UK rugby star Gareth Thomas has called lying about being gay his biggest regret.

Thomas, who retired from rugby late last year following an injury, publicly acknowledged he is gay in 2009. The 38-year-old Welshman's coming out inspired other professional athletes to come out, including English cricketer Steven Michael Davies and Swedish footballer (European soccer) Anton Hysen.

In an interview with The Guardian, Thomas discussed his ex-wife Jemma.

“Neither my ex-wife nor I regret getting married,” he said. “There was so much good in the seven years we spent together. The regret for me is the hurt I caused not just her but my parents, too.”

“My fear of coming out wasn't about rejection,” he explained. “I was scared people would say: 'Why were you lying to me? If you've been lying about that what else are you lying about?' Lying is my biggest regret.”

He added that other professional athletes have confided in him that they are gay.

“The advice I give is that coming out is great for you as a person, but that you also have to remember you're a role model.”