Rob Kearney, one of the strongest men in the world, announced that he and his boyfriend, Joey Aleixo, have separated. In 2014, Kearney became the first openly gay competitor to compete in professional strongmen competitions.
The 26-year-old strongman opened up about the split in an emotional Facebook post. “This will certainly be the hardest thing I’ve written, but after a lot of questions, this is easier on me,” Kearney wrote.
“Joey and I are no longer together. We have had our differences, I made a mistake and things came to a point where, right now, they can’t be fixed if we are together.”
Kearney continued: “We are taking this time to focus on ourselves, become better people and then hopefully rekindle our relationship.”
“We still love each other, he is still my best friend… but sometimes what’s best for a relationship, in the long run, is some time apart.”
This will certainly be the hardest thing I’ve written, but after a lot of questions, this is easier on me. Joey and I…
He came out as gay by introducing Alexio publicly as his boyfriend, which was a huge moment for the sport. The former couple was known for posting adorable photos on social media.
“He and I have been together for two months and I didn’t want to hide it anymore (I’m sort of a romantic),” Kearney told the Huffington Post.
“Had it not been for him I would not have decided to take the leap and come out and who knows where I would be today without him.”
Kearney has described the Strongman competition as “like a family”.
“It’s one of the only sports where you will be competing against someone and cheering them on at the same time,” he continued. “I have been contacted by numerous World’s Strongest Man competitors expressing their support for me.”
“I hope people realize that being gay doesn’t change the athlete/person I am,” he said.
“I am still the second strongest 105kg Professional Strongman in America,” Kearney added. I am still the same Rob Kearney they knew before this news.”
“This is the happiest I have ever been and it feels damn good to say ‘I love you’ and really feel it. Be happy, and be you … That’s what matters in life.”