Former professional rugby player Sam Stanley just announced his engagement to long-time partner Laurence Hicks.

At 23 years old, Stanley became the first English rugby union player to come out as gay in 2015.

In a Facebook post, Stanley wrote: ‘After being a part of each others lives for almost 7 years, Laurence has been my pretend godfather, uncle, cousin and many others in order to make sure no one found out about us and that we were a couple.

‘Funny looking back after having come so far together.

‘The most loving man I know and I’m incredibly happy to say that we’re now engaged,’ he shared.

Sam and Laurence: the early beginnings

The pair have been together for seven years.

In Sam’s coming out interview to the Sunday Times, he said he considered committing suicide four or five years ago.

After that moment, he met Laurence.

‘I was standing on a bridge…overlooking a motorway in Essex,’ he said.

‘However, looking back, the idea that I would jump was ridiculous but it was as if I was thinking that I could get rid of the pain in one go.

‘You are so worried about what people will think and I thought I couldn’t be a macho rugby player the way I was,’ he said.

Hicks is a former Wendy Wu Tours managing director and recently announced plans to launch three new travel ventures – an online aggregator of touring holidays and two businesses for the LGBT market, reports Travel Weekly.

One of the new websites will cater to ‘either owned, managed, run, sympathetic to, or understanding of, the LGBT market,’ he said.

After Stanley came out publicly in 2015, Hicks was his biggest support.

In a Instagram post, Stanley wrote: ‘Nothing beats the support he has shown me and I couldn’t be without him.

‘Finding that someone who you would do anything for and who also makes life worthwhile is so incredibly satisfying!

‘Perceptions need to change,’ he added.

 

This article was originally published on Gay Star News. Read the original article.

 

 

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