Cody Simpson has credited Aussie swim champion girlfriend Emma McKeown for keeping him grounded and helping him head down the right path. The swim couple first went public with their relationship in June 2022, and the 26-year-old says McKeown has helped him avoid the pitfalls of Hollywood superstardom.
Simpson found fame at a young age as a music star but put his singing career on hold in 2019 to chase his dream of qualifying for the 2024 Olympics. The musician-turned-swimmer told NewsCorp that swimming competitively deterred him from falling into a dangerous lifestyle.
"I've changed 1000 per cent. I've changed and grown and evolved in ways I didn't think possible in the last three years," he said. "In my emotional maturity and stability, in my general health and my mental health and well-being. I feel fortunate because before, when I was overseas, the thought of swimming again – which remained at the back of my mind – always stopped me from falling too deeply into a lifestyle that isn't too good for me, and which is very prevalent in Hollywood, especially if you're young and successful and everything is thrown at you.
"For a second there, I was on the edge. You know, you're in your late teens, and you have this level of success, and that means you can have everything you want, and anything you want, and it's intoxicating."
Simpson, however, says a large part of what has kept him grounded is his relationship with McKeon. "Emma is a huge part of my life, and has been such a positive influence on me in terms of keeping me grounded since we met," Simpson added.
"She is a really calming presence, she has really helped me, and she just impresses me so much, she is such a wonderful person. She just inspires me because, you know, I said to her (after Tokyo) a lot of other people who have done what you've done would act very differently about this. Her humility is so impressive, and it makes me want to be more like that – to be more like her."
Simpson backflips on decision to hang up the goggles after the Paris Games
Simpson had previously suggested the Paris Games may be his last and a recent social media post seemed to all but confirm the news. "I've been doing this every day for over three years now," Simpson wrote on Instagram. "There are only eight months left in my swimming journey which I believe calls for more content and updates on the path."
However, he has since edited the post, pointing to his swimming career potentially continuing after the Olympics. "Eight months left in my preparation," he wrote. "For clarity, the reports on my retirement are greatly exaggerated. Who the hell knows?"
Simpson will attempt to qualify for Paris in the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle events. The men's qualifying time for the 2024 Games in the 100m freestyle is 48.34 and for the 100m butterfly is 51.67.
Simpson’s best times are 49.11 in the 100m freestyle and 51.78 in the 100m butterfly, both currently outside the qualifying times for Paris. At the close of his swimming journey Simpson has previously stated that he will return to pursuing a professional music career.
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