Nigel Owens MBE is a Welsh international rugby union referee.
Nigel holds the world record for test match appearances and last month refereed his 100th International match in the Autumn Nations Cup game between France and Italy, becoming the first referee to reach the landmark
In May 2007, Nigel publicly came out as gay in an interview with Wales on Sunday. While reaction was mostly supportive, Nigel said that coming out was a difficult decision:
It’s such a big taboo to be gay in my line of work, I had to think very hard about it because I didn’t want to jeopardise my career. Coming out was very difficult and I tried to live with who I really was for years. I knew I was ‘different’ from my late teens, but I was just living a lie.
Nigel was the first person to come out in Rugby, and in his autobiography Half Time, he talks about the challenges of growing up gay in small town Wales, and his battles with drugs, eating disorders, and suicidal depression.