The Guardian‘s Simon Hattenstone has a great, wide-ranging interview with Tom Daley. The man has grown into his own.
I first interviewed Daley four years ago, and the difference is striking. Back then, he seemed weirdly old for his age – 17 going on 40, so polite and proper it was unnerving. Today, he is still old for his age, but in a much more natural way – maybe 21 going on 30. I remember thinking his life experience seemed so limited, even for a 17-year-old – it didn’t extend beyond his much-loved parents, the younger brothers he’d play-fight with, diving and school. Now he has a hinterland. Black has introduced him to a new world – of activism, LA, the arts. The couple featured in David Hockney’s most recent work, and the diver still can’t quite believe it. “I researched David Hockney for my A-level photography project. He’s great. Then we went to have lunch with him at his studio, and he was like, ‘Oh, just stand there and I’ll take some photos.’” So now they’re friends? “I wouldn’t say we were best buds who go down the pub, but we’ve had lunch twice.”
There is still something grounded and endearingly old-fashioned about Daley. You sense it must be rooted in his family. He remains close to his brothers, who are singularly unimpressed by his achievements (or so they tell him), and he cites his father as his hero. “I try to live by all the lessons he taught me. He always used to say, make sure you go out of your way to help someone every day.” At times he sounds like a throwback to a previous generation, not least when talking about his responsibilities towards his mother. “I feel like I’m in charge and have to look after her, but she’s so independent. She’s doing really well.”
Daley is one of life’s planners, and he’s already mapping out the future – a gold medal in Rio, a future in television (he has to work because there is still no money in diving), and family. “At some point in my life I’d love to be able to settle down and have kids. Get married and lead a normal life,” he says.