Reverend Richard Coles lied about having HIV for five years

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 17 August 2017
Richard Coles

Reverend Richard Coles

'Strictly Come Dancing' contestant Reverend Richard Coles admitted he lied about having the incurable HIV disease for five years because he enjoyed the "sympathy"

'Strictly Come Dancing' contestant Reverend Richard Coles lied about having HIV to get "sympathy".

The openly gay Church of England priest - who has been added to the line-up for the forthcoming series of the ballroom and latin show - has admitted he pretended he had the virus for five years.

His deceit started after he got into a heated argument with band mate Jimmy Somerville following a gig in Switzerland, around the time he fell ill with the shingles, and, although his blood results came back as negative, he claimed he was HIV positive because he wanted his friend to "get off his back."

Writing in his autobiography 'Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit', the 55-year-old Radio 4 presenter said: "I limped around the stage and stood half-heartedly at the keyboard. I think my morose mood irritated Jimmy because one night we had an argument.

"In the thick of it I said 'I'm ill. I've just discovered I'm HIV positive - get off my back'.

"Saying it got me sympathy, which I liked. The harder part to admit was that there was a dark glamour to being HIV positive, there was this drama and I was drawn to that."

Despite keeping up the lie for five years, the priest said he was "too ashamed" and felt like an "idiot" but came clean half a decade later when he found God in 1990.

Meanwhile, Richard is no doubt hoping to win the hearts of the nation in September when he slips into his dancing shoes and attempts to dazzle on the dance floor in the hope of bagging the glitterball trophy.

He will go head-to-head with the likes of Gemma Atkinson, Ruth Langsford, Davood Ghadami and Mollie King in the BBC show.

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