Holly Willoughby threw her support behind This Morning co-host Phillip Schofield after the TV veteran came out as gay on Friday.
Taking to Instagram, Holly, 38, expressed her pride for Schofield, with whom she has presented the daily chat show since 2009, alongside a picture of the pair at an awards ceremony.
She wrote: ‘Never been more proud of my friend than I am today. We’ll be together at 10am on This Morning.’
Moments earlier Schofield, 57, took to Instagram to reveal the news in a lengthy and impassioned post before appearing on the magazine show to discuss the news with co-star and best friend Holly.
After 27 years of marriage to his wife Steph, he has now revealed that he has suffered ‘inner conflict’ and is now ready to ‘celebrate and be proud’ of his sexuality.
Fellow friends of Phillip’s, Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly tweeted their support for him and his family following his brave announcement.
They wrote: ‘Huge respect and admiration for our friend @schofe. Sending love to you P, and to your 3 lovely girls.’
Commending the star, TV doctor Ranj Singh reposted the presenter’s statement, writing: ‘Coming to terms with & being your authentic self is never easy, especially in the public eye.
‘What @Schofe has done is incredibly courageous, powerful & will help so many. I am beaming with pride for him. I’m even more proud of his wonderful family who seem so wonderful.’
‘Heard the news @thismorning sending all the love to @Schofe the girls and Steph,’ posted Rylan Clark-Neal. ‘And well done to all at this morning for a beautiful interview. No matter who you are or at what point in life everyone deserves to be their true self.’
Fellow presenter Richard Osman added: ‘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 adore him. Looking forward to many more years of his charm and brilliance.’
Steps star Ian ‘H’ Watkins, who works with Schofield on Sunday night talent show Dancing On Ice, wrote: ‘Bravo Phillip for your honesty.. Coming out is difficult but your family, friends and fans will be proud of you being your authentic self..
‘I’m proud of your bravery.. Welcome officially to our beautiful rainbow family! We and our ally’s will keep you safe.’
James Corden penned: ‘Incredibly proud of @schofe today. For anyone struggling today know that you are brave and you are loved.’
Taking to Twitter, Dermot O’Leary paid tribute to the star, writing: ‘Sending big love to the Schofield and his family, @Schofe Stand up guy, heart of a lion.’
While David Walliams added: ‘I am sending all my love to @Schofe today. I have always held him in the highest regard, ans 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.’
Sharing a picture of herself an Schofield, Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh wrote: ‘A brilliant moment of utter honesty and bravery by this man @Schofe on coming out as gay today, and the impact on others who still feel fear of living their truth will be enormous. Sending you love.’
Reflecting on the presenter’s tight bond with co-host Holly, Emily Atack added: ‘The power of friendship, love and support always prevails.’
Former Coronation Street star Beverly Turner, who was scheduled to appear on This Morning at 10:30am, watched the interview backstage.
Taking to Twitter with a screen grab of his appearance, she wrote: ‘Watching @Schofe do the toughest interview of his life.’
Meanwhile Peter Andre added: ‘Just when I though I couldn’t love this person more. Honest, open and most importantly happy.’
Elsewhere reality star Charlie King reflected on the day Schofield helped him come to terms with his own sexuality.
Taking to Twitter, he wrote: ‘I will never forget the day I came out @Schofe. It was to you, on your show and you were the most supportive, reassuring, positive person to me that day.
‘So if there is anything I can do in return, it’s offer you the same support and say well done, it takes courage. Proud of you.’
Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson shared a similar sentiment, admitting Holly and Phil were the first people he told about his homosexuality.
Sharing a throwback picture from his time on the show, he wrote: ‘Philip and holly were the first people I told on @thismorning 10 years ago …letting me be brave and honest and confronting my truth… it was the best thing I did and have nothing but love and respect for him today ALL hail scofe!!!!!
Writing from South Africa, where she’s currently hosting Love Island, Laura Whitmore shared a snap of Phillip in his Technicolour Dreamcoat, writing: ‘So much love for @Schofe and Steph and his entire family! All the love.’
Robbie Williams tweeted: ‘Love you Phillip Schofield.’
While Emmerdale actor Danny Miller added: ‘Couldn’t be prouder of my pal @Schofe on the huge step he’s taken today. For anyone, it’s intimidating. But being exposed to the nation as a public figure of his level is another world. Here’s to a new life, my friend.’
