How Ian Thorpe's late ex-partner Ryan Channing helped him take his first steps out of the closet - Upsmag - Magazine News

How Ian Thorpe’s late ex-partner Ryan Channing helped him take his first steps out of the closet

Channing and his posse of young party buddies soon moved on, at which point Thorpe looked at me with a knowing expression, smiling broadly he leaned into my ear and whispered “see what I mean?”

I indulged him in his “trophy boyfriend” moment. At his age, I would have been just the same.

That was in 2015. Last week the news emerged that Channing had died in Bali last Sunday, aged just 32.

His mysterious death – now the subject of social media conjecture – quickly became a news story largely thanks to his relationship with Thorpe.

They had been a high-profile couple for four years, during which time they were staunch supporters of marriage equality, becoming engaged and openly discussing their plans to have a surrogate baby together, even visiting a clinic in Los Angeles.

While the details of Channing’s death are unknown, sadly his connection with Thorpe meant the news traveled fast across digital media which was reporting on it even before some of Channing’s wider family had been informed, according to his brother Jake.

The couple went separate ways in 2019, but Thorpe has retained ties with members of Channing’s family, maintaining a respectful silence while the family comes to terms with the sudden loss.

No doubt it is a time of great reflection for Thorpe too, given how pivotal the relationship was in helping him forge an authentic version of himself to share with the world.

His transformation did not go unnoticed. even woman’s day wrote about it: “The confident new Thorpie is like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon.”

But of course, woman’s day being woman’s daythe magazine couldn’t help itself, adding: “friends, who say when he started to date model and law student Ryan in 2015, were so worried he’d get his heart broken they considered an intervention.”

One of those supposed “friends” divulged: “They were emotional days, with everyone putting in their two cents worth that the glamor boy was using Ian for his celebrity status and would leave him in tears when the novelty wore off.”

Well, despite the thinly veiled moralizing, the “novelty” lasted a respectable four years, and survived plenty of attempts to derail it.

Two days after the night Thorpe introduced me to Channing, The Daily Telegraph published a photograph on its front page featuring photos of Thorpe reportedly refusing the offer of a “white pill-like object” later on the night of Mardi Gras.

The story was again dredged up within hours of Channing’s death becoming public, with the usual contaminated and rather homophobic outrage outlets like The Daily Mail do so well.

Thorpe later told me it was a mint when I directly asked him. He remained circumspect about the entire episode, telling me: “I don’t want anyone else to try and define who I am, I can do that myself.”

Sadly for Ryan Channing, he no longer has that option.

Channing and his posse of young party buddies soon moved on, at which point Thorpe looked at me with a knowing expression, smiling broadly he leaned into my ear and whispered “see what I mean?”

I indulged him in his “trophy boyfriend” moment. At his age, I would have been just the same.

That was in 2015. Last week the news emerged that Channing had died in Bali last Sunday, aged just 32.

His mysterious death – now the subject of social media conjecture – quickly became a news story largely thanks to his relationship with Thorpe.

They had been a high-profile couple for four years, during which time they were staunch supporters of marriage equality, becoming engaged and openly discussing their plans to have a surrogate baby together, even visiting a clinic in Los Angeles.

While the details of Channing’s death are unknown, sadly his connection with Thorpe meant the news traveled fast across digital media which was reporting on it even before some of Channing’s wider family had been informed, according to his brother Jake.

The couple went separate ways in 2019, but Thorpe has retained ties with members of Channing’s family, maintaining a respectful silence while the family comes to terms with the sudden loss.

No doubt it is a time of great reflection for Thorpe too, given how pivotal the relationship was in helping him forge an authentic version of himself to share with the world.

His transformation did not go unnoticed. even woman’s day wrote about it: “The confident new Thorpie is like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon.”

But of course, woman’s day being woman’s daythe magazine couldn’t help itself, adding: “friends, who say when he started to date model and law student Ryan in 2015, were so worried he’d get his heart broken they considered an intervention.”

One of those supposed “friends” divulged: “They were emotional days, with everyone putting in their two cents worth that the glamor boy was using Ian for his celebrity status and would leave him in tears when the novelty wore off.”

Well, despite the thinly veiled moralizing, the “novelty” lasted a respectable four years, and survived plenty of attempts to derail it.

Two days after the night Thorpe introduced me to Channing, The Daily Telegraph published a photograph on its front page featuring photos of Thorpe reportedly refusing the offer of a “white pill-like object” later on the night of Mardi Gras.

The story was again dredged up within hours of Channing’s death becoming public, with the usual contaminated and rather homophobic outrage outlets like The Daily Mail do so well.

Thorpe later told me it was a mint when I directly asked him. He remained circumspect about the entire episode, telling me: “I don’t want anyone else to try and define who I am, I can do that myself.”

Sadly for Ryan Channing, he no longer has that option.

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