Phillip Schofield is gay. It's rare that a news story can be reduced to four words, but this is one exception. Phillip Schofield is gay. That's it.
The TV presenter made the announcement on Instagram last Friday morning, following it up with an interview on the sofa with his co-host Holly Willoughby on This Morning on ITV. The response from viewers was immediate, and overwhelmingly warm and supportive. It was the same on social media. People sympathised with his struggle to be himself. Schofield was complimented for his bravery in coming out after 27 years with his wife Stephanie. Everyone wished him well. The hashtag #loveislove was trending on Twitter. And that, basically, was that. The world moved on.
Inch by inch, what once seemed threatening and strange to many is now familiar, normalised. This time next week, the first same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland will have taken place. Robyn Peoples from Belfast and her partner, Sharni Edwards from Brighton, will be hitched in Carrickfergus. Society has changed, for the better.
The news about Phillip Schofield made the headlines not because it was shocking in itself, but because he's been a household name for decades. People will always be interested in the private lives of celebrities. That they were so relaxed about it all probably has him wondering why he didn't do it years ago, but, difficult as it was for him this week, it would have been much harder in the past.
Had he come out when he was in that famous broom cupboard with Gordon the Gopher on children's TV, it might have been a different story. Doors may have closed to him, since "family" entertainers back then were deemed to lead entirely bland lives.
In the light of revelations about what Jimmy Savile and others were up to in the 1970s, we now know that was far from true, but back then, marriage and heterosexuality were very much part of the brief.
These days it's easier. Ireland's own Brian Dowling was the first openly gay person to present children's TV in Britain. There are now gay characters on the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. Politicians are coming out as pansexual and celebrities as non-binary. Good old-fashioned gay seems almost old hat. Phillip Schofield was part of a generation that missed out on this new openness and is now having to catch up.
It should be seen as a victory by gay rights supporters, so it's sad that some appear to feel a need to actively go looking for offence where none exists, presumably under the illusion that every story needs a villain. Deep down, it's as if they're privately disappointed that people aren't outraged about Schofield coming out.
They have a stereotype in their heads about what those who aren't in their camp are like, what they think, and the sorts of things that they say, and they're irritated when those people refuse to play along with the role set down for them by central casting.
It was the same with abortion. Pro-repealers won, but some are still looking for pro-life enemies to keep the fight going. The problem with some progressives is they just can't accept when they've won, and joyously celebrate the fact.
Some people even tried to have a go at fellow broadcaster Eamonn Holmes when the Belfast man joked with Schofield that he understood now why his wife wasn't bothered when he shared a hot tub with Holly. But you had to really look for problems, and why bother looking at all? The liberal tone police need to stop trying to shame people who don't react in the "right" way. Schofield found the comment funny. That's all that matters.
That's not to say there weren't some unkind comments online, but that's only to be expected on the internet. There were the usual sneers from a few people saying they "always knew" Schofield was gay just by looking at him, and there was the odd off-colour joke.
There was also a bit of what you might call "soft" bigotry, of a sort where people pretend to be supportive and not bothered by it, but their reactions suggest otherwise, because they kept finding trivial things to object to in the story, not least the amount of attention that it was garnering.
One classic diversionary tactic was to complain at Schofield being described as "brave" - comparing a millionaire coming out to media applause to a firefighter rushing into a burning building to save orphans. There are different types of courage, physical, moral, political, or psychological, and the kind that's needed to go on national TV and reveal something so personal should not be belittled with a false equivalence.
It's just another way of trying to diminish his experience. So is the equally sneaky device of pretending that this stuff is really beneath any intelligent person's attention. Enough with this celebrity tittle tattle, they sigh. Leave me alone to enjoy this documentary on the art of the Himalayan nose flute on the World Service.
It's easy to fall into that trap. To be honest, I felt a bit like that on first hearing the news. I don't think I've ever knowingly watched an episode of This Morning. I didn't even know that Philllip Schofield was married with children.
But after watching him talk to Holly Willoughby, it was impossible not to be touched by his genuineness and candour, or the way that his usual cheery confidence gave way to a more subdued vulnerability.
He's not a serial killer, just a nice middle-class family man who happens to make his living by appearing on television, and who finally feels ready to speak honestly about himself. There's too much cynicism about these things rather than just seeing them for what they are.
Obviously, I reserve the right to revert to a state of wearied cynicism if and when the inevitable Hello! interview, tell-all book deal and ITV special all come along and milk his life story for every penny it's worth. Until then, why not just be happy for him, rather than pretending to be concerned about his wife's feelings or speculating why he deceived her for so long?
No one actually knows if he did deceive her, or what the nature of their relationship might have been. He insists they've "never had any secrets". Sexuality is complicated. They clearly love one another, and have two daughters together. None of that is inconsistent with being gay. People live like that all the time. It must be tough for a spouse, but that's the way it is. Nobody's life is perfect.
There may yet be a souring if it turns out he was about to be outed by the tabloids, and so didn't make this choice freely, but most people's sympathy would still be with the victim rather than those who wanted to expose him.
Whatever the truth, trying to nit pick away at his story just feels like a new version of an old tactic, designed to silence people from telling their stories in their own way and in their own time, and Phillip Schofield no doubt feels that he's kept quiet long enough. It's his life, and what happens next is his call.
That he has now decided to speak out makes it less likely that other people will in future have to live for so long in the same denial, whether it's from their loved ones, friends, fans, or, more importantly, themselves. It's another chip away at the wall of social pressure and expectation that separates too many people from being whatever they want to be.
Phillip Schofield is gay. That's all. It's a big deal for him and his family, but should be no biggie for anyone else. A far bigger shock was discovering that he spells his first name with two Ls. Who knew?