The host, who has been on UK television screens since the mid-1980s, came out on social media before talking about his decision to come out on This Morning.
This Morning host Phillip Schofield announced earlier today that he is gay. In a statement posted on social media, and later released to the press by ITV, he stated:
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 heart-breaking 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 still I can’t sleep and there have been some very dark moments.
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 comes only from the hurt that I am causing to my family.
Steph has been incredible – I love her so very much. She is the kindest soul I have ever met. My girls have been astonishing in their love, hugs and encouraging 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. 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.
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 of 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 and Holly have hosted This Morning, Monday to Thursdays since 2009.
Other This Morning co-hosts have included Fern Britton (left) and Ruth Langsford (right).
Following the announcement This Morning Friday hosts Eammon Holmes and Ruth Langsford handed over to Holly Willoughby who spoke to Phillip about his coming out. Holly began by saying, “I’ve never been more proud of my friend than I am today”
Phillip, who came to television prominence in the UK as the continuity announcer for Children’s BBC in the 1980s and later co-host of Saturday morning youth magazine series Going Live! alongside Sarah Greene, said he decided now was the right time to reveal who he really is.
“Wow. It’s funny because, everyone I’ve spoken to… you, have all been so supportive, and so loving and caring and my entire family, to a person, have grabbed us and said, ‘It’s ok, it’s ok, we love you, we’re proud of you’ and every person I tell, it gets a little lighter and lighter. But at the same time, I have made my decision, which is essential for me and essential for my head and it’s principle the reason why I’ve done this. Of course I’m really very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this, and we’re all together and we’ve spent a lot of time together. and they’ve been supporting us to this moment as they all knew it was coming. So yeah, I feel a little lighter but I’m also very, very aware, there’s no question it causes pain and upset.”
His main concern is for his family, with the focus on wife of 27-years Steph and his two grown-up daughters. Schofield went on to note how he ‘had to deal with this in my head for quite some time.’ But since realising he was gay had been open with his family adding, ‘I’ve never had any secrets, we’ve never had any secrets.’
“We’ve been honest and open. .. Steph… I can’t write in any statement what I feel about that woman. She’s amazing, she’s incredible. There is no one in my life who would have supported me the way… as a wife, as the way she’s supported me. She’s astonishing, literally astonishing.”
Telly break, Phillip in the Broom Cupboard at BBC Television Centre hosting Children’s BBC.
Stephanie and Phillip Schofield on How To Spend It Well at Christmas for ITV in 2019.
Holly then went on to ask why Phillip had made the decision to announce it now, and Phillip revealed that ‘this has been bothering me for a very long time.’ and noted that ‘everybody does these things at their own speed, at their own time, when they feel time is right and there’s no question that it has, in recent times, consumed my head and has become an issue in my head,’ emotionally he continued speaking to Holly about it adding that he ‘got to the stage where I thought, ‘We sit here every day and I’m over there and some amazingly brave, incredible person is sitting here and I’m listening to their story and thinking ‘Oh my god, you’re so brave’ and I’m thinking ‘I have to be that person’.’
“I think all you can be in your life is honest with yourself and I was getting to the point where I knew I wasn’t honest with myself. I was getting to the point where I didn’t like myself very much because I wasn’t being honest with myself. And so, ‘When is the right time to do it?. As a family, it’s the right time. There are people around the world, there are people in this country, there are people watching this. We always say ‘Talk to someone’ and believe me, believe me, when we say that – you must talk to someone’. I have and it’s helped a lot and it’s brought me back from… when I mention those dark places in that statement, talking to people does bring you back. In some cases talking to people saves you. You have to discuss it with my friends, my family, my wife. We’ve talked it through and you have to talk it through.”
Whenever someone makes such a statement on their private lives invariably people assume that the celebrity has been forced, usually by a gutter tabloid threatening to expose them, however when asked about this by Holly he made clear his reasons were entirely personal and no other outside interferences had pushed him into making the statement.
“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.'”
Holly added, in support, ‘You can’t change who you are” with Phillip observing, “…I will sit here and say, ‘Actually I am proud of myself today’. And I am proud of myself today.” At the end of the segment the pair were joined by Ruth and Eammon who all hugged, and Phillip received applause from the studio crew.
This Morning, weekdays on ITV, STV and UTV from 10am.
Holly interviews Phillip following his coming out.