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Nigel Owens attempted suicide aged 11 before trying to kill himself over sexuality battle; Owens is the first man in the sport to come out as gay and admits he tried to kill himself on more than one occasion.

Byline: Liam Prenderville

Nigel Owens admits he tried to take his own life at the age of 11.

The world's best rugby referee is the first man in the sport to come out as gay and accepting his homosexuality led to him coming close to committing suicide.

But it wasn't the first time, having tried to take his own life as a schoolboy as he struggled to deal with bullying.

Owens admits he went to the bath one night to try and kill himself and told his mother the red marks on his neck, that she had spotted, were from "mucking about".

The 47-year-old's friends saw what was going on and intervened, sticking up for Owens, and the bullying soon stopped.

The Welshman, who will officiate England vs Japan on Saturday, accepted he was gay at the age of 26 before finally telling people seven years later.

But he struggled with the stigma attached, especially in a sporting environment, as depression took over.

And Owens told the Sun: "It got to such a dark place. I got so depressed that I thought there was only one way out, and that was to end my life. That's when I did something I will regret for the rest of my life."

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After failing to go through with previous planned suicide attempts, the referee took drugs and alcohol and walked to the top of a local mountain with a shotgun.

He was found by a police helicopter but had fallen into a coma and revealed he was around 20 minutes from dying.

He added: "You think the people left behind will be better off without me in their life, without this burden to look after me or deal with my depression. After I had the second chance, I realised what I had done and saw they're no better off without me. That's how I accepted who I was."


Credit: Getty Images

Referee Nigel Owens

Credit: Getty Images

Referee Nigel Owens

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Title Annotation:Sport,Rugby Union
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 17, 2018
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