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Delle Donne says she is gay, engaged to partner

RIO DE JANEIRO — In an upcoming interview with Vogue magazine, reigning WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne publicly reveals she is gay and is engaged to her longtime partner.

"It was just one of those articles where they came into my home, spent a couple days with me, and [fiancee] Amanda [Clifton] is a huge part of my life," Delle Donne, a Chicago Sky star, told reporters in Rio, where she is playing for Team USA. "So to leave her out wouldn't have made any sense. It's not a coming out article or anything. I've been with her for a very long time now, and people who are close to me know that, and that's that."

The article states Delle Donne and Clifton were engaged June 2.

Elena Delle Donne said her publicly discussing her sexuality was a matter of her deciding "I'm not at all going to hide anything." Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images

Even though her relationship is now public, Delle Donne said she still plans to keep her private life private.

"As the future keeps moving on, I don't plan on having our relationship out in the public and all this media on it," she said, "but obviously there's excitement right now because people see it for the first time."

In hindsight, there were clues in plain sight even before Wednesday's news. Weeks ago, a photo of Clifton was posted on social media showing her next to a sign that read, "Will You Marry Me?" and a caption that read, "I obviously said yes!"

The couple has been photographed frequently together in the past, too. But, as Delle Donne explained, respect for Clifton's privacy contributed to them not formally discussing their relationship before now.

"I decided I'm not at all going to hide anything," Delle Donne said.

She added that her Sky teammates have known about the relationship.

"They know Amanda," Delle Donne said. "She's always around. It's nothing crazy."

Delle Donne is now at least the third member of the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team to announce her same-sex marriage. In May 2015, center Brittney Griner was married to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson (though Griner filed for divorce less than a month later). Two months earlier, Seimone Augustus married aspiring actress LaTaya Varnier — but not before Team USA coach Geno Auriemma took time during a three-day national team camp to give Augustus some impromptu dancing lessons for her wedding.

The U.S. women's team opens Olympic play on Sunday.


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