Nigel Owens On The Overwhelming Support He’s Received From The Rugby World


Nigel Owens is international rugby’s first openly gay referee.

In 2007, Owens finally came out, after many years agonising over the decision. Owens has spoken out in the past about his struggles with depression as a result but admits he has been blown away by the support he’s received from the rugby world.

“Society, rugby and all of the sports have a way to go,” Owens told New Zealand media group NZME.

“But I could not be who I am today if it wasn’t for rugby and the people within rugby.

“There will be a minority, maybe one or two players, one or two supporters, one or two fellow officials, who don’t like the fact that I’m gay. In rugby, they are a very small minority.”

Owens opened up about his suicide attempt as a result of depression, in a documentary released before the World Cup final last year.


The Welshman was just 26 and struggling to come to terms with his sexuality when he climbed a hill near his home and over-dosed on painkillers.

“It was a dark place I was in, what I put my mum and dad through when I left that [suicide] note – I’ll never forgive myself for doing that,” he said.

Owen also recalled his favourite moment in rugby in the telling interview.

He finished by further praising our wonderful sport.

“So when people write or tell me there are issues within rugby or sport, no doubt there are issues, but I can honestly say, that I only have huge admiration.”

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