Olympic hero Tom Daley reveals grandad's teary reaction to being told he was gay as he opens up on struggle to come out
TOM DALEY has opened up on his struggle to come out – and the teary reaction of his grandad that left him 'hurt'.
The Team GB Olympic hero, 27, burst onto the scene at Beijing 2008 with his stock rising even higher after grabbing bronze at London 2012.
Writing in his new book Coming up for Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood, Daley recalled the speculation over his sexuality in the subsequent years which led to him eventually coming out in a five-minute YouTube video.
Now-husband Lance, mum Debbie and his management team all backed Daley's plan to share his story with the world.
But first, he had to tell the rest of his family, starting with his late father's parents – Grandma Rose and Grandad Dink.
And Daley – now an Olympic gold medallist following his Tokyo 2020 heroics – has retold the heartbreaking story of coming out to his grandparents after their tearful reaction.
Daley recalled via The Times: "Grandma Rose and Grandad Dink had been hugely supportive of me growing up.
"They used to live a few doors up the road from our first house in Derriford (Plymouth) and had remained close ever since, and I know my sporting success brought them a huge sense of pride.
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"Deep down, I thought they would be fine but my heart was hammering as I drove down the road and knocked on their door.
"As we started chatting about everyday stuff while they made us a drink, I just couldn’t bear to bring it up. Eventually, I took a deep breath and summoned up the courage to speak.
"Originally, I had told them that the reason for Lance being in Plymouth was that he was interested in filming a documentary about me. It seemed like a good cover story.
“'You know Lance, he’s great, isn’t he?' I started.
“'Yes, Lance, he’s a nice young man', Grandma Rose replied.
"'Well, basically, Lance and I are in a relationship,' I said.
“'Of course you are in a relationship. You’re doing a documentary together,' she said.
“'Er, no, not that kind of relationship. We’re in a relationship with just the two of us.'
"I just couldn’t bear to say the words 'he’s my boyfriend', or to be even more clear, 'I’m gay'.
"'Of course, you are.' She wasn’t quite catching on."
But the worst was yet to come for Daley, he continued: "I caught sight of Grandad in the corner, who was starting to cry.
"Grandad was not happy with it, and while Grandma was trying to be OK, she just wasn’t.
"'Come on, Tom. Do you think that is even natural?! What would your dad think?', Grandad said.
"I just felt so sad that they couldn’t accept it. Our relationship after that became quite strained.
"I now look back and I understand that their initial reaction came from a place of just not understanding about different sexualities, or knowing anyone else who was openly gay.
"But it goes without saying that I was also very hurt.
"It also made me fear the reaction of the wider public. If my grandparents felt it hard to hear, what would other people say?"
Daley lost his father, Robert, in 2011 to brain cancer. He was aged just 40.. Tom was just 17.
The diving star – and knitting whiz – jostled with the idea of how his dad would have reacted and eventually found peace in the knowledge he'd simply have wanted his son to be happy.
Daley wrote: "I’ve thought many, many times about how Dad would’ve felt about everything.
"I’m sure it might’ve taken him a while to get used to the idea, but above all, I know that he would want me to be happy, and I could imagine that he and Lance would’ve got on brilliantly."
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