Mark Foster breaks his silence on cruising claims
Olympic swimmer Mark Foster has opened up about claims he was photographed cruising.
The BBC commentator, 47, came out as gay after months of speculation about his sexuality.
The six-time world champion became the subject of much speculation after photos emerged of him visiting a wooded area popular for outdoor sex.
Speaking to Winq magazine, he confessed to fearing the story would damage his TV career.
“I think you’re probably right,” he acknowledged to the magazine, who named him Winq Man of the Year.
“I think they were trying to say that I’m gay and I was cruising.
“They said lots of things, but they didn’t say anything, as in, he was getting out of the car for two minutes, he went in, then came out, or he didn’t even get out of the car.
“They did say that there’s gay sex here, there’s dogging here, I think there was lots of things.”
The swimmer admits to feeling anxiety that he was losing control with the rumours swirling around.
“It was a little bit of a bomb going off, in terms of, ‘How do I respond to this?’ I didn’t know what to do, I was floundering.”
Asked directly about cruising, he said: “No, on that occasion, no.
“I’m no bloody angel and I’m not about to deny that I have in the past. But on those occasions, no.”
In an interview with the Guardian, Foster publicly acknowledged that he is gay last month.
Speaking to the Loose Women panel, Foster acknowledged why he decided to come out now.
He said: “If I look back, I first met my first partner when I was 21 years of age, I was in a relationship for 19 years, then I met somebody else and fell in love with them for seven years. To friends and family, I was out. It took me a long time to tell my mum, a couple of years anyway.
“When I went to work, which was swimming, friends there and swimming colleagues, no one knew. I never shared it. I was completely Mark the swimmer there and Mark the real person when I came home.”
He added: “Going back to when I was a kid, being gay was wrong. Typically, you should meet a woman, get married, have kids, get a house and that’s the way it worked in a sense. That’s what you get taught.
“When I did meet someone and started have feelings towards men I was kind of going, well that’s wrong, you shouldn’t be having these feelings.
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“I had girlfriends as well when I was younger, I just kind of knew what I preferred. I just got so used to tucking things away and hiding stuff away.”
He added: “I always get asked: ‘Are you married? How many kids?’ They just presume because most people’s perception of gay men is what they see on TV – camp chat-show hosts.
“They can’t put me in that box. I’m conditioned not to share so I’ll usually say: ‘I’ve got no kids but I’ve got a partner.’ If they ask ‘What does she do?’, I will either correct them or just say: ‘They’re a civil servant’ or ‘They’re an antiques dealer’.
“I’m very clever at dancing around stuff. But it’s tiring and sometimes I have been honest and said: ‘No, I don’t have kids. I’m gay.’ And a guy will surprise me and say: ‘Oh, but you could adopt kids.’ That’s refreshing.”