Openly gay professional strongman Rob Kearney got married and came first in a strongman competition over the weekend – and was even congratulated by Arnold Schwarzenegger for the feat.
Kearney took first place at the 2019 Arnold Pro Strongman contest in Melbourne and then married his long term boyfriend Joey Aleixo on March 17.
Schwarzenegger shared in the celebrations and posted a photo of himself with Kearney and Aleixo on Twitter, saying: “I think this is a first: winning the @arnoldsports Strongman and getting married in the same weekend. Congratulations guys. I was honoured to celebrate with you.”
Kearney also took to Instagram to share the news of his marriage, saying: “So we did a thing. We didn’t tell many people, but on March 17 2019, @worlds_gayest_strongman and I got MARRIED!!
“To call this man my husband is a dream come true and he is and always will be my soulmate. I am so excited to start this new journey as a married couple and my heart has never been so full of love.”
Meanwhile, Aleixo said that he will “never forget” the day he married his “best friend.”
Rob Kearney came out as gay in 2014
Kearney came out as gay in 2014 to an overwhelmingly positive response from fans and followers.
When he was 25, he placed second in the World’s Strongest Man competition – and revealed in the same year that he was gay and had a boyfriend.
By coming out when he did, Kearney became the first openly gay competitor at an international professional Strongman competition.
Speaking to the Huffington Post in 2014, Kearney said he no longer wanted to hide who he was.
“I hope people realise that being gay doesn’t change the athlete/person I am. I am still the second strongest 105kg Professional Strongman in American and I am still the same Rob Kearney they knew before this news.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father beat him as he thought he might be gay
Arnold Schwarzenegger is known as for his acting and bodybuilding careers, as well as his stint as governor of California.
He is a Republican but has been supportive of LGBT+ rights in the past.
In 2016, Schwarzenegger opened up about his struggle with his parents – and said that his father beat him when he was younger as he was afraid he might be gay.
The Terminator star said his parents thought he was gay because of his “obsession” with bodybuilders, and became determined to “cure” him.
Speaking to Xposure, he said: “He ran after me with a belt and beat me.
“I don’t know if mum thought I was gay, or if she just thought there was something off and thought ‘let’s catch it early.’
“She asked the doctor, ‘Can you help me? I don’t know if there’s something wrong with my son because his wall is full of naked men.”