Schofield and his ‘incredible’ wife of three decades: They met when he was a teen heartthrob on Going Live!, he proposed in the nude – and they enjoyed 27 years together while he brushed off rumours he was gay
- TV Star, 57, married wife in 1993 after meeting when he was on Going Live!
- He hid engagement ring in her advent calendar and proposed while ‘starkers’
- But in recent years Steph has helped him ‘come to terms with fact that I am gay’
- Couple’s daughters Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24, have also been very supportive
- Phillip hasn’t said if he and Steph will divorce – but he’s wearing his wedding ring
Phillip Schofield today came out as gay at the age of 57 – but he has kept the unstinting support of his ‘incredible’ wife of 27 years Steph who he admitted is in ‘pain’ and ‘upset’ but has known for ‘some time’.
The much-loved broadcaster has praised his ‘loving’ spouse who has helped him come to terms with his sexuality just two years since celebrating their 25th silver wedding anniversary.
But Phillip has not said whether the couple, who met on the set of Going Live! in 1987 and married in 1993 after the star proposed while naked, plan to divorce – although he was wearing his wedding ring on the This Morning sofa today.
He and Steph also looked happy in their last public appearance at the National Television Awards last month.
Today Phillip released an extraordinary and moving Instagram post that said ‘with the strength and support of my wife and my daughters, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay’.
And revealing the moment he told Steph and their children Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24, he is finally ready to admit he is gay he said: ‘I sat them down and I told them and they jumped up and they gave me a hug, a big hug, a long hug, and then they [the children] hugged Steph and they said it’s OK, we’ll be OK, we’ll always be a family’.
He added: ‘There’s no question that it causes pain and it causes upset. It wasn’t easy but they are so amazing in their love and support’. And in a hint, perhaps, that his wife may have known the truth for many years he added: ‘I’ve no secrets. We’ve never had any secrets’.
Phillip Schofield and his wife Steph leave the 02 in Greenwich on January 20 with the star admitting he had been discussing his sexuality with her for some time
Phillip is a family man at heart and lives in Henley-on-Thames with Stephanie, who he wed in March 1993, and his daughters Molly, 27, (right) and Ruby, 24, (far left) who he says have all supported his decision
Phillip hugs his friend and colleague Holly Willoughby after his announcement that he is gay today
‘I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay’: Phillip Schofield’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’.
Of Steph he said: ‘She is amazing, she’s incredible. There’s no one in my life who would have supported me the way, as a wife, as the way she supported me. She’s astonishing, literally astonishing’.
Last year they took part in the three-part Schofield’s South African Adventure where the couple explored the country and she also made a recent appearance on How To Spend It Well At Christmas.
Their eldest daughter Molly works as a talent manager for the James Grant Group, which represents TV and sports stars, while her younger sibling Ruby, recently finished her psychology degree.
The Schofields share an Oxfordshire mansion near Henley-on-Thames in an extraordinary rags to riches tale for Oldham-born Phillip who started as a teaboy at the BBC aged 17.
Mr and Mrs Schofield began dating in 1987 when Phillip was 25 and about to become a TV superstar hosting Going Live and his future wife was working a lowly production assistant.
He joked: ‘You’d have thought someone wouldn’t be attracted to a man with a puppet and dodgy jumpers’.
Phillip had emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1980s when his parents moved there but after hosting a hit radio show and a 1984 music awards show on national TV he was offered the job in the BBC broom cupboard with Gordon the Gopher – and he soon fell in love with freelancer Stephanie Lowe.
They tied the knot in 1993 after Phil proposed in the nude after hiding the ring in her advent calendar at a time when he was receiving 500 fan letters a week, mostly from love-lorn teenage girls, who mobbed him so much in the streets that he had to leave the house in disguise.
Describing the proposal he said: ‘On the given day I’d chosen I put the engagement ring in [the slot] and when she opened it I hopped out of bed starkers and got down on one knee.’
But despite their marriage he was repeatedly asked at the time if he was gay, which he dismissed as rumour and gossip.
Speaking to the Evening Standard in 1992, at the height of his children’s TV fame, he said: ‘Nobody has ever said that to my face. People say all sorts of things, It makes no odds to me what people say, but I think my girlfriend would have something to say about it.’
When asked if he had ever had sex with a man he said: ‘No absolutely not. Quite a lot of men I know have, but not necessarily me. I would never sleep with a man, but I’m not homophobic’.
And on claims he was courting Steph to hide any secret he said: ‘You can’t win, can you? But I’d defy them to find any evidence of this allegation.’
He added on the source of the rumours: ‘I don’t know. Maybe because I’m fresh-faced. Maybe because I’m not open, so people assume there is something to hide’ – adding he was in love and ‘monogamous because I’m terrified of Aids’.
Speaking on Loose Women in 2016, he admitted he and his wife have ;an allowed-to list’, adding: ‘I think mine was for a while Penelope Cruz and Jennifer Aniston. Steph’s was Matthew Perry and Jenson Button’.
He also said that Steph has her own secret Twitter account so that she could keep an eye on him online but insisted that jealousy is good for any relationship, adding: ‘It’s nice to be wanted’.
