would come later," she told the Daily Mail in 2009.

"He was just like all the other lads and dated a friend of mine before we got together at a friend's 18th birthday party."

At their fairytale wedding, Gareth told his bride she was beautiful and that he loved her in front of their beaming friends and family.

But the rugby ace was still battling his demons, unable to find the words that would make their world come crashing down.

The newlyweds were desperate to start their own family, but tragedy struck a year into their marriage when Jemma experienced her first miscarriage 10 weeks into her pregnancy.

"We were both in tears. Gareth was absolutely heartbroken, but all he cared about was making sure I was all right. He couldn't have been more loving and supportive," she recalled.

"We were both keen to try again as quickly as possible. When it's your first, you just accept it as one of those things, so in many ways the second miscarriage at nine weeks was devastating. It was an awful time for both of us."

A third miscarriage followed in early 2006, when Gareth hit the headlines over accusations he had led a player revolt against Wales national coach Mike Ruddock.

A rugby injury reared its head again and Gareth suffered a mini-stroke with a ruptured artery.

After that, Jemma said, Gareth would start spending hours alone walking along their local beach and telling his wife he was in different places while on tour.

Jemma started having her suspicions that Gareth might be gay but put it down to locker room banter – until one day her husband called and said they needed to talk.


Source: Read Full Article