Nigel Owens was Kirsty Young's guest on this week's edition of BBC Radio 4 Show Desert Island Discs. It's a fabulous way to spend 35-odd minutes of your Sunday, as few people capture the essence of sport like Owens. His life struggles put the pressure of professional sport into blessed irrelevance, while at the same time accentuating the inclusivity upon which all good sport is based.
During the course of his conversation, Owens recalled his extraordinary battle to come to terms with his sexuality. In the midst of the struggle, Owens began comfort eating, soon becoming obese. This led to a subsequent addiction to steroids and a struggle with bulimia, a battle that hit found its nadir at the nozzle of a gun.
The shotgun was on my chest, underneath my chin, ready to pull the trigger.
While coming to term with being gay, at the age of 19, Owens reveals that he considered being chemically castrated:
l do not want to be gay. Can I get chemically castrated?
Owens also delves into the moment the bulimia ended:
The bulimia only finished not that long ago. My mum sat me and my dad down and told us she had cancer and she was dying. I was thinking, ‘Here I am healthy but still making myself ill when my mum and millions across the world are fighting every day just for an extra few hours with their loved ones'. That’s when the bulimia stopped.
Is it any wonder Owens can keep his head in the white-hot atmosphere of a Test match?
It's an utterly inspiring conversation, and we recommend you listen to the show back. It's available as a podcast, so go out and get it.