When former "Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion announced in 2012 that he was marrying his longtime partner, Rubem Robierb, it was the first time he had discussed his sexuality publicly. While some viewers may have been surprised by the personal disclosure, Champion tells "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" that being gay wasn't something he intended to hide.
"I had been openly gay since I was at Channel 7," he says. "I just never took it on as a topic. I never sat down and talked to someone about it."
Champion's friends and family were aware of his homosexuality, but not everyone was immediately accepting.
"My dad was not as supportive," Champion admits. "I always felt like I was a little disappointing to him. [He was] 6'4", Marine Corps colonel, all these great guy things. I just didn't have any of that."
Champion recalls the harsh words his father said to him after learning of his sexuality.
"I remember him saying to me, 'I cannot support this lazy lifestyle choice,'" he recalls. "I'm like, 'You're the smartest guy I know. You sound so incredibly dumb right now. You knew I was different from the time I was a kid. I was just different. I would not choose this. I would not!'"
The two went a while without speaking, but when Champion's father fell ill with three different cancers, they were able to talk things out and reconcile. Before he passed in 2010, Champion's dad spoke the words his son had been waiting to hear.
"I remember standing on the back deck of their house in Texas, and he reached out and touched me and he said, 'I'm so proud of the man that you became,'" Champion says, becoming choked up. "That's my favorite minute with my dad."
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