A personal trainer on the American weight loss reality series The Biggest Loser has come out as gay in a bid to help a struggling contestant.
Bob Harper has been on the show since 2004, but never discussed or disclosed his sexuality in the programme, until now.
In an episode broadcast in the US on Tuesday, Harper decided to speak about being gay to contestant Bobby Saleem, who’s been struggling with coming out to his family.
“I want to show Bobby that he doesn’t have to live in shame,” said Harper.
Although he was out to friend and family, by offering his advice and personal experience on television the 48-year-old fitness guru came out to the rest of world.
He told Saleem: “When I came out, when I was 17 years old, it was one of those things where I realised that there was going to be so many obstacles, but being gay doesn’t mean being weak.”
“And being gay doesn’t mean that you are less than anybody else. It’s just who you are,” added Harper.
The contestant said that the trainer’s support had inspired him to tell his strict Catholic parents about his sexuality.
He tweeted: “Thank you @MyTrainerBob for the words that have changed the path of my life.”
Harper, in turn, tweeted: “THANK YOU to everyone that supported my decision to talk about being gay w/ Bobby. I felt like it was appropriate & necessary. LOVE Y’ALL!!”