Celebrities and charities praise 'brave' Phillip Schofield for coming out as gay

7 February 2020, 12:57

By Maddie Goodfellow

Fans, celebrities and charities have flooded TV presenter Phillip Schofield with support after his announcement that he is gay.

The This Morning presenter has been praised as "brave" and "strong" after coming out on his Instagram.

On Friday, Schofield released an Instagram story saying: “With the strength and support of my wife and my daughters, I have been coming to the terms with the fact that I am gay.”

He also said: "This is something that has caused many heart-breaking conversations at home", but that "being gay is a reason to celebrate and be proud”.

The presenter has been married for almost 27 years and has two grown up daughters.

His co-presenter Holly Willoughby was one of the first to speak out, writing on her Instagram: "Never been more proud of my friend than I am today."

LGBT+ organisations including Stonewall and the British LGBT awards have shown support for the "brave and moving" announcement.

The British LGBT Awards said: "Philip Schofield comes out in an emotional Instagram post. Incredibly brave, Philip! We all support you!!!!

Stonewall echoed their sentiment: "Incredibly brave and moving announcement from Phillip Schofield this morning. It takes a lot of courage and is always a hugely personal decision to be open about who you are. Congrats Phillip!"

Celebrities and public figures have also come out in force to support the TV personality.

Pointless host Richard Osman tweeted: "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."

Britain's Got Talent host David Walliams stated: "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."

Actor Matt Lucas also showed support, writing: "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 xxxx"

Fellow presenter Gok Wan also praised Schofield: "So much love to you @Schofe such bravery xxxxx"

Other ITV personalities also shared messages of praise for the TV legend.

Schofield's ITV co-star John Barrowman tweeted: "So proud of you and your family Phillip. Welcome to your truth and authentic self.

"The nation loves you for who you because you are @schofe Can’t wait to hug you and don’t worry we got your back we are #LGBTQ+strong."

Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid said: "Love to @Schofe and his family."

His announcement was also praised by Jenny Ryan from The Chase, who wrote: “Huge love for @Schofe and his family today. “This can't have been an easy statement to write, but it will be a huge weight off their shoulders - and it will open up dialogue all over the country. 

“Maybe one day it won't be so hard or painful for *anyone* to come out.”

Appearing on This Morning together, Holly Willoughby told Schofield: "I know that is something you have been living with, that inner conflict, for a long time."

He added: "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: "I feel a little lighter but I'm 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."

Asked why he was announcing it now, he said: "It's a good question, 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."

Schofield added: "I got to the stage where I think we sit here every day and I'm over there and some amazingly brave, incredible person is sitting here and I'm listening to their story, 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 wasn't being honest with myself and I didn't like myself very much because I wasn't being honest with myself."

Willoughby said she could "feel the relief" from her fellow co-presenter.

Phillip Schofield and his co-host Holly Willoughby
Phillip Schofield and his co-host Holly Willoughby. Picture: PA

Asked if he was considering a relationship with someone else at this time, Schofield said: "I don't think so, I'm not thinking there, I'm doing each day at a time now.

"And this has always been a slow process and there's no fast process after, this was the big day, and this was the day I knew that everything was pointing towards and I could not have done it if it hadn't been you, so afterwards I don't know, there's no one, I'm not rushing to anybody."

Willoughby offered words of support saying she would be by his side "for ever and ever".

The duo were then joined by fellow This Morning presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

After a round of hugs, Holmes said: "Nobody should be embarrassed about their sexuality and it's fantastic you have spoken out and there will be so many people who have been strengthened by what you've said."

He added that he and wife Ruth would be "the first to stand by you".