Phillip Schofield has come out as gay.
The This Morning star, who has been married to wife Steph for 27 years, released a statement on his Instagram story, sharing that he is ‘coming terms to the fact that he is gay’.
The 57-year-old wrote: ‘You never know what’s going on in someone’s seemingly perfect life, what issues they are struggling with, or the state of their wellbeing – and so you won’t know what has been consuming me for the last few years. With the strength and support of my wife and my daughters, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay.
‘This is something that has caused many heartbreaking conversations at home. I have been married to Steph for nearly 27 years, and we have two beautiful grown-up daughters, Molly and Ruby.
‘My family have held me so close: they have tried to cheer me up, to smother me with kindness and love, despite their own confusion. Yet I still can’t sleep and there have been some very dark moments.’
He continued: ‘My inner conflict contrasts with an outside world that has changed so very much for the better. Today, quite rightly, being gay is a reason to celebrate and be proud. Yes, I am feeling pain and confusion, but that only comes from the hurt I am causing for my family.
‘Steph has been incredible – I love her so very much. She is the kindest soul that I have ever met. My girls have been astonishing in their love, hugs and encouraging and words of comfort. Both mine and Steph’s entire families have stunned me with their love, instant acceptance and support. Of course they are worried about Steph, but I know they will scoop us both up.’
Phil then praised This Morning and Dancing On Ice co-host Holly Willoughby, saying: ‘My friends are the best, especially Holly, who has been so kind and wise – and who has hugged me as I sobbed on her shoulder. At ITV, I couldn’t hope to work with more wonderful, supportive teams.’
The star concluded: ‘Every day on This Morning, I sit in awe of those we meet who have been brave and open in confronting their truth – so now it’s my turn to share mine.
‘This will probably all come as something as a surprise and I understand, but only by facing this, by being honest, can I hope to find peace in my mind and a way forward.
‘Please be kind, especially to my family. Phillip.’
Despite not usually appearing on This Morning on Fridays, Phil joined Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on today’s edition of the show to discuss his emotional announcement.
Holly also joined her friend in studio.
Speaking to Holly about his wife Steph, a tearful Phil said: ‘This is not something that’s happened quickly. I’ve had to deal with this in my head for quite some time. We’ve gone through this together, we’ve been honest and we’ve been open, and Steph, as I said… I can’t write in any statement what I feel about that woman.
‘She is amazing. She’s incredible. There is no one in my life who would have supported me, as a wife, the way she’s supported me. She’s astonishing, literally astonishing.’
Holly asked ‘why now’, with Phil saying: ‘The thing is, you know this has been bothering me for a very long time. I think everybody does these things at their own speed, their own time, when they feel the time is right. There’s no question that this, in recent times, consumed my head.’
He also told his colleagues: ‘It’s funny because everyone I have spoken to, you have all been so supportive.
‘Every person I tell it gets a little lighter, it is essential for me and my head, and of course, I am very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this. There is no question that this has caused pain and upset.’
Holly said that Phil hadn’t been forced into making his statement, with the Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat star agreeing: ‘No. This is my decision. This is my decision. This is absolutely my decision. It was something I knew that I had to do. And I don’t know what the world will be like no, I don’t know how this will be taken or what people will think.
‘But what I would say is, “Yes I am very, very conscious of the hurt and so my overriding emotion for my family is obviously going to be guilt because I do feel guilty that this can’t be anything other than a painful process”.
But at the same time, I will sit here and say, “Actually I am proud of myself today”. And I am proud of myself today.’
Holly said: ‘Telling your daughters can’t have been easy’ with an emotional Phil replying: ‘It wasn’t easy but they were… they are so amazing in their love and support. I sat them down and I told them, and they jumped up and gave me a big hug and then they hugged Steph and they said, “It’s ok”.
‘We’ll always be a family. Always, us four, is what we call ourselves. My mum has been on the phone all morning.’
Phil added that he wasn’t looking for a relationship, saying: ‘No, I’m not thinking there. I’m doing each day at a time now and this has always been a slow process. There is no fast process after this. This is the big day and this is the day I knew everything was pointing towards. And I could not have done it if I hadn’t been you.’
Holly said: ‘Whatever happens in the future, I’ll be sat by your side, forever and ever.’
Ahead of the show, Holly shared a tribute to her colleague, writing on social media: ‘Never been more proud of my friend than I am today.’
Phil married Stephanie Lowe in 1993, and they are parents to Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24.
Following his statement, the Dancing On Ice host has been praised by celebrities, fans and LGBTQ+ organisations for being so honest.
Stonewall wrote: ‘Incredibly brave and moving announcement from Phillip Schofield this morning. It takes a lot of courage and is always a hugely personal decision to be open about who you are. Congrats Phillip.’
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