Bob Harper, personal trainer of The Biggest Loser fame, came out as gay on the programme, saying “I do believe this is the right time”.

Harper, 48, on Tuesday’s episode of the programme on which overweight contestants attempt in groups to lose weight, said: “I haven’t talked about my sexuality on this show ever.”

Continuing, he said he felt it was the right time after he encouraged Bobby Saleem, a contestant on the show, to come out to his father.

“I come from a very strict Catholic background,” said Saleem, also came out as gay on the show. “Homosexuality, in a sense, was wrong, so I kind of hid it. It’s just something I’ve kind of kept from my parents, or at least my dad. I always felt like there was something wrong with me.”

Speaking to Saleem, Harper said: “I want to show Bobby that he doesn’t have to live in shame… Being gay doesn’t mean that you are less than anybody else. It’s just who you are.”

Going on, Harper said he “knew a very long time ago that I was gay,” and that he came out to friends and family when he was 17.

“When I came out … I realized that there was going to be so many obstacles,” he said. “But being gay doesn’t mean being weak.”

Harper’s coming out was met with a great reception on Twitter.

Tweeting, Saleem said that Harper had “changed the path of [his] life”.