UK rugby star Gareth Thomas says in a new interview that he scrubbed himself clean after the first time he had sex with another man.

Thomas, who retired from rugby in 2011 following an injury, publicly announced he is gay in 2009.

In the latest episode of Attitude Heroes podcast, the former Welsh rugby captain described the first time he had gay sex as “dirty” and that it left him feeling ashamed.

“I remember going home and facing my Mum and Dad and obviously no one had known what I’d done and I literally felt like the dirtiest person alive,” said Thomas, 43.

“I’d had all these feelings for so long, but I’d never acted on it, so it was suppressed. But all of a sudden it had become a reality. And it was fucking really scary, like opening Pandora’s Box.”

“I thought, 'Fuck, what have I done? What have I started here?' And I fucking scrubbed, literally scrubbed myself.”

“Life was shit,” he said of living a closeted life. “It was really, really bad.”

Thomas added that he considered suicide.

“But I didn’t want to not hear my mum and dad’s voice anymore. I didn’t want to not hear them laugh,” Thomas said.

“But I thought I’d lose it all. I thought I’d lose the fact that people respected who I was, respected what I’d done, all the hard work I’d put in to get there would be lost.”

“My team-mates, my coaches, my family, the fact my old man would go on a Sunday morning to the pub with the jersey with my name on the back. All of a sudden that was going to fucking stop,” he added.