Phillip Schofield has shared an emotional post thanking fans for their support after publicly coming out as gay.
The TV presenter, 57, shared a statement addressing his battle with his sexuality on social media, before then discussing his decision to come out during a live interview on Friday morning’s broadcast of This Morning.
Taking to Instagram, Phillip has told fans how ‘important’ their support has been for him, while praising his family for the ‘love and understanding’ they have shown him.
He wrote: ‘You will never know how important your support has been today, I’ve read as much as I can.
Urging others in a similar situation to turn to others for support, he added: ‘Please please, no matter your age or your thoughts, TALK to someone, don’t let your head beat you and hopefully you’ll find out that your friends and family have a remarkable ability to surprise you with their love and understanding.’
Hours earlier, Phillip revealed that he has been ‘consumed’ by a secret battle with his sexuality for years and finally made the decision to come out as gay, following a series of ‘heartbreaking conversations with his family.
Phillip is married to wife of 26 years Stephanie and they share two daughters Ruby, 24, and Molly, 27.
He met Stephanie when she was a BBC production assistant and he was working for BBC Children’s television. They married back in 1993 and celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 2018.
He shared a statement to Instagram on Friday morning and admitted his beloved daughters ‘jumped up and gave him a hug’ just seconds after he spoke about his sexuality, as he praised the support of he has received from his ‘incredible family.’
Phil also revealed that he had suffered ‘dark moments, pain and confusion’ as he gradually came to terms with his sexual orientation, before finally deciding to come out to the public.
His statement read: ‘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.’
Phillip then appeared on This Morning, where he was interviewed by his co-host and close friend Holly Willoughby, who said she was ‘so proud’ of the star and will ‘sit by his side forever and ever’.
Both were seen getting visibly emotional as Phillip explained his decision to publicly address his sexuality and praised his friends and family for instantly throwing their support behind him.
Phillip added that his job on This Morning had also been a contributory factor in helping him come out after being left ‘in awe’ by guests who have made the decision to come out in public.
He told Holly: ‘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 this 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’.
Again, lavishing praise on his wife Steph, 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… you know this has been bothered me for a very long time.’
Phillip has since been inundated with supportive messages from fans and his celebrity pals, who have showered him with praise and spoke of their ‘admiration’ and ‘respect’ for him.
Ant and Dec tweeted: ‘Huge respect and admiration for our friend @Schofe. Sending love to you P, and to your 3 lovely girls.’
David Walliams said: ‘I am sending all my love to @Schofe 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.’
Rylan Clark-Neal added: ‘Heard the news @thismorning sending all the love to @Schofe the girls and Steph. 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.’
Holly had also reached out to Phillip on social media. Moments before they appeared together on This Morning, she shared a selfie with him to her Instagram page and wrote: ‘Never been more proud of my friend than I am today.’