Clare Balding reveals fear that stopped her publicly coming out as gay
Clare Balding reveals crippling fear that stopped her publicly coming out as gay and the chat with wife Alice that prompted her to live free of shame
Clare Balding delayed coming out as gay because she thought it would negatively affect her career.
The television presenter, 52, who married wife Alice Arnold in 2015, spoke out about her sexuality publicly for the first time in 2002.
Sports presenter Clare has now said that, while she did fear she would be rejected by the wider world, she was also scared being openly gay would hold her back at work.
She explained to woman&home: ‘Being gay is who I am and it’s the way I’ve lived.
‘The only reason it took me a while to come out publicly was not only because of the fear of the reaction, but that it might have a negative effect on my work. As it happens, that wasn’t the outcome, but at the time I didn’t know. It’s a lot easier now.’
On hold: Clare Balding, 52, delayed coming out as gay because she thought it would negatively affect her career
Coming out: The television presenter, 52, who married wife Alice Arnold (right) in 2015, spoke out about her sexuality publicly for the first time in 2002 (pictured in 2019)
She added: ‘Alice says to me, if you think that your relationship or reality should be kept a secret, then you are perpetuating a state of shame.’
Clare went on to say one of the reasons she and wife Alice – who have been together 20 years – appear on Celebrity Gogglebox is because they wanted to show a same-sex couple sitting at home watching TV.
It comes after it emerged Clare would be replacing Sue Barker as the BBC’s lead Wimbledon host.
The sports pundit will take over this summer from the 66-year-old former A Question of Sport presenter – who has led coverage of the tennis tournament since 1993 – when it starts in July.
She said after the news was officially confirmed by the BBC in March: ‘It’s a huge honour to be given this responsibility but I am very aware that no one person can fill Sue’s shoes.
‘This will always be a team effort and we’re lucky that the BBC line-up includes former professionals with huge insight as well as wonderful reporters and commentators.
‘It’s my job to bring out the best in them and to help make our viewers feel they have a front-row seat on the greatest sporting stage.’
The BBC’s director of sport Barbara Slater said she was looking forward to seeing Clare share her ‘passion and knowledge for the prestigious event’.
New role: It comes after Clare was made Sue Barker’s (right) successor for the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage
Sue – who won the 1976 French Open and reached No 3 in the world as a player before making the switch to broadcasting – last summer said she felt the ‘time is right’ to step down after three decades in the Wimbledon presenting role.
Former cricketer Isa Guha, 37, was said to be in the running to become lead Wimbledon host, but will still have a major role in the 2023 coverage after becoming part of the BBC team last summer.
She will present coverage from the start of play before Clare takes over for the primetime afternoon and evening sessions.
The July issue of woman&home is on sale Wednesday 31 May 2023.
Speaking out: Clare spoke to the July issue of woman&home, which is on sale Wednesday 31 May 2023
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