Phillip Schofield thanks wife and daughters for support as he comes out as gay

Tom Butler
Senior Editor

This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield has come out as gay in a post shared on Instagram.

“With the strength and support of my wife and my daughters, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay,” the 57-year-old presenter, one of the most recognisable TV personalities in the UK, wrote.

Schofield has been married to his wife, Steph, for 27 years, and they have two grown-up daughters together. The news has been met with widespread support from fans and celebrities alike.

“This is something that has caused many heart-breaking conversations at home. 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.”

Phillip Schofield pictured in 2017. The presenter is one of the most recognisable faces on British TV. (WireImage)

Schofield's statement, also shared on the official This Morning Twitter account, added: "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.”

Read more: Phillip Schofield’s statement in full

He thanked his This Morning co-presenter Holly Willoughby for her support saying she has been “so kind and wise” adding that she “has hugged me as I sobbed on her shoulder”.

The TV personality, who also presents Dancing On Ice, praised the guests on This Morning who “have been brave and open in confronting their truth - so now it’s my turn to share mine”.

The post shared by Phillip Schofield on his Instagram story. (Instagram/@schofe)

Read more: Holly Willoughby shares support for Phillip Schofield

Holly Willoughby wrote on Instagram that she has “never been more proud of my friend than I am today”.

Appearing on This Morning on Friday morning, Willoughby told Schofield: "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.

"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.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have presented the show for more than 10 years. (ITV/Joel Anderson)

"They have been supporting this as, we got to this moment."

He added: "I feel a little lighter but I'm also very aware, there is no question that it causes pain and it causes upset."

He said he has "no secrets" from his wife, adding: "We have never had any secrets.

"It's tough, this is not something that has happened quickly, I've had to deal with this in my head for quite some time. We've been honest and open."

"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," Schofield wrote. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

Asked why he was announcing it now, he said: "It's a good question, the thing is you know this has been bothering me for a very long time, everybody does these things at their own speed, when they think the time is right.

"It has consumed my head, and has become an issue in my head."

Read more: Celebrities show support for Schofield online

Schofield added: "I got to the stage where I think 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, thinking 'Oh my god, you're so brave' and I'm thinking 'I have to be that person'.

"All you can be in your life is honest with yourself and I was getting to the point where I wasn't being honest with myself and I didn't like myself very much because I wasn't being honest with myself."

Schofield added that it has helped to talk to someone, saying: "It's brought me back from some dark places. Talking to someone does bring you back and sometimes talking to people saves you."

Phillip Schofield pictured in 1985 as a presenter on Children's BBC. (Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)

He also said that his hand had not been forced to share the news, saying: "It's my decision, this is absolutely my decision, it was something I knew I had to do."

Willoughby said she could "feel the relief" from her fellow co-presenter.

Asked if he was considering a relationship with someone else at this time, Schofield said: "I don't think so, I'm not thinking there, I'm doing each day at a time now.

Schofield in 1987, left, with fellow presenter Sarah Greene, and in the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in 1996 (right). (PA)

"And this has always been a slow process and there's no fast process after, this was the big day, and this was the day I knew that everything was pointing towards and I could not have done it if it hadn't been you, so afterwards I don't know, there's no one, I'm not rushing to anybody."

Willoughby offered words of support saying she would be by his side "for ever and ever".

The duo were then joined by fellow This Morning presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

After a round of hugs, 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."

He added that he and wife Ruth would be "the first to stand by you".

Phillip Schofield and his wife, Stephanie Lowe, at the National Television Awards in January 2019. (Photo by Joe Maher/WireImage)

As well as receiving huge support from colleagues and fellow celebrities, Schofield's move was praised by LGBT charities and groups across the country.

The LGBT Foundation Tweeted: "Coming out at any time is a challenging and momentous decision and we are so proud that you have been able to share this with us @schofe. Your courage and bravery will give strength and inspiration to many others."

Equality charity Stonewall said: "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."

Phillip Schofield began his TV career as a continuity announcer for Children’s BBC in 1985. He presented the BBC’s flagship Saturday morning children’s show Going Live! from 1987-1993, and moved on to adult-oriented television in the early 1990s.

He has been a presenter on This Morning since 2002.