He struggled with bullying as a child and teen, and came out as gay in 2015
Rippon has been quite open in interviews about the bullying he faced growing up in rural Pennsylvania, and how he attempted to change his mannerisms in an effort to get other kids to stop picking on him for acting gay. He's described skating as his refuge.
"When I found skating, it was something that was individual, and it was something that I could focus on being my best," he recently told the show Here and Now. "And I loved the whole practice and I also loved performing. It was probably the first time I felt really good about myself and that I was good at something, because I always liked being athletic. I enjoyed playing the other sports. I just sucked at them."
In 2015, Rippon chose to come out publicly in an interview with Skate magazine.
"For a really long time I'd look in the mirror and I wouldn't know who was looking back at me and I wouldn't really like who was looking back at me, and it took me a really long time to own who I was," he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "And when I was able to own who I was, that's when I had my most success."
A year later, he won the 2016 US Championship.