Clare Balding feared career would end due to her sexuality

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 26 April 2021
Clare Balding

Clare Balding

Clare Balding feared she would miss out on top TV jobs because of her sexuality, as she admitted she hid the fact she is a lesbian for almost a decade

Clare Balding feared she would miss out on top TV jobs because of her sexuality.

The 50-year-old sports presenter is one of television’s best-known faces, but Clare has admitted she used to hide the fact that she is a lesbian because she thought broadcasters wouldn’t hire her if they knew about her sexuality.

She said: “I was brought up to think that the only ‘acceptable’ relationship meant being married to a man, with a big wedding in a church.

“I was worried that if people discovered I was in a relationship with a woman I would get insulted or even that I might be discriminated against when it came to choosing presenters for big events and programmes on TV.

"A lot has changed in the world since then, thankfully.”

Clare started as a trainee at the BBC in 1994 and landed her first presenting job a year later when she introduced the Royal Ascot highlights.

The journalist then came out as a lesbian in 2003, before marrying Alice Arnold in 2015.

Since publicly confirming her sexuality, Clare has presented six Olympic Games, Channel 4’s Paralympics, Wimbledon and 'Sports Personality Of The Year'.

And in her new book, ‘Fall Off, Get Back On Keep Going’, the presenter explains how she overcame her own anxieties around the public perception of her sexuality.

She added: “The fear of how you imagine people will react to you speaking out is often much worse than the reality. Most people were really kind and supportive.”

Clare previously said she doesn't care about other people's opinions and would never look herself up online.

She said: "I'm not interested in what other people think. But I don’t think anything about me surprises others, Alice always tells me I'm an open book.

"I don't look at anything about myself [online]. You'd be mad to do so! You have to learn to protect yourself from what's out there."

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