But today Phillip said he ‘wasn’t being honest with myself’ as he talked publicly about his sexuality for the first time.
And significantly he chose to do an interview with the couple’s close friend Holly Willoughby on This Morning today – the Schofields have been on a family holiday with Holly, her husband Dan and their three children in the Algarve last year.
Phillip (pictured on BBC’s Going Live! in the early 1990s) was receiving 500 fan letters a week but denied rumours he was gay
The couple, who met on the set of Going Live!, married in Wick, near John O’Groats – he northern most point in mainland Britain – in a strange choice for a showbiz wedding
In 2018 Phillip posted this picture of him kissing his wife in an unseen image to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary
Soon afterwards children Ruby (right) and Molly (left) followed and they loving call themselves ‘us four’, pictured together at the Return to Neverland premiere in 2002
Phillip says his wife and daughters (pictured together at Christmas four years ago) have hugged him and encouraged him but are also feeling pain
Phillip with his youngest daughter Ruby who was watching his This Morning interview at home
The couple first got together in 1987 and married six years later having met when Phillip’s star was rising as a children’s TV star (pictured together last month)
With tears in his eyes Phillip gave an emotional tribute to his wife and said: ‘I’m really very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this and we’re all together, and we spent a lot of time together, we spend a lot of time together obviously.
‘And they’ve been supporting us as we got to this moment and we all knew it was coming. I feel a little lighter, but I’m also very aware, there’s no question that it causes pain and it causes upset.
‘It is tough, but this is not something that’s happened quickly. I’ve had to deal with this in my head for quite some time.
‘We’ve gone through this together and we’ve been honest and we’ve been open. Steph, as I said, I can’t write in any statement what I feel about that women’.
His elderly mother who lives near Newquay has also been supportive.
He said: ‘It was the same with my mum, my mum is watching this today. She’s been on the phone this morning – hope you’re OK. I went down to see her, she’s down in Cornwall, and I went down to see her.
‘And I told her and she said ‘oh, OK, well, I don’t care’ – and that’s the same with everyone’.
Phillip and Steph are pictured together when they were dating during his stint in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
In 2017 the Schofields teamed up to film Schofield’s South African Adventure and they have worked together on a number of TV projects
Speaking about telling his daughters, he said: ‘I wasn’t easy [telling my daughters]. But they are so amazing in their love and support. They jumped up and gave me a hug, a big hug, a long hug’ (pictured in public together for the last time before coming out at National Television Awards last week)
Speaking about how his mum Pat reacted Phillip said she told him: ‘Oh, OK, well, I don’t care’
Phillip always believed telly stardom was his destiny – having sent in his first job application to the BBC when he was ten years old, and by the time he was 17 had sent in 100 more. He would type the letters rather than hand-write them to mask his age.
His bedroom was turned into a studio, with spotlights and a stage, and younger brother Tim was incessantly interviewed about every aspect of his life.
While other children dreamed of being astronauts or train drivers, he only ever wanted to be on TV. At bedtime he would ‘sign off’ into his mirror.
Describing his TV dream he said: ‘My parents must have thought I was crazy but they were amazingly tolerant. Apart from a moment in infants’ school when I thought I wanted to become a grave-digger, I never had a thought about pursuing another career.’
Father Brian was a French-polisher and his mother worked in a care home for the elderly. For most of his childhood they lived in Cornwall but he was born in Lancashire.
Aged 17, he got himself a job at the BBC as a bookings clerk, but soon afterwards his parents decided to emigrate to New Zealand.
He decided he ‘couldn’t do’ without them, following them to the other side of the world and launching himself there instead.
By the end of a four-year period there, he had his own radio programme, a television series, and presented the 1984 New Zealand music awards.
When he returned he started doing links for children’s shows — notable in that they were transmitted from what appeared to be a BBC broom cupboard — before moving onto the channel’s Saturday morning flagship youth programme, Going Live in 1987.
At one point he received 500 fan letters a week, chiefly from love-lorn teenage girls.
He told an interviewer at the time: ‘Sometimes when these youngsters have been waiting outside for me, for hours in the cold, it would be so easy to give them a lift to the Tube or whatever. But I can’t. It would only take one of them to make up some cock-and-bull story for a Sunday tabloid and that would be a disaster.
‘A lot of 13-year-olds I meet are quite adult. When they hang around places waiting for me I wonder if their parents really know where they are. I have to be very careful.’
By now, his career was being guided by Peter Powell and James Grant management — to whom he has remained loyal ever since. Powell and Schofield have been lifelong friends, along with showbusiness agent Russ Lindsay, whose late wife was former Blue Peter presenter Caron Keating.
‘Feeling lighter and lighter’: Phillip Schofield has announced he is gay in an impassioned post shared to Instagram before appearing on This Morning to discuss the news with his co-star Holly Willoughby
A friend in need… Holly proved the depth of their friendship as she supported him during the announcement
Supportive: In a surprise move, he was supported by his rumoured enemies Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes, with whom he has been locked in a ‘civil war’ behind the scenes on ITV. The married couple walked on to the set to hug the star
His agent Peter Powell persuaded him to follow Neighbours star Jason Donovan onto stage as the lead in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
For someone who had never acted professionally, and had barely sung, it was a bold risk. He ended up touring with the show for three years.
