Phillip Schofield has announced he is gay.
The 57-year-old TV presenter – who has been married to wife Stephanie Lowe since 1993 – shared a statement on social media and then appeared live on ‘This Morning’ today (07.02.20) alongside his co-host Holly Willoughby to speak about how he is feeling.
Holly said she has "never been more proud of my friend than I have today", and read out Phil’s statement, before he reflected on how he is feeling.
He said: "It’s funny, because everyone I’ve spoken to, you, have all been so supportive, 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.’
"Every person I tell it gets a little lighter and a little lighter.
"I’m really very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this, and we’re all together.
"We spent a lot of time together and they’ve been supporting us as we got to this moment.
"I feel a little lighter but I’m very aware there is no question it causes pain and upset.
"We’ve never had any secrets."
Asked how Steph is coping, he said: "It’s tough. We’ve gone through this together. I have to deal with this for quite some time.
"I can’t wait in any statement what I feel.
"She is amazing, she is incredible. There is no one in my life who would have supported me in the way she has supported me."
Holly said some viewers may be questioning why he has decided to come out now.
Phil – who has two daughters – replied: "You know, this has been bothering me for a very long time.
"There’s no question that it has in recent times, consumed my head. And has become an issue in my head. So I got to the stage where I thought, ‘We sit here every day and some amazingly brave person is over here and I’m thinking ‘You’re so brave, you’re so brave.’ "And I’m thinking, ‘I have to be that person, I have to be that person. All you can be is honest with yourself. "I was getting to the point where I didn’t like myself. So when is the right time?
"We always say to talk to someone and believe me, I have and it has helped a lot. It’s brought me back. Talking to people does bring you back and in some cases talking to people saves you. And you have to discuss it, with my friends, with my family, with my wife.
"You have to talk it through. It’s absolutely my decision. It was something I knew I had to do.
"I don’t know what the world will be like now, I don’t know how this will be taken and what people will think.
"I’m very conscious about the hurt.
"My overriding emotion is guilt. But I will sit here and say I am proud of myself today."
Phil then broke down in tears while talking about his daughters.
He added: "I wasn’t easy [telling my daughters]. But they are so amazing in their love and support. They jumped up and gave me a hug, a big hug, a long hug. They hugged Steph and said, ‘It’s OK, this is fine.’
"We will always be a family. We’ll always be that.
"My mum has been on the phone all morning, ‘Hope you’re OK.’ I told her and she said, ‘OK, I don’t care.’ And that’s the same with everyone."Asked about a potential new relationship, he said: "I don’t think so, I’m not thinking there. I’m doing each day at a time now. This has always been a slow process. There is no fast process after this. This was the day I knew everything was pointed towards. "I couldn’t have done it if it hadn’t been you."
Holly said she will be sat by his side "whatever happens" in the future, and the crew then gave him a round of applause, and he was embraced by Ruth Langsford.
Eamonn Holmes then said: "Nobody should be embarrassed about their sexuality. It’s fantastic you have spoken you. We are all here by your side. We will be the first to stand beside you."
Ruth told Phil: "And breathe."
Eamonn joked he thought Phil was going to say he had resigned and that he could have his job.
Speaking about Holly, Phil said: "This is the sister I’ve never had."
And speaking to the crew, he said: "I’m very proud of this unbelievable team, you are all amazing and I love you very much."
He had earlier said in a statement: "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 for the last few years. With the strength and support of my wife and my daughter, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay.
"This is something that has caused many heart-breaking conversation 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."
Phil also praised his "incredible" wife Steph, admitting he loves her "so very much".
Phillip Schofield: I’m gay
Phillip Schofield has announced he is gay.