Phillip Schofield has shut down speculation about his romantic life, after a photo he posted with a friend sparked conversation among his fans.
Over the weekend, the This Morning presenter shared a photo of himself out for a walk with a family friend, the similarly-named Simon Schofield.
“First socially distanced walk with a mate!” he wrote. “Thank you @sischofe .. last person I had a drink with before the wheels fell off, first I’ve seen as we try to reattach them!”
Soon after sharing the photo, Schofe’s comments section was full of people suggesting there might be a romantic aspect to the pair’s friendship, which the daytime star was quick to address.
Responding to one of his followers, who had commented “Mate is that what they call it nowadays”, Phil hit back: “Yes! A mate! That’s what they still call family friends who you’ve known for 20 years and come round to check if you’re OK.”
Clearly frustrated, he ended his message with the middle finger emoji.
Phil came out as gay in an emotional Instagram statement earlier this year (yes, that was actually this year), followed immediately by an interview with his This Morning co-presenter Holly Willoughby.
During the interview, Phil insisted that a relationship was not on the cards for the time being, saying: “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.”
The two stars are continuing to present from the This Morning studio during lockdown, but adhere to social distancing guidelines by making sure there are two metres between them at all times.
Most interviews conducted on the show are now done by video-link, with Holly and Phil also doing their own hair and make-up.