The Prime Minister told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett how her husband Philip broke the news and gave her a hug to console her.
Mrs May admitted she was “devastated” by the outcome of the June 8 vote and admitted it had come as a “complete shock”.
— BBC Radio 5 live (@bbc5live) July 13, 2017
She said: “I was shocked at the result that had come through in the exit poll. It took a few minutes to sink in and my husband gave me a hug.
“He’s been a huge support for me over the years there are times when I get him to read a newspaper article for me and tell me what it says.”
Reflecting on hearing the result for the first time, Mrs May went on: “I felt devastated.
“I knew the campaign wasn’t going perfectly but the messages I was getting were that we were going to get a better result than we did…
“I shed a little tear at that moment.”
In a wide ranging interview, the Prime Minister said she did not think about resigning as she felt a “responsibility” to the country.
She said: “You have a responsibility, you’re a human being but I was there as leader of the party and Prime Minister but I had a responsibility then and throughout the night to determine what we would do in the morning…
“I didn’t consider stepping down because I felt there was a responsibility there that the country needed a government.”
Asked if she was embarrassed to face the British public the day after the shock result, Mrs May said: “The result was a shock but I think once you take that on board you have to ask what is right for the British Government in the future.
“At that point I felt what was important was giving people the confidence of knowing there was going to be a government dealing with the issues.”
Mrs May was defiant when questioned about her lack of humility on the steps of Downing Street, where she was criticised for not acknowledging her lost majority.
She added: “I think it is important that I as Prime Minister and we as a government show humility by listening to the message we got in the election and respond to that by the issues that we deal with.”
Pressed on whether she had a new found respect for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who surpassed expectations of how many seats the party would win, Mrs May was hesitant – but praised him as a “good constituency MP” for his actions following the Finsbury Park terror attack.
Mrs May’s future as leader has been cast into doubt following the election result, with many believing she is too weak to stay on much longer.
However, she refused to speculate on a date when she would quit, merely stating: “I’m getting down to work. I’ve been involved in politics for a long time.
“I’ve been driven by a sense of duty and making a difference in people’s lives and as Prime Minister i want to get on with the job of changing people’s lives and making the country better.”
Top pic: Rex