Phillip Schofield has admitted he suspected he was gay when he married wife Steph nearly 27 years ago.
The This Morning presenter also revealed he has been taken to some “very dark” places as he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality.
Speaking to The Sun on Sunday moments after coming off set, Phillip opened up about how he had suppressed his sexuality when he married Steph in 1993, admitting he had been “naive”.
“I am not saying I didn’t know,” the 57-year-old said. “Whatever was ‘there’ I thought, ‘OK, whatever this is, you stay back because I am happy’.
“I admit I was perhaps a bit naïve. But when we got married it was a joyous time and it wasn’t a consideration in my head.”
Phillip – who has two grown-up daughters, Molly and Ruby, with Steph – added: “I was so, so happy when we had the girls, and then bringing them up.”
The presenter said he thought he might have been bisexual, but eventually realised he had to start coming to terms with the fact he is gay.
His said his turmoil left him feeling “hopeless” as he revealed a “dark” battle with his mental health that was “starting to damage him” and was “hurting him a lot”.
He said: “There is no doubt living with this kind of secret can take people to the darkest of places. And there is no question for me it got very dark, because it felt hopeless. There is no question, in those moments, when I couldn’t see a way forward, it was Steph and my girls - through their strength - who hauled me back.
“But I understand completely why so many men and women in this country get to the point of suicide. I had Steph and I had my girls and I don’t think I could have left them like that. But if I hadn’t have had their support, then who knows?”
Phillip also told of how his depression and stress had caused his weight to plummet, revealing he is skinnier now than when he played the title role in a musical production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat nearly 30 years ago.
In his This Morning interview on Friday, Phillip paid tribute to his wife and children, saying their support had been “astonishing”.
“We’ve been honest and open,” he told Holly Willoughby. “Steph, I can’t write in any statement what I feel about that woman. 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.”
He added in his Instagram statement: “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 up.”
Phillip’s eldest daughter, Molly, 26, has publicly showed her support for her father on Instagram, posting a picture of the family on her Story, along with the caption: “Love you always, so proud of you.”
The TV host’s mother, Pat Schofield, has also voiced her pride after she watched her son come out on national daytime TV.
She said that Phillip – who had travelled down to Cornwall to tell her he is gay prior to his announcement – was “brave” and “inspiring”.
“The first thing I said was I don’t care,” she told The Mirror.
“Yes it was a shock, but nothing as a family that we can’t support and applaud.”
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