Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe will address his sexuality in an interview with Michael Parkinson next week.

The five-time Olympic gold medalist, 31, has faced rumours about his sexuality for years, which he has always denied.

He previously spoke about the rumours in 2012, saying: “I accept there’s nothing else I can say or do. There’ll always be people who are sceptical; people who want me to be gay, and others who’ll try and use it against me.”

He is set to open up about his experience in an interview with veteran broadcaster Michael Parkinson next Sunday.

In a brief preview clip, Parkinson asks him: “You’ve always said that you’re not gay… is all of that true?”

During his career, Thorpe has won nine Olympic medals – five gold, three silver, one bronze – in addition to 11 World Championship titles, and 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals.

Parkinson said: “Ian Thorpe has always been near the top of my list to interview. The reasons are obvious. Not many athletes can claim to be the best of all time. Ian can.

“The story of a boy who was a teenage World Champion, conquered the world and then seemed to give it all away is a fascinating and intriguing one.

“His fight against depression offers a unique insight into the darker side of celebrity and success.

“What fascinates me most about Ian is that apart from the very beginning of his career, he never seemed to enjoy and celebrate his success. It will be interesting to find out the reasons why.”

‘Ian Thorpe: The Parkinson Interview’ will air in Australia next Sunday, July 13 at 6:30pm on TEN.