Phillip Schofield, the co-presenter of ITV’s This Morning, has announced he is gay. [Phillip Schofield, ITV presenter announces he is gay]
In a statement released on the program’s Twitter account, the presenter, who has been married to his wife for almost 27 years, paid tribute to his family.
“With the strength and support of my wife and my daughters, I have been coming to terms with the fact I am gay,” he said.
The 57-year-old also said he had cried on the shoulder of his co-presenter, Holly Willoughby. And he wrote about his “inner conflict”, contrasting it with “a world that has changed so much for the better”.
“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.”
He ended with a plea for people to be kind, “especially to my family”.
ITV show host appeals for kindness, particularly to wife and daughters who support him
Friday’s edition of This Morning is presented by Eamon Holmes and Ruth Langsford but Schofield and Willoughby appeared at the beginning of the program to discuss his announcement.
Schofield said the decision to go public was not forced on him but he made it because “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”.
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He said he felt “lighter” as a result while acknowledging that, given his marriage, “it causes pain and upset”.
Asked about why he was going public now, he said: “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.”
Willoughby said she could “feel the relief” from her fellow co-presenter and pledged to stand by him “forever and ever”.
Schofield said everyone he had spoken to had been supportive and this was reflected by the positive reaction from fellow celebrities on social media.
The actor and comedian David Walliams said on Twitter: “I am sending all my love to Phillip Schofield today. I have always held him in the highest regard, and now have nothing but respect and admiration for him.
“Let’s hope we are moving towards a world where no one has to come out anymore, they can just be who they are and celebrate that.”
The presenter and stylist Gok Wan commended Schofield’s “bravery”, while the comedian Matt Lucas said: “I’m not surprised about Philip Schofield. Growing up I remember him presenting with Gordon the Gopher from inside that closet!
“Joking aside, that cannot have been an easy statement to make. People come out at different stages in their lives. Good luck Philip.”
Phillip Schofield made his name in the 1980s as a presenter on Children’s BBC before going on to host the popular Saturday morning show Going Live! He has presented This Morning since 2002 and hosts Dancing on Ice.
Schofield married Stephanie Lowe in 1993 and they have two adult daughters, Molly and Ruby.