British footballer Jake Daniels, 18, says he's met 'soulmate', 46, after coming out as gay
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British footballer Jake Daniels has revealed he’s met his ‘soulmate’ after coming out as gay, saying he met his 46-year-old partner on Instagram.
Last year, Blackpool FC star Daniels, 18, became the UK’s first male professional football player to come out since Justin Fashanu in 1990.
At the time, he told Sky Sports that he had wondered if he should ‘wait until retirement’ to go public, saying: “No other player in the professional game here is out.”
But Daniels decided this wouldn’t allow him to be himself or ‘lead the life’ he wanted.
"Since I've come out to my family, my club and my teammates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental health,” he said.
"Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally."
He added that he knew he was gay since the age of five or six, but feared his sexuality wasn't compatible with his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
Daniels, who plays forward for Blackpool, has now revealed he’s in a happy relationship with his ‘soulmate’ Mark, who had slid into his DMs after he came out.
Speaking about his love life in a recent episode of Rylan Clark’s BBC Sounds show How To Be a Man, he explained: “I came out and had my Instagram, my Twitter taken off me.
“So I didn’t see anything. I think when I had my Instagram back I had 20,000 message requests or something ridiculous like that, I’d never seen that in my life.
“There was one day, I was about to get on a train and I went on my message requests just to have a gander and the top message was from my [now] partner, just congratulating me.
“I had a sneaky look on his Instagram and I was like, ‘Alright!’ Dropped a message back and said ‘Thank you so much’ – and at the end asked something like ‘Is there anything else I can do for you?’ I knew what my motive was!
“We got chatting from then, we FaceTimed a few times, met up a few days later in Blackpool and we’ve been together ever since.”
He added that Mark was ‘definitely’ his ‘soulmate’, saying he ‘couldn’t be any more happy’.
Daniels came out in May last year, and said the reaction has been nothing short of incredible since.
In another new interview with Sky Sports, he said the response has been ‘amazing’, continuing: “It's been better than I expected if I'm completely honest. I've just had positivity everywhere and it's brought me closer to so many people.
"I couldn't have asked for it to go any better for myself.
"So many people have reached out.
"For the first two or three weeks my agent took over my Instagram, so I didn't see a lot of the comments, but still now I get parents of kids, the kids themselves, older people and younger people all saying how long they've had to live their lives a lie and they've been able to come out because of something I've done.
"It's such a warm, proud moment for me. For me to do that and come out and then for someone else to be able to do that, it's a proud moment."