Published: 00:01, 23 May 2018
Once an outspoken boxing promoter wrestling with her identity, Kellie Maloney is finally living life on her terms... Jack Dyson finds out more
Sat in the Hampton Inn, Herne Bay, Kellie Maloney oozes happiness as she basks in the reality of blending in as a woman.
This is in stark contrast to six years ago when the then-boxing promoter started transitioning.
She began hormone replacement therapy and, after living as a man for more than 50 years, was desperate to see the changes in her body she yearned for.
“It changes your figure - your breasts grow and your skin gets softer - but I wanted instant success,” says the 64-year-old.
“The doctor had to remind me that I needed to be on them for 18 months to two years for them to have an effect.”
At the time she was known as Frank Maloney, the outspoken boxing promoter who guided Lennox Lewis to stardom, but had begun spending her time living in Worthing as a woman.
“When I went there, Frank would be locked away in a cupboard and I would be Kellie because no one knew me and I felt safe,” she says.
“Only I knew the two people existed. People who saw Frank never saw Kellie.
“It was there from a young age, but I didn’t understand it.
“I realised what it was after reading about April Ashley and Caroline Crossley as a teenager.
“I saw how coming out ruined both of their careers, so I was determined to keep it a secret.”
Ever since, she wrestled with her identity.
"She would buy women’s clothing, before hurriedly throwing them away, and went to great lengths to manufacture a masculine image."
The pressures of living as a man resulted in three suicide attempts - two of which were “a cry for help” - and the breakdown of her second marriage to wife of 20 years, Tracy.
“In 2010 I was becoming withdrawn and drinking a lot,” she says.
“As a result Tracy started blaming herself.
"I'm a fully-fledged female now... now I'm very relaxed, happy and open about my life
“She asked me if I was having an affair and if I was gay. I said no to both and looked at her and said ‘I’m the same as you; I always believed I should have been a female’.
“I regretted saying it initially because I knew our marriage would be over.
“I also realised then that there wasn’t any going back.”
But now she is at ease with her life.
She remains close to her ex-wife and three daughters, aged between 17 and 40, who continue to know her as their dad.
She has undergone the last of her operations to transition. “I’m a fully-fledged female now. I had it cut off and replaced,” she laughs.
And she spends much of her time living in tranquillity by the sea in Herne Bay and Portugal with her three dogs.
With an evening radio show and a venture back into boxing on the horizon, she says: “Now I’m very relaxed, happy and open about my life.”