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  • Published: 11 September 2014
  • ISBN: 9781473502208
  • Imprint: Ebury Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

Just So Happens

The inspiring true story of the first professional sportsman to come out while still playing

**WINNER British Sports Book Awards SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR**

**Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award**

Gareth Thomas had it all. He was a national hero, a sporting icon. He was a leader of men, captain of Wales and the British Lions. To him, rugby was an expression of cultural identity, a sacred code. It was no mere ball game. It gave him everything, except the freedom to be himself.

This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him. Something that might devastate not only his own life but the lives of his wife, family, friends and teammates. The only place where he could find any refuge from the pain and guilt of the lie he was living was on the pitch, playing the sport he loved. But all his success didn't make the strain of hiding who he really was go away. His fear that telling the truth about his sexuality would lose him everything he loved almost sent him over the edge.

The deceit ended when Gareth became the world's most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man. His gesture has strengthened strangers, and given him a fresh perspective. Gareth's inspiring and moving story transcends the world of sport to tell a universal truth about feeling like an outsider, and facing up to who you really are.

  • Published: 11 September 2014
  • ISBN: 9781473502208
  • Imprint: Ebury Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the author

Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas was born in 1974. He played rugby union for Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Toulouse and Cardiff Blues, winning 100 international caps for Wales and captaining the British and Irish Lions. In 2010 he switched to rugby league, playing for the Crusaders RL, and for Wales. He retired from rugby in October 2011. Gareth announced publicly in 2009 that he is gay, and was voted the most influential gay person by Stonewall that year. He is a dedicated supporter of the charity Childline.

Also by Gareth Thomas

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Praise for Just So Happens

A beautiful and observant graphic novel.

James Smart, Guardian

This is a book you may want to study, a book of inflection and nuance, a delicate, thoughtful book that entrances the eyes and compels the old grey matter.


A powerful story dealt with a deft brush in hand.


Just So Happens feels so richly intimate... [Obata] is a talent to watch. I like his elegant, understated drawings, which hint at the manga stories he must have read as a boy. Bullet trains, Shinto temples, shopping malls, sushi restaurants: he does them all beautifully. His storytelling, too, is crazily accomplished.

Rachel Cooke, Observer

Told with great care and dignity... The illustrations reflect the mood of the story perfectly, creating a sense of movement and transition which mirrors Yumiko's journey.

Vicki Bartram, UK Press Syndication

Rich in detail.

Yo Zushi, New Statesman

A powerful story with beautiful drawings. It's a triumph. A debut of quiet and delicate beauty, this is the graphic novel for the thinking creative.

Natalie Brandweiner, Creative Bloq

This is a fascinating, often deeply moving, story which shows that while sport initially defined whoGareth Thomas was, everything changed when another facet of his life was revealed

Press Association

Astonishingly powerful

The Times

Incredibly powerful


Inspiring and moving

Daily Telegraph


Rugby World

In a year when some of the highest-profile sporting memoirs have been marked by self-serving narcissism, this is a story of substance

Daily Telegraph

Proud offers an enthralling insight into a world and a struggle to which we are rarely given access…Thomas’ story is a harrowing reminder that sportsmen are as vulnerable as the rest of us…The honesty with which Thomas presents his many dark moments makes this an absolute must-read, whether rugby fan or not. Rarely has the sense that sport is only a game rang truer. An eye-opening glimpse into the inner turmoil of a national hero


Searingly honest


This book is as inspiring as it is moving and depressing. A must read…It is breathtaking


A story of extraordinary courage, both in and outside the sporting world…It's another sporting book that transcends sport, and Thomas should be loudly and gloriously celebrated for writing it


Thomas’s autobiography is remarkable not for his open gayness but for the truthfulness that permeates every page

The Sunday Times

Astonishing in its candour…this is a tale of hope

The Times

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