TV presenter Phillip Schofield has come out as gay in a statement made on his Instagram account.
The This Morning presenter, who has been married to Stephanie Lowe for 27 years, said: “With the strength and support of my wife and my daughters, I have been coming to the terms with the fact that I am gay.”
“This is something that has caused many heart-breaking conversations at home,” he wrote. “I have been married to Steph for nearly 27 years, and we have two beautiful grown-up daughters, Molly and Ruby. My family has held me so close: they have tried to cheer me up, to smother me with kindness and love, despite their own confusion. Yet I still can’t sleep and there have been some very dark moments.
“My inner conflict contrasts with an outside world that has changed so 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 only comes from the hurt that I am causing to my family.”
He continued: “Steph has been incredible – I love her so very much. She is the kindest soul I have ever met. My girls have been astonishing in their love, hugs and encouraging words of comfort. Both mine and Steph’s families have stunned me with their love, instant acceptance, and support.
“Of course they are worried about Steph, but I know they will scoop us both up. My friends are the best, especially Holly, who has been so kind as 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.”
He added: “Every day on This Morning, I sit in awe of those we meet who have been brave and open in confronting their truth – so now it’s my turn to share mine. This will probably all come as something of a surprise and I understand, but only by facing this, by being honest, can I hope to find peace in my mind and a way forward.”
Schofield began his media career in 1982 when he worked in New Zealand radio before taking a job at the BBC.
He hosted shows including Schofield’s Quest before he landed his role as This Morning co-host in 2002 with Fern Britton.
He has co-hosted This Morning with Holly Willoughby for more than a decade, with the pair known for their high-spirited presenting style.
Willoughby wrote on Instagram: “Never been more proud of my friend than I am today.”
A number of celebrities expressed their support for Schofield on Twitter.
Pointless host Richard Osman tweeted: “When you create a new entertainment show and start discussing who should host, the first name on the list is always Phillip Schofield. That’s a fact. He’s just the very best at what he does, and the public adores him. Looking forward to many more years of his charm and brilliance.”
After his statement on Instagram, Schofield appeared on This Morning with Willougby, Ruth Langsford and Eammon Holmes, where he spoke further about his decision to come out.
He said his daughters have been “fantastic” and told Willougby: “It’s funny because everyone I’ve spoken to have all been so supportive and loving and caring.”
He added: “Every person I tell it gets a little lighter and a little lighter. At the same time, I’ve made this decision which is essential for me and my head. Of course, I’m really very aware that Steph and the girls are watching this and we are all together. They have been supporting us as we get to this moment.”