Judge Rinder says a ‘cloud of fear’ lifted when he came out as gay

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Judge Rinder has shared his coming out story, and how it took bravery to stand up against the "level of shame" that was projected onto the gay community while he was growing up.

The criminal barrister, who has his own courtroom TV show on ITV, says that when he came out as gay, it was almost as if a "dark grey cloud of fear" lifted out after years of hovering over his head.

The 43-year-old former Strictly Come Dancing contestant was 22 when he decided it was time to tell people about his sexuality.

Writing for Metro, the star – real name Robert Rinder – shared: "There are many cliched ways that I can describe it, but after coming out, it was as if the sun had broken through and it was shining on me.

Judge Rinder has spoken about coming out
(Image: Rex)

"Until then, I had been living under a dark grey cloud of fear. It’s hard to understand unless you grew up 80s or 90s, but the level of shame projected onto the gay community had significant repercussions.

"Being unable to share your life with your loved ones for fear of the consequences, or having to lie about your sexuality for fear of the professional ramifications, has a profound emotional cost. It is one of the most – if not the most – depleting things you can do."

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Robert said that his decision to come out was partly motivated by the fact that he didn't want to continue lying about who he was, and because he had fallen in love with a man, although sadly the feelings were not reciprocated.

He described what happened as a "soft process" saying he had to share his story over and over again with his loved ones, starting with the most important person – his mum.

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Robert says his confession to his family was met with "openness, kindness and unconditional love", as well as a silly joke from his brother who said he didn't care as long as he didn't support Arsenal.

He added: "It is the biggest privilege of all to have people who love you as you are, instead of in spite of who you are."