Former boxing promoter Kellie Maloney has spoken of the anguish of revealing her transgender transition early because of unexpected media pressure and that she considered taking her life.
Formerly known as Frank Maloney, she said two British newspapers had door-knocked her, threatening to expose her new life.
Maloney, who guided British heavyweight Lennox Lewis to world domination and has been a highly successful boxing promoter, spoke in her first major television interview today after revealing her transition last weekend in the Sunday Mirror newspaper.
She told ITV's Good Morning Britain show that she had mixed feeling about speaking publicly.
"It wasn't my intention. I wanted to transition very privately because of my family. They're going through a lot as well and I wanted them protected," she said.
"Unfortunately, someone exposed me at a group I was going to. I was indoors and one day you get that dreaded knock on the door. It was a journalist - I won't say from which paper.
"Obviously I denied all knowledge of it and they said they were going to run the story on the Sunday so I got my lawyers involved and we had to threaten injunctions. That had been going on in February and we kept it under control.
"Six weeks ago another newspaper turned up at my house, and then they turned up at my daughter's house, they turned up at all members of my family's house. I spoke with my lawyer and a couple of people who have been very good to me and I said, 'Look, I'm living in a shadow. I'm living in the dark. I can't go out of my house no more. I'm terrified.
"I started switching back to Kellie and Frank and my head was getting so confused about it."
The 62-year-old began negotiations with the Mirror because she regarded them as a "friendly newspaper that wouldn't ridicule transgender people".
She revealed she had felt "different" from a very young age. She admitted the pressure of living a lie meant she had considered killing herself.
But publishing her story now felt "like a complete release".
She celebrated by getting her ears pierced.
"I can do anything now ... because they know. I'm not living two lives any more," she said.
Maloney said she had been pleased with the reaction to her revelations.
This included acknowledgment from Lewis, the giant Brit who dominated the heavyweight scene from 1992 until he retirement in 2003, winning 41 of his 44 fights including a title defence against New Zealand's David Tua in 200.
"I was just as shocked as anyone at the news about my former promoter and my initial thought was that it was a wind-up," Lewis said in a statement.
"However, having taken some time to read Kellie's statements, I understand better what she, and others in similar situations, are going through. I think that all people should be allowed to live their lives in a way that brings them harmony and inner peace.
"I respect Kellie's decision and say that if this is what brings about true happiness in her life, then so be it."
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