Phillip Schofield says Holly Willoughby was 'like therapy'
‘She was like therapy’: Phillip Schofield lauds Holly Willoughby’s unwavering support after coming out as gay – and admits he was ‘taken by surprise’ by fans’ reaction
- On 7 February 2020, Phillip, 59, revealed his sexuality, appearing on This Morning to discuss his news with his co-host and best friend Holly Willoughby
- The presenter reflected on the impact his revelation has made, admitting he was ‘taken by surprise’ upon seeing the huge reaction from fans
- Phillip lauded Holly as being ‘therapy’ as she remained a constant figure during his decision to come out
Phillip Schofield has lauded Holly Willoughby for her unwavering support after he publicly came out as gay last year.
The presenter, 59, who publicly shared his sexuality in a historic interview last year, reflected on the impact his revelation has made, admitting he was ‘taken by surprise’ upon seeing the huge reaction from fans.
In a joint interview with The Times Magazine with Holly, 40, ahead of Sunday’s BAFTA Television Awards, Phillip lauded her as being ‘therapy’ as she remained a constant figure during his decision to come out.
Brave: Phillip Schofield has lauded Holly Willoughby for her unwavering support after he publicly came out as gay last year
On 7 February 2020, Phillip, firstly taking Instagram to share a statement before appearing on This Morning to discuss his news with his co-host and best friend Holly, during which he broke down in tears.
Looking back on the moment, Phillip admitted that there was ‘an element of selfishness’ when coming out the way he did as he was ‘protecting’ himself in a way, but he failed to realise the positive effective that this would have on those watching.
When asked if the warm response from his coming out is reflective of more tolerant times, Phillip said he ‘hoped so’.
Close: The presenter, 59, reflected on the impact that his revelation has made on people, remarking that ‘the side-effect of what I did took me by surprise’ (pictured with Holly in 2020)
He added: ‘What I will say in addition to what I have said before… the side-effect of what I did took me by surprise. Because when you do something like that, there’s an element of selfishness when you are protecting yourself.
‘[But] I suddenly realised, and it was highlighted through lockdown, the number of people who said, ‘You just saved my life. What you did has saved me…’
The TV personality added that the help people had wasn’t necessarily a ‘sexuality thing’, but added that he’d been contacted by those who’ve had drink or gambling problems and had ‘sought help’ thanks to his bravery.
He went on: ‘Whatever the issue, “I took strength in what you did and I have spoken to someone.” I have spent time talking to people and talking them off the ledge. I am not a therapist, but at least I could be a little more insightful about what I did. It’s a good thing to have come out of it all.’
During the chat, Phillip also told how the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdowns, the first of which occurred just a moment after him publicly announcing his sexuality, made him put everything into perspective.
Courage: On 7 February 2020, he revealed his sexuality, firstly taking Instagram to share a statement before appearing on This Morning to discuss his news with his best friend Holly
Discussing how his revelation was overshadowed by something ‘much more important’, Phillip told how the timing was perhaps a ‘good thing’ as it allowed him to ‘look at the world’ and realise there were ‘bigger things’ happening than what was going on in his head.
Commenting on his friend’s support, he added that he felt ‘lucky’ to have been able to continue working through the pandemic and have his pal Holly by his side to give him ‘therapy’ throughout it.
Phil went on to add that he never imagined broadcasting through something as monumental as the pandemic.
Phillip, who shares daughters Molly, 28, and Ruby, 25, with his wife, spoke on This Morning about his battles with keeping his secret and the relief of coming out.
Shock: He said: ‘The side-effect of what I did took me by surprise. Because when you do something like that, there’s an element of selfishness when you are protecting yourself’
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.
Positive outcome: ‘[But] I suddenly realised, and it was highlighted through lockdown, the number of people who said, ‘You just saved my life. What you did has saved me…’
‘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’.
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…
A friend indeed: He added that he felt ‘lucky’ to have been able to continue working through the pandemic and have his pal Holly by his side to give him ‘therapy’
‘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…
‘It 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 is 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.’
Important: Discussing how his revelation was overshadowed by something ‘much more important’, Phillip told how the timing was perhaps a ‘good thing’ as it allowed him to ‘look at the world’ and realise there were ‘bigger things’ happening
‘I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay’: Phillip’s statement in full
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’.
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