The NFL free agent, 27, and O’Brien flew to London last month so Russell could accept the Gay Times’ Sporting Hero Award at their Honours 500 event after he came out as bisexual in an emotional first-person essay for ESPN. He was recognized for giving more LGBTQ representation in sports.
The couple documented their trip in a video on their joint YouTube channel, published on Dec. 9, which shows the lovebirds beginning their trip stateside before making their way to their hotel after landing in London. The two then travel to the event, where Russell goes on stage to accept the award.
“Growing up in small-town rural Texas being gay, being bi, being queer of any kind was just never — [it was] an impossibility, especially not in sports,” Russell told the audience. “Faith family and football were the three things that were kind of ingrained into me.”
“[Of the people] who go to church on Sunday, 90 percent of them watch football games,” he continued, “and to know that those families can see an openly queer player on Sundays is just what I think the world needed.”
Russell has not yet signed with a team after previously playing for the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He opened up to ESPN in August about being “a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man.”
“Love is faithful, Love is kind, It doesn’t brag or boast,” Russell wrote of O’Brien on Instagram in August, “But when I tell the world you’re mine, I tend to brag the most.”
He has also been featured in Funny or Die segments and on Snapchat’s show Sexiest Dance Moves. After moving back to Los Angeles, he appeared in episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race and on ABC’s Rose Bowl New Year’s Parade. He was also in Iggy Azalea’s music video for “Started.”
In addition to his professional gigs, O’Brien hosts workshops around the country to teach contemporary, jazz-funk, technique and more.