First Openly Gay Pro Strongman Rob Kearney Marries Longtime Boyfriend

Rob Kearney tied the knot after winning the Arnold Pro Strongman Championship in Australia. Arnold Schwarzenegger was there to congratulate the couple.

Professional weightlifter Rob Kearney celebrated his first place win at the 2019 Arnold Pro Strongman contest in Australia by tying the knot with his longtime boyfriend, Joey Aleixo.

Kearney won the Strongman qualifier event on Saturday, earning him entry into the 2020 Arnold Pro Strongman World Championship, co-founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Kearney married Aleixo, also an athlete, on Sunday at Half Moon Beach, south of Melbourne. The couple wore matching outfits ― crisp, white button-up shirts, navy shorts and tan boat shoes ― during a bright day over clear ocean waters, with Kearney sporting his trademark Mohawk.

“We didn’t tell many people, but on March 17, 2019, [Aleixo] and I got MARRIED,” Kearney said in an Instagram post. “To call this man my husband is a dream come true and he is and always will be my soulmate.”

Schwarzenegger, an actor, former California governor and bodybuilding legend, was one of the few people who knew of Kearney’s nuptials.

He tweeted on Sunday a photo with the newlyweds and declared that the marriage may have been a first in the history of Strongman competitions.

Kearney, already an established professional strongman, came out as a gay man to the bodybuilding world in 2014. In October of that year, Kearney announced that he was in a relationship with Aleixo in a man crush Monday post on Facebook.

“The past few months have been crazy, but throughout all of this you’ve given me a reason to smile,” Kearney wrote in his post. “So I guess this is me coming out and saying... I’m gay!”

At the time, he was the second strongest middleweight champion in the world and the first openly gay man to compete professionally in Strongmen competitions at an international level.

“I hope people realize that being gay doesn’t change the athlete/person I am,” Kearney said in an interview with HuffPost in 2014.

“I am still the second strongest 105kg Professional Strongman in America and I am still the same Rob Kearney they knew before this news,” he added. “This is the happiest I have ever been and it feels damn good to say ‘I love you’ and really feel it.”

Kearney is one of three athletes in the world who have qualified to compete for the world title at the annual Strongman World Championship in Columbus, Ohio, in 2020.