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'I wasn't honest with myself about the fact I'm gay' - Schofield


‘Big day’: Phillip Schofield comforted by Holly Willoughby on ‘This Morning’ yesterday

‘Big day’: Phillip Schofield comforted by Holly Willoughby on ‘This Morning’ yesterday

‘Big day’: Phillip Schofield comforted by Holly Willoughby on ‘This Morning’ yesterday

TV presenter Phillip Schofield became emotional and said he "wasn't being honest with myself" as he talked publicly about his sexuality for the first time.

The 'This Morning' host spoke to his co-presenter, Holly Willoughby, on the ITV show after revealing on his Instagram stories that he had "been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay".

Schofield, who has been a fixture on the programme since 2002, has been married to wife Steph for more than 20 years and they have two daughters - Molly and Ruby.

He and Willoughby appeared as guests on the show, which on a Friday morning is normally hosted by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

The 57-year-old spoke of the support he has received, telling Willoughby: "It's funny because everyone I have spoken to, you have all been so supportive, so loving and caring.

"My entire family, to a person, have grabbed us and said 'It's OK, we love you, we are proud of you', and every person I tell, it gets a little lighter and a little lighter.

"But at the same time I've made this decision, which is essential for me and for my head, which is the reason why I've done this. I'm very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this. They have been supporting this as we got to this moment."

He added that while he felt "a little lighter" having made the announcement, he was also "very aware, there is no question that it causes pain and it causes upset".

He said he has "no secrets" from his wife, adding: "We have never had any secrets.

"It's tough, this is not something that has happened quickly, I've had to deal with this in my head for quite some time. We've been honest and open."

After Willoughby commented that he had not had his "hand forced" to make the announcement, he said: "This is my decision. This is absolutely my decision. It was something I knew that I had to do.

"And I don't know what the world will be like... I don't know how this will be taken or what people will think. But what I would say is, yes, I am very, very conscious of the hurt and so my overriding emotion for my family is obviously going to be guilt because I do feel guilty that this can't be anything other than a painful process."

Before being joined by Holmes and Langsford on the show, he added: "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."

Asked about the future and any "relationships that may develop", he said: "No, I'm not thinking there. I'm doing each day at a time now and this has always been a slow process. There is no fast process after this.

"This is the big day and this is the day I knew everything was pointing towards."

Celebrities including Gok Wan and David Walliams were among those also praising Schofield.

Fashion expert Wan tweeted: "So much love to you, such bravery", while Walliams tweeted that he was "sending all my love to Phillip Schofield today".

Alongside a photograph of herself with Schofield, Willoughby wrote on Instagram: "Never been more proud of my friend than I am today."

Announcing the news to his 2.7 million Instagram followers with a long message on his stories, Schofield wrote: "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."

He thanked his family for their support and said Steph had been "incredible", describing her as the "kindest soul I have ever met".

His message ended with him writing: "Please be kind, especially to my family. Phillip."

Schofield has graduated from the 'Broom Cupboard' to enjoy one of the most enduring careers in television.

He made his name alongside sidekick Gordon the Gopher but is now seen as the king of daytime TV.

The "silver fox" has enjoyed a longer small-screen shelf-life than many other presenters, thanks in part to his chemistry with Willoughby.

As well as co-hosting ITV's 'This Morning', the pair also front 'Dancing On Ice'.

The presenter, who also has several advertising and corporate deals, is now said to pocket more than £1.7m (€2m) a year.

At 17, he got a job as a bookings clerk at the BBC but later moved with his family to New Zealand, where he landed TV and radio work.

When he returned to Britain, he presented links with puppet Gordon the Gopher in 1985, on the first afternoon of Children's BBC.

The Oldham-born star moved on to Saturday morning show 'Going Live' in 1987.

In 1996, he signed an exclusive contract to present a series of shows including 'Talking Telephone Numbers', 'Schofield's Quest' and 'Schofield's TV Gold'.

He also notched up success on stage, as the lead in 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat'.

In 2002, Schofield was given the plum job on 'This Morning' after John Leslie was sacked.

He shared the sofa with Fern Britton, who later quit in 2009, rejecting rumours she did so because Schofield was being paid more than her.

Willoughby - Schofield's "on-screen wife" - replaced Britton on the show.

Irish Independent