Aaron Hernandez's high school gay lover has spoken on camera for the first time about their secret relationship.
Dennis SanSoucie told Investigation Discovery how the pair first began exploring a sexual relationship in middle school, which continued into high school.
He also revealed the NFL star was 'tired depressed and struggling' at the time of his suicide behind bars in 2017. Hernandez had been serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
He first began exploring a sexual relationship with his friend in middle school, which SanSoucie said continued into high school.
SanSoucie spoke out in a new documentary about Hernandez's life and their relationship, telling filmmakers: 'We prided ourselves on sports and if anyone knew that we had gay sexual activity together our lives would be ruined.
'It didn't matter what age we were, we wouldn't even know how to live with ourselves. We had shared some sexual activity together and it continued into high school but we didn't want anyone to know.
'We were just in complete denial of what was really going on.'
Hernandez's death came just a few days after he was acquitted of most charges in the fatal shooting of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012 after a confrontation at a nightclub.
SanSoucie, who later joined the US Marines, only himself decided to come out to his family and friends after Hernandez's death.
The two were on the same Bristol Central High School's football team as teens.
He added: 'Me and Aaron always had a great relationship and bond, but in middle school it had progressed to just more than friends.
'We were just in complete denial of what was really going on. But I think it was something that we both were naturally born with.'
It was in high school that Hernandez began to publicly date Shayanna Jenkins, who would later become his fiancee and mother of his child.
Hernandez, who had a five-year, $40 million deal with the Patriots at the time of his arrest, was found guilty in 2015 of killing semi-professional football player Lloyd.
He was then accused and acquitted of shooting dead two men in 2012 after a confrontation at a nightclub.
In July last year his estate settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by their families of two men he was acquitted of killing.
Court records show that a Superior Court judge issued an order of dismissal of the suit brought by the families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
After his death, doctors found the 27-year-old Hernandez had advanced chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to concussions and other head trauma commonplace in the NFL.
SanSoucie said: 'He was tired, depressed, struggling, what was he supposed to do? he wasn't gonna come clean. I mean, he couldn't.'
Hernandez's story has already inspired a documentary aired on Oxygen, a '48 Hours' special and books by bestselling author James Patterson and Hernandez's defense lawyer, Jose Baez.
Netflix will also release its own documentary, 'Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez' on January 15.
Transcripts the Bristol County sheriff released last year of more than 900 jailhouse telephone conversations Hernandez had with family and friends showed he expected to be released from jail and resume his football career shortly after his arrest for Lloyd's killing.
A state police report of the investigation into Hernandez's death said the player wrote 'John 3:16,' a reference to a Bible verse, in ink on his forehead and in blood on a cell wall. The verse says: 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'
A Bible was nearby, open to John 3:16, with the verse marked by a drop of blood. And authorities said Hernandez was a member of the Bloods street gang and had been disciplined for having gang paraphernalia in prison.