Thomas won 100 caps for Wales between 1997 and 2005
Gareth Thomas has spoken about the mental trauma he went through during the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.
Not only did Wales crash out of the competition before the knockout stages but Thomas had to fend off media threats about revealing his sexuality.
"That was a really tough time for me," Thomas told BBC Scrum V radio.
"I was in touch with a solicitor the whole time because I was getting calls constantly about the story me being gay was going to hit the papers."
It was another two years before Thomas admitted he was gay, in December 2009.
But at the time of the last World Cup the Blues star, whose signing for Welsh rugby league side the Crusaders will be confirmed on Thursday, was not ready to go public.
And he admitted he struggled to concentrate on the World Cup, which saw Wales crash out to Fiji with an infamous 38-34 defeat in Nantes.
"I used to sit on a beach do my phone calls, and just sit there and think: "Wow I am in France, I'm in a World Cup representing my country and this story is going to break"," remembered the 35-year-old.
"[It made me feel] hurt because I felt like why would these people do this now. Obviously it would make major [an] impact because it was during the World Cup.
"But don't people actually care about me? I'm here representing my country trying to do my job to the best of my ability.
"Yet I had people threatening to go to print about me being gay.
"I was trying my best to take myself away from the squad because I didn't want the squad to see me thinking.
For me to pull out would have been surrendering to the red tops
"You try and put it to the back of your mind but you realise there is no back of your mind because your whole mind is taken up by this.
"When your life is out of your own control and the story you have kept for so long is out of your control at a pivotal point of your life is a feeling I wouldn't want anyone else to go through."
But at no time did Thomas consider giving up the Wales captaincy and leaving the World Cup.
"For me to pull out would have been surrendering to the red tops. You almost try and give a little bit more of fight back."
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.