Phillip Schofield says best friend Holly Willoughby was ‘like therapy’ after he came out as gay

·2-min read
 (Rex Features)
(Rex Features)

Phillip Schofield has praised Holly Willoughby for her friendship after coming out as gay.

The daytime presenter, 59, said he feels lucky to have had Holly’s unwavering support after publicly sharing his sexuality last year.

Looking back on the revelation, Schofield admitted he was surprised by the huge reaction from fans, with many telling him he “saved them”.

In a joint interview with Holly, 40, he referred to his best friend as being “therapy” throughout his journey.

Speaking from the This Morning green room, he told The Times Magazine: “To think how lucky I am to have been able to have worked through all of this [and] to have had the therapy that Holly’s given me all the way through.

“I have been broadcasting a long time, but I never thought I’d actually broadcast through something like this.”

Schofield revealed his sexuality on Instagram in February 2020. At the time he had been married to his wife Stephanie Lowe for almost 27 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 wrote.

The ITV host then appeared on This Morning when he discussed his news with Holly and broke down in tears.

Reflecting on that moment, Schofield said there was an “element of selfishness” because he had been protecting himself.

But he said he was touched by the warm response from fans who felt able to confide in him not only about matters of sexuality but other personal struggles such as gambling and alcohol.

“I suddenly realised, and it was highlighted through lockdown, the number of people who said, ‘you just saved my life. What you did has saved me. I took strength in what you did and I have spoken to someone,’” he added.

Earlier this year, This Morning scored its highest ratings in 19 years

The first four weeks of the year reportedly saw the the flagship show’s figures up almost 50 per cent on the same time last year.

Schofield says the key to the pair’s success is that they are best friends.

They dismissed recent rumours of a rift between them which they described as “nonsense.”

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