Good Morning Britain’s Kate Garraway shared: ‘No one should have to feel pain about their sexual orientation – I hope you know how loved you are @schofe. Sending big hugs & support to you and your wonderful family.’
With her co-star Charlotte Hawkins adding: ‘Huge love for @schofetoday on what has been a momentous day for him. I can’t imagine what it must have been like coming to the decision to talk about this publicly. Such bravery in speaking out, & let’s hope others…’
Love Island’s Dr Alex George penned: I have so much respect for @Schofe.’
Huge love for @schofe today on what has been a momentous day for him. I can’t imagine what it must have been like coming to the decision to talk about this publicly. Such bravery in speaking out, & let’s hope others
Matt Goss commented: ‘@schofe We have known you our entire careers and you have always been a gentleman. I pridefully say congratulations on your courage, grace & humility in the way you delivered such personal information to your family and to the public. we love you, you are a national treasure!’
Former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips added: ‘Sending so much love to @Schofe. Such a beautiful display of bravery today on @ITV @thismorningtalking to @hollywills. I’m a true believer in be who you want to be, live as you want to live, speak out when you need to & you’ll find that people will love you for it.’
With Gemma Collins adding: ‘sending so much love to you right now.’
Schofield, who shares daughters Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24, with his wife, spoke on This Morning about his battles with keeping his secret and the relief of coming out.
He met Stephanie when she was a BBC production Assistant and he was working for the BBC Children’s television.
He said at the time: ‘You’d have thought someone wouldn’t be attracted to a man with a puppet and dodgy jumpers! She worked in television years ago, that was how we met, so she can do it, she just doesn’t want to these days.’
In his statement, Phillip wrote: ‘You never know what’s going on in someone’s seemingly perfect life, what issues they are struggling with, or the state of their wellbeing – and so you won’t know what has been consuming me for the last few 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.
‘This is something that has caused many heart-breaking conversations at home. I have been married to Steph for nearly 27 years, and we have two beautiful grown-up daughters, Molly and Ruby…
‘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.
‘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..
‘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 entire 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 us.
‘My friends are the best, especially Holly, who has been so kind and 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…
‘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 and I understand, but only by facing this, by being honest, can I hope to find peace in my mind and a way forward. Please be kind, especially to my family. Phillip’.
Phillip later spoke on This Morning about his battles with keeping his secret and the relief of coming out. Phil met Stephanie when she was a BBC production Assistant and he was working for the BBC Children’s television.
The couple’s last public appearance was at the National Television Awards last Wednesday. They appeared together on festive show How to Spend It Well at Christmas in December.
Kicking off the subject, supportive Holly said: ‘I think we all just take a breath at that point, reading that I can hear your voice the pain how difficult it is for you, this is a big day, I know this is something you’ve been living with for a really long time’.
Phil responded: ‘It’s funny because everyone I’ve spoken to, and you, have all been so supportive and so loving and caring, and my entire family to a person have grabbed us and said it’s ok, we love you we’re proud of you…
‘Every person I tell it gets a little lighter and a little lighter, at the same time I have made this decision which is essential for me and essential for my head and that is principally the reason I have done this. They have been supporting while we get to this moment because we all know it was coming…
‘We’ve never had any secrets. It is tough but it’s not something that has happened quickly, I have had to deal with his in my head for quite some time, we’ve gone through this together, we have been honest and have been open and Stephanie as I said, you know’.
Quick to lavish praise on his wife, he said: ‘She’s amazing, she’s incredible there’s no one in my life who would have supported me, as a wife the way she’s supported me, she’s astonishing, literally astonishing, it’s a good questions, you know this has been bothered me for a very long time…
‘Everyone does these things at their own speed in their own time when the time is right, there’s no question it has in recent times consumed my head, and has become an issue in my head, and so I got to the stage where I thought we sit here every day and I’m over there and some amazingly brave incredible person it sitting here and I’m listening to their story and 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 knew I wasn’t honest with myself I didn’t like myself very much, so when is the right time to do it? And you know as a family, you know it is the right time.’
Speaking about Holly and the This Morning production team, Phil said: ‘This is the sister I’ve never had… I’m very proud of this unbelievable team, you are all amazing and I love you very much.’