Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe has revealed that he does not like getting intimate and pushes people away when they come too close.
The 30-year-old also said that athletes need to be able to trust the media not to sensationalise their private lives.
"The truth is I've spent most of my adult life trying to avoid relationships," he told The Guardian. "If people get too close to me I often end up pushing them away.
"The world is a lovely shade of grey and there needs to be more balance in the way lives are described. I know people need certain results to stay in their job so things get exaggerated in the media.
"It often seems as if there is not much else besides success and misery. I think what happens is that people in my position don't give out all the information because there is not enough trust. They don't want it to be sensationalised."
Thorpe won five gold and three silver medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.