The show opened with Phillip being interviewed by his usual co-host Holly Willoughby, just minutes after he revealed on his Instagram that he is gay.
“I have never been more proud of my friend than I am today,” Holly said. “We’re going to do this together.”
Asked how it felt to have finally spoken about his sexuality, Phillip explained: ”[Everyone has] been so supportive, and so loving and caring and my entire family, to a person, has grabbed us and said, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK, we love you, we’re proud of you’ and every person I tell, it gets a little lighter and lighter.”
Both presenters became tearful during the 15-minute interview, in which Phillip praised Steph, his “astonishing” wife of 27 years, and their two daughters for their support after he came out to them.
“I can’t write in any statement what I feel about that woman,” Phillip said of his wife. “She’s amazing, she’s incredible. There is no one in my life who would have supported me the way… as a wife, as the way she’s supported me. She’s astonishing, literally astonishing.”
“The girls jumped up and gave me a big hug,” Phillip recalled. “And then they hugged Steph, and then they said, ‘it’s OK, we’ll always be a family, we’ll always be us four’.”
Holly also pointed out that her co-host hadn’t “had his hand forced” with regards to his coming out, to which he said: “This is absolutely my decision, it was something I knew I had to do.
“I don’t know what the world will be like now, but what I would say is that I am very conscious of the hurt, and so my overriding emotion with my family is going to be guilt… but I will sit here and say that I am proud of myself today.”
On the subject of whether a future relationship was on his mind, Phillip insisted: “I don’t think so. I’m not thinking there.
“I’m doing each day at a time, and this has always been a slow process, and there’s no fast process after this.
“This was the big day and I knew what everything was pointing towards, and I couldn’t do it [without you].”
Holly then told him: “Whatever happens in the future, I’ll be sat by your side forever... we’re all part of this family.”
“Nobody should be embarrassed about their sexuality, and it’s fantastic that you have spoken out,” Eamonn told him. “So many people will be strengthened by what you’ve said, we’re by your side, we’ll be the first to stand beside you.”
Lightening the mood, Eamonn continued: “I’m disappoointed in a couple of ways, first of all, I heard there was a big announcement, and I thought you were going to say you’d resigned and I was going to get your job…
“The second is, [I’ve always wondered] how come you can sit in a hot tub with Holly and Steph doesn’t have a problem, and Dan [Holly’s husband] doesn’t have a problem.
“Holly is the sister I’ve never had,” Phillip added, before joking: “Have you two got to play spin-the-wheel now?”
Phillip came out as gay on Friday morning, writing: “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 daughters, I have been coming to terms with the fact I am gay.”
Describing his wife as “incredible” and the “kindest soul he has ever met”, Phillip also praised his “astonishing” daughters, adding: “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 up.
“My friends are the best, especially Holly [Willoughby, his This Morning co-host], 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.”
He ended the post with a request for people to “please be kind, especially to [his] family”.
This Morning airs every weekday from 10am on ITV.
Useful websites and helplines:
- London Lesbian & Gay switchboard (LLGS) is a free confidential support & information helpline for LGBT communities throughout the UK | 0300 330 0630
- Manchester Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is a free support, information and referral service for the Manchester and North-West area | 0161 235 8000
- Stonewall for more information on other LGBT services and helplines | 08000 502020