Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Aussie Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham to make British acting debut

Mitcham became the first out gay Olympic champion when he won gold during the 2008 Summer Games Beijing, but also came out about his substance abuse, has joined OnlyFans, and now has announced his acting debut on the UK stage.

“I’ve finally broken into British Theatre!.. playing not one but TWO characters. Strangers In Between. Golden Goose Theatre. September 19 to October 7,” the athlete posted on his official Instagram account.

What’s On Stage reported that Strangers in Between is “a captivating Australian classic” which “looks at the highs and lows of growing up gay in modern Australia,” and that the headline-making record breaker (Mitcham made the highest single-dive score in Olympic history in his 2008 event) will play two roles. Mitcham has performed onstage before in a cabaret show that toured Australia after being adapted from his 2012 autobiography, Twists and Turns. However, Strangers In Between will be his first proper acting role and he will be joined by Stephen Connery-Brown and Alex Ansdell.

More than two years ago, Mitcham went public with his “crippling” drug and alcohol addiction in an interview with the BBC in which he explained Olympic success took a heavy toll on his way to Beijing and also after it was over. He described a daily drug and alcohol habit that led to depression and thoughts of suicide during his “Olympic blues.”

“Diving became this darkness which permeated the rest of my life. I really hated it, but I knew it was my one chance to be special, so I kept going, effectively on autopilot.”

He also discussed the feelings of shame caused by hiding his sexuality for years. Mitcham told BBC Sport: “I was so scared of it that I would actually tie a rubber band around my wrist and every time I had a gay thought I would snap it, to try and associate pain and suffering with the gay thought. To try and train myself out of being gay.”

Mitcham achieved the world number one ranking he desired in 2010, but injury caused him to be eliminated in the semi-finals at London 2012 and he retired in early 2016. Mitcham and his partner Luke Rutherford married in early 2020 and appear to be still going strong, although in a pinned post, Mitcham wrote what appeared top be an apology to Rutherford for his behavior during lockdown, which he described as “struggling.”

A more recent post shows the happier couple after a morning run in California.

Earlier this year the New York Post reported that Mitcham had been sober for seven years and had signed up for OnlyFans. When he spoke with Australian morning TV from his home in London, he revealed the simple reason he was joining OnlyFans. “The money, duh,” Mitcham said.

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