First openly gay All Black Campbell Johnstone announces engagement

  • 02/07/2023
Campbell Johnstone and Ben Thomson
"It's been such an incredible and crazy year! It's a good way to celebrate." Photo credit: Instagram

The first All Black to publicly come out as gay has announced his engagement to Ben Thomson.

Campbell Johnstone, a front-rower who played three tests for the All Blacks in 2005, revealed he was gay at the beginning of the year in a momentous milestone for New Zealand rugby.

Now, he's announced his engagement on Instagram and detailed his love for Thomson in Woman's Day.

"I couldn't be happier right now," he said. "It's been such an incredible and crazy year! It's a good way to celebrate."

In Johnstone's Instagram announcement, he said he was "incredibly happy" that Thomson had said "yes" to his proposal. 

"Thank you @beniboinz for making this one of the happiest days ever."

Johnstone, 43, met Thomson at a pub in Cambridge in 2016.

Thomson told Woman's Day the pair spent time chatting, but he was moving to London and Campbell was moving to Spain to coach rugby.

"We caught up a couple of times when we were in Europe, but we both came back to New Zealand in 2020 because of COVID. Then we caught up again after the lockdowns and quarantines, and we haven't really been apart since."

Fast-forward to the pair being in Turkey, where Johnstone got down on one knee.

"It was a bit off-the-cuff speech, really," Johnstone said. "I just said, 'Ben Thomson, will you do me the honour of marrying me?'"

Taking to his Instagram, Thomson said: "I'm a fiancé now! Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you."