Rylan Clark reveals he woke up in the back of an ambulance with a fractured skull after shocking homophobic attack
Rylan Clark has revealed he once woke up in the back of an ambulance with a fractured skull after he was attacked by homophobic thugs.
The TV presenter, 35, recalled the incident in his new documentary Rylan: Homophobia, Football and Me.
The former X Factor star told how he was often subjected to anti-gay insults whenever he would try playing football with other boys growing up.
According to The Sun, he said: ‘I just remember, growing up, that even if I went and played football with all the lads, they’d be like ‘Gay boy’. It’s like, ‘What do you want me to f*****g do then?’
Rylan was a fan of the Spice Girls and dancing growing up which he thinks made him a target for bullies.
Rylan Clark has revealed he once woke up in the back of an ambulance with a fractured skull after he was attacked by homophobic thugs
The TV presenter, 35, recalled the incident in his new documentary Rylan: Homophobia, Football and Me
He remembered one incident when he went to his local park with a group of friends after school and was attacked while on the swings.
He said: ‘I remember, just this hand coming on the back of my head, throwing me down to the floor from the platform, and just getting kicked in the head.
‘And the next full memory I have is being in the back of an ambulance, and waking up right here, driving past my house on the way to the hospital.’
Rylan, whose real name is Ross Clark, was told his skull was fractured in a couple of places after having his head kicked and stamped on.
Speaking to consultant psychiatrist Dr Bruce Clark, Rylan said ‘in a sick way’ he is almost glad the attack happened as it taught him to never treat anyone badly.
The presenter said he sees his persona of Rylan as a character and likens it to having ‘an armour’.
Of the documentary, Rylan said: ‘Growing up loving football and being a West Ham fan, I always assumed that I’d be able to go to games whenever I wanted as I got older.
He continued: ‘But as time moved on and as a gay man, I sometimes felt uncomfortable around spectators at games.
The former X Factor star told how he was often subjected to anti-gay insults whenever he would try playing football with other boys growing up (pictured in the documentary)
Rylan also spoke to Rio Ferdinand in the documentary about his past use of anti-gay slurs
‘I’m not one to be easily offended but some of the language and insults that’re used on a daily basis by football crowds made going to games almost impossible, especially as I got more and more known and started having them directed at me.
‘This documentary aims to highlight that football is for everyone regardless of what you get up to in your private life.
‘I talk to fans, players, past and present, about how the beautiful game could be even prettier for everyone to enjoy, and how as fans we can change to help make players feel comfortable sharing their sexuality if they wish to do so.’
Manchester United star Rio said: ‘Discrimination in any form has no place in society and it has been confronting to hear what Rylan has had to endure as a gay man who simply wanted to go and support his local football team.
‘As a young man, I was guilty of flippantly using words and phrases that I recognise were completely wrong and it’s something I open up to Rylan about in the documentary.
He finished: ‘Contributing to the documentary and speaking to Rylan at length was an education in itself to gain an insight into his world.’
Rylan: Homophobia, Football and Me premieres on Feb 13 at 10.30pm on TNT Sports 1 and will be available to stream on discovery+.