SBS Insight: Man who came out as gay after 25 years of marriage ‘couldn’t be happier’

A Victorian man has said how his “perfect family” built up over many decades was a sham, with the truth exploding just before Christmas Day.

An Australian father-of-four has spoken about how he came out as gay to his wife following 25 years of marriage and now “couldn’t be happier”.

Shaun Williams got married in the late 1990s, when he was 27, and was so fearful of coming out that he hid who he really was.

Mr Williams spoke about his long journey to accepting his sexuality on SBS’ Insight program on Tuesday.

“There were lots of factors,” he told presenter Kumi Taguchi on an episode of the current affairs program that focused on how people choose to take – or avoid – risks.

“I was brought up in the 80s, when AIDS was prominent and there were the Grim Reaper commercials,” said Mr Williams, who is now 53 and lives in Victoria.

“And back then, I thought for the rest of my life I’m gonna hide this, I’m going to go to the grave with this.”

On the outside, he said, it looked like he had the “perfect family”.

“I had a job, a wife, a house with no mortgage. I didn’t want to break that up,” he said.

But inside, things were very different.

“I was struggling mentally, I was a shell of a person.

“I was struggling with the risk, after 25 years of marriage, of losing all of that”.

Mr Williams likened hiding his sexuality to desperately trying to prevent an inflatable beach ball from bobbing to the surface.

“I just didn’t know how much longer I could hold it and suppress it underwater.”

Eventually a psychologist Mr Williams had been seeing felt there was something he was keeping back. Mr Williams said he was gay.

Within days, he had told his wife and kids.

“It was December 2019, just before Christmas, and it was one of the worst days of my life.” He said on SBS.

He said his wife was “understandably angry”.

“I left the house and let my wife grieve,” he said.

However, his kids – after some adjustment – were accepting of who he was, he said.

“I have become a better person, a better father, being who I really am.

“And I’ve released that through hiding I wasted a lot of time.

“I came out as gay to my wife of 25 years and I couldn’t be happier”.

Mr Williams told the Daily Mail he had now started a Facebook group for other fathers who had come out to their children.

The group now has more than 600 members worldwide.

“I was really amazed there was so many of us around. There’s a world full of men that have been through the same thing I had,” he said.

“It’s the shame and the guilt that we go through.”

Originally published as Man who came out as gay after 25 years of marriage ‘couldn’t be happier’

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