|Professional Racing Driver Danny Watts|
The 37-year-old star has told his fans that he identifies as gay after years of struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.
The professional racing driver – who recently retired from the sport – revealed that he felt he had to keep his true self hidden while competing in the largely macho world of motor racing.
“There isn’t any one moment that stands out in my mind as the moment I realized I would need to live in the closet if I wanted my motor sport career to go anywhere; it was just a general feeling I got,” Danny explained.
“There were enough gay jokes and homophobic slurs to go around, and I felt like if I lifted my head out of the trenches, I’d be immediately annihilated.
“All the other guys in the paddock had girlfriends, so I got one to blend in. When that relationship ended, I got another one, and so I continued pretending to be straight for seventeen years.
“I knew from quite young that I preferred gay porn to straight, but kept that side of my life hidden to avoid upsetting people in my team, people in racing, and the wider public.”
Danny admitted that he became “one of the worst of the womanisers” in an attempt to conceal his sexuality, while adding that he didn’t have any gay friends in fear that “someone would notice and connect the dots”.
“Eventually, something in me flipped, and I couldn’t keep it in any more,” he said. “I came out to my wife, who told me she’d known I was gay for ages and she was happy I’d finally come out.
“We started the process of an amicable divorce while working to create the least impact possible on our son’s life.”
He added: “From there, my ability to keep it secret slowly unravelled. I came out to more and more people in my private life, which went well for the most part.
“I even got up the courage to wear a Pride bracelet and a pendant with the gay man logo to the track, and started hanging out with the fun people who noticed and commented on my jewellery in the autograph queue.”
Danny explained that coming out to his friends and family in his immediate circle has made him feel much more comfortable with who he is, but he’s very aware of the negative reaction he could receive from some motorsport fans.
“There are trolls in the motor sport community who could very well rear their heads to try silence me, but there’s a group of researchers keeping track of my Twitter mentions as I come out to help inform other queer racers wanting to come out,” he said.
“Their opinion no longer matters to me, though. I no longer need to kow-tow to sponsors; a bad reaction no longer impacts on my ability to earn.
“My ‘coming out’ interview with a racing journalist is pending publication,” he added. “I have no idea the kind of response I’ll get to that article. I hope that there are a few people who are supportive.
“If the response I’ve had from the queer motor sport community thus far is any gauge, I feel hopeful that I’ll find a supportive group to start driving change for my queer siblings in the sport I love.”
Danny Watts enjoyed a long and successful career in professional racing driving, which included winning the legendary Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race.