Former world heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield has apologised for his anti-gay remarks on Celebrity Big Brother, saying he had “completely forgotten about the cameras” at the time and was only expressing a personal view.

Holyfield faced backlash earlier this month following a conversation he had about the lack of openly gay sports stars.

Luisa Zissman, runner-up on last year’s Apprentice, was seen telling Holyfield: “I think it’s really bad that no one stands up and says it in the sports industry.”

Holyfield asked her: “What would be good about it?”

When Zissman replied: “I think it’s good to be open like that because it’s normal”, Holyfield said: “But that ain’t normal.”

On Friday, the four-times heavyweight world title holder was the first housemate evicted from the show.

In his first newspaper interview outside the house, the 51-year-old told the Sunday Express: “I do owe an apology for what I said, but in that situation I felt I was talking to one person and I was telling that one person my view.

“I had completely forgotten about the cameras. I wanted to express how I felt about it, it was not that I was trying to push my views on to people, it was saying this is how I was raised, it wasn’t to the whole world.

“So I am going to make a public apology about that because I am sorry for anybody that I offended.”