Former professional bodybuilder Bob
Paris says coming out in 1989 devastated his business.
Paris, a former Mr. Universe, announced
he's gay in the July issue of Ironman, making him the world's
first active male professional athlete to come out publicly.
Appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show
with then-boyfriend Rod Jackson, Paris explained his reasons for
coming out of the closet.
“You fall in love and when Rod and I
met we found a spiritual bond between each other,” Paris told
Winfrey at the time. “And you develop this relationship and this
move toward marriage and you find that if you bastardize it and you
stick it back in your back pocket where no one can see it, then
pretty soon you chip away pieces of that bit by bit until you have
absolutely nothing left.”
In a Where Are They Now?
segment, cabler OWN caught up with Paris.
Today, Paris, 54, lives with his
husband Brian LeFurgey on an island near Vancouver, British Columbia.
Together since 1996, the pair married in Canada in 2003.
Paris said he became a recluse after
his relationship with Jackson ended.
He also said he lost 80 percent of his
business, doors were slammed in his face and his life was threatened.
Of his marriage, Paris said: “Being
able to finally make our marriage legal in 2003 healed a spot in my
soul that had been wounded from the time I had been 14 years old and
first realized I was a gay man living in a culture that told me I was
less than. And here I was suddenly being treated as a whole person.”
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