U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir came out of the closet as gay Thursday confirming long-running speculation about his sexual orientation.
The 26-year-old had previously declined to discuss the matter but finally addresses it in a new memoir, “Welcome to My World,” which People magazine is excerpting in its Jan. 17 edition. The book drops Tuesday.
“I’m not ashamed to be me,” Weir writes. “more than anyone else I know, I love my life and accept myself. What’s wrong with being unique? I am proud of everything that I am and will become.”
Weir says he realized he was gay at age 6 when he wanted to kiss Richard Gere after seeing “Pretty Woman.”
Weir is a three-time U.S. national figure skating champion. He also has a 2008 bronze medal from the World Championships. He has never medaled at the Olympics but many observers say he should have placed higher at last year’s Olympics — he finished sixth.
Weir, a graceful, fluid skater, is known for his over-the-top costumes and theatrical choreography.