Who is Dame Kelly Holmes and does she have a partner? New Loose Women panelist

Loose Women has a new panelist and viewers want to know more about Dame Kelly Holmes.

Who is Dame Kelly Holmes?
(Image credit: Getty)

Dame Kelly Holmes has joined the Loose Women as one of their panelists and  viewers are wondering who is she and does she have a partner?

The Loose Women studios has welcomed back its live studio audience and expanding it's mix of celebrity panelists for 2022, the show, which is filmed in London, has welcomed Dame Kelly Holmes into the Loose Women family.

Loose Women tweeted, "The news is finally out and we are SO excited to welcome Dame Kelly Holmes into the Loose family" to announce the news to their followers.

As we look at all you need to know about Dame Kelly Holmes...

Who is Dame Kelly Holmes?

Dame Kelly Holmes, DBE, is a gold medal olympian, a former British record holder and now a Loose Women panelist. She is a retired British middle distance athlete who specialised in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres events and won gold medals for both distances at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. She set British records in numerous events and still holds the records over the 600, and 1,000 metre distances. She held the British 800 metre record until 2021.

Does Dame Kelly Holmes have a partner?

Dame Kelly Holmes, 52, does have a partner but she hasn't revealed publicly who her girlfriend is. Speaking on Loose Women she confirmed, "I'm with a lovely partner now but I've no need to expose her either at the moment because it's only been a year and she's not in the public eye. She's a really lovely woman and at some stage I'm sure (I will)."

Dame Kelly came out as gay after 34 years back in June 2022 and revealed her sexual orientation in an interview with the Sunday Mirror to mark Pride month.

Kelly admitted she didn't wait long before telling her family about her current girlfriend, and added, "They've always wanted me to be happy - and no disrespect to other partners - I knew that they weren't going to necessarily be my future and it's circumstantial. 

She continued, "When you're in the LGBT+ community you have a very different view of how you can talk about it and you have to remember that some people, through culture, religious belief, their family make up, or work, they can't say so it's all very hush-hush. We always learn to talk about them, you don't really say your partner's name, though socially I've realised now it's more socially accepted so I'm learning to be more relaxed and open, which has taken me a long time."

Kelly revealed that her step father, best friend and sister were the only people who knew she was gay at the age of 18.

She explained, "When I was 27 I had relationships in the army but I never told them, no need to tell them to be honest, and they've known my partners since then but I've always been very private because I couldn't allow this to be a public thing so everybody I've seen has been hush, hush, couldn't tell their families."

While Dame Kelly teased that her girlfriend lived overseas, she admitted that she hasn't dated anyone famous.

She added, "I've never seen anyone in the public eye because I didn't actually know any females who were gay in the public eye at that stage and also that whole story that you may not or may have heard is that it was against the law to be gay in the military, which is the fear I've had for 34 years of not talking about being a gay woman."

The ban was lifted in January 2000 after four servicemen and women, who were sacked for being gay, won a case in the European Court of Human Rights. Until then lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the military were sent to prison and then discharged if their sexuality was discovered.

Speaking about how coming out as gay has helped her, she added, "It's given me freedom. I don't think anyone realises the extend of the barriers and insecurities and loneliness I felt not being able to be myself. (Now) Everything I do is fun, I can be me, I can sit and have a conversation about relationships."

Has Dame Kelly Holmes got kids?

No, Dame Kelly Holmes hasn't got kids. She confirmed this during a discussion on Loose Women about whether children's party bags should be banned and she admitted that she didn't have any so had to ask her sister-in-law for advice on this topic for the show.

How long was Dame Kelly Holmes in the army?

Dame Kelly Holmes was in the army for almost 10 years.  At the age of 17, with a promising athletics career, she decided to put her running career on hold in order to join the British Army. In the army, she became a HGV driver in the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC), later becoming a basic physical training instructor (PTI). 

Dame Kelly was then elected in June 1990 to attend the first course to be run under the army's new physical training syllabus, and passed out as a Class 2 PTI. 

Although joining militarily quite young, her athletic prowess was impressive and she was encouraged to attend the course selection for full-time transfer to the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC) at Aldershot.

She eventually qualified as a sergeant class 1 PTI, although she remained in the Adjutant General's Corps after the disbandment of the WRAC in 1992. 

For several years she combined athletics with employment in the army, until increased funding allowed her to become a full-time athlete in 1997.

She was later recognised for her services to the Military when she received her MBE after almost ten years' service.

Dame Kelly Holmes documentary Being Me, showed Army today offers better experience for LGBT+ soldiers.

Earlier this year she did a segment for BBC News while Trooping the Colour was taking place in the background and she wore her military uniform for this. She explained in the caption, "I know I haven’t spoken much about my role as the Hon Colonel for the Royal Armoured Corp Training Regiment, a role that got “signed off” by Her Majesty the Queen.

"I am so honoured and proud to be in this role, for nearly 4 years now and to talk passionately about what it means and how much I basically love the Queen! ❤️ 🇬🇧

"Wearing my Damehood and Military MBE honours."

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Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)