Holly Willoughby has led the support for her co-presenter Phillip Schofield following his announcement that he has “been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay”.
This Morning host Schofield, who has been married for nearly 27 years, made the announcement via an Instagram post on Friday.
Willoughby lent her support with her own Instagram post, sharing a picture of the pair together with the caption: “Never been more proud of my friend than I am today. We’ll be together at 10am on This Morning x”.
Appearing on the programme by his side on the same morning, Willoughby offered her support saying she would be by his side “for ever and ever”.
She told her co-presenter: “I know that is something you have been living with, that inner conflict, for a long time.”
He added: “It’s funny because everyone I have spoken to, you, have all been so supportive, so loving and caring.
“My entire family, to a person, have grabbed us and said ‘It’s OK, we love you, we are proud of you,’ and every person I tell, it gets a little lighter and a little lighter.”
He added: “But at the same time I’ve made this decision, which is essential for me and for my head, which is the reason why I’ve done this, I’m very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this.
“They have been supporting this as, we got to this moment.”
The duo were joined by fellow This Morning presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, who exchanged hugs with them.
Holmes said: “Nobody should be embarrassed about their sexuality and it’s fantastic you have spoken out and there will be so many people who have been strengthened by what you’ve said,” adding that he and wife Ruth would be “the first to stand by you”.
In his statement, Schofield 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.”
He went on: “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.”
He paid tribute to his wife, calling her “the kindest soul I have ever met” and said both his and her families had stunned him with “their love, instant acceptance and support”.
He added: “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.”