UK rugby star Gareth Thomas says his public coming out gay a year and a half ago has given him pride.

The 37-year-old Welshman came out gay during an interview with the Daily Mail.

“I don't know if my life is going to be easier because I'm out, but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine [a GLBT teen suicide line], then it will have been worth it.”

“I want to send a positive message to other gay people that they can do it, too,” he added.

On Sunday, he told the Mirror that he had made the right decision.

“It's been the best few years of my life since I came out,” he said with a smile. “Coming out gave me a sense of relief and pride to be able to walk down the street. The curb used to be my best friend when I wasn't out. I would be ashamed and walk with my head down. I didn't want people to see me or to be recognized.”

“Now I'm walking with pride. If people recognize me now they maybe recognize me as a rugby player or an inspiring proud gay man. I'm proud to be recognized for who I am.”

He added that his biggest fear of losing his ex-wife and best friend Jemma didn't materialize: “Jemma texted me on Wednesday and said 'happy anniversary.' It was mad receiving that text and realizing we would have been married for that long. So much has happened in our lives.” The couple married in 2001.

“We still have a good connection and I'm so happy that I've been through all this and still have her in my life.”

(Related: Gareth Thomas says he 'prayed to be straight.')