At this time, he developed a fondness for gambling. In an interview in 2006 he said: ‘I adore roulette. I love it, but it’s something I can control.’
These were fallow years, with a role in a gameshow, Talking Telephone Numbers. Daughter Molly was born when he was 31, followed by Ruby two years later.
It was 2002, when he was 40, that Schofield finally hit the big time after This Morning presenter John Leslie was sacked. Schofield, who had been on the rota of presenters who filled in on Fridays, was given the job.
Fern Britton was already in the chair, and viewers were convinced that they had natural chemistry. She appeared, if anything, to be the senior figure on the show. However in March 2009 she surprised many by announcing she would be moving on in order to spend time with her family.
It turned out that much angst had been generated by the fact Phillip was being paid three times as much as her — she was on £700,000 a year for presenting the show, while Schofield was being paid a colossal combined sum of £2 million a year, for fronting This Morning, Dancing on Ice and All Star Mr & Mrs.
Fern was said to have been particularly angry when she discovered Schofield was paid £45,000 for All Star Mr & Mrs — while she was paid just £15,000.
The appointment of Holly Willoughby as Fern’s replacement was, reportedly, at his suggestion. He had enjoyed working with her on Dancing On Ice and they are by all accounts close friends now as well as good colleagues.
Willoughby recently denied that all was not well behind-the-scenes in their relationship.
‘It would be impossible for us to fake the giggles,’ she told Closer magazine.
‘I’m on the telly for two-and-a-half hours … I’m not that good an actress. If I was, I’d be doing something else.’
And the former host of The Cube also paid tribute to his co-presenter in his statement, announcing that he is gay, saying: ‘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.’
Indeed, she posted a message on Instagram recently noting that Phil is: ‘One of my best friends’ and he replied saying: ‘Thank you bestie, love you, too.’
And today Holly supported her ‘bestie’ as he made the brave decision to tell the world he is gay.
‘I’ve no secrets’: Full transcript from Phillip Schofield’s interview with Holly Willoughby on This Morning
‘It’s funny because, everyone I’ve spoken to, 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, it’s OK, we love you, we’re proud of you.
‘And every person I tell it gets a little lighter and a little lighter but at the same time, you know, I have made this decision which is essential for me and essential for my head and that’s principally the decision why I’ve done this.
‘Of course I’m really very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this and we’re all together, and we spent a lot of time together, we spend a lot of time together obviously.
‘And they’ve been supporting us as we got to this moment and we all knew it was coming.
A pillar of support: TV presenter Phillip Schofield on ITV’s This Morning talking with Holly Willoughby today about his announcement that he is gay
‘So, yeah, I mean I feel a little lighter, but I’m also very aware, there’s no question that it causes pain and it causes upset. I’ve no secrets. We’ve never had any secrets. Tough, it is tough, but this is not something that’s happened quickly. I’ve had to deal with this in my head for quite some time.
‘We’ve gone through this together and we’ve been honest and we’ve been open. Steph, as I said, I can’t write in any statement what I feel about that women.
‘She is amazing, she’s incredible. There’s no one in my life who would have supported me the way, as a wife, as the way she supported me. She’s astonishing, literally astonishing.
‘It’s a good question (why now). You know this has been bothering me for a very long time and I think everybody does these things at their own speed, at their own time, when they feel the time is right.
‘I’ve no secrets’: Full transcript from Phillip Schofield’s interview with Holly Willoughby on This Morning
‘And there’s no question that it has in recent times consumed my head and 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, oh my God, you’re so brave’.
‘And I’m thinking ‘I have to be that person, I have to be that person’. I think all you can be in your life is honest with yourself. I was getting to the point where I knew I wasn’t honest with myself, I was getting to the point where I didn’t like myself very much because I wasn’t being honest with myself.
‘And so, when is the right time, when is the right time to do it? And as a family, it’s the right time.
‘There are people around the world, there are people in this country, there will be people watching this, and we always say talk to someone, and believe me, believe me, when we say that and we do say that a lot on this show, you must talk to someone, you must talk to someone, i have and it’s helped a lot.
‘And it’s brought me back – i mentioned those dark places in the statement – talking to people does bring you back. And in some cases talking to people saves you. You have to discuss it, with my friends, with my family, with my wife, we’ve talked it through – and we have to talk it through.
‘This is my decision, this is absolutely my decision. It was something I knew that I had to do. And I don’t know what the world will be like now – I don’t know how this will be taken, or what people will think.
He said: ‘But at the same time I will sit here and say actually, I’m proud of myself today. And I am proud of myself today’
‘But would I say is that yes, I am very conscious of the hurt, and so my overriding emotion with my family is obviously going to be guilt, because I do feel guilty that this can’t be anything other than a painful process for them.
‘But at the same time I will sit here and say actually, I’m proud of myself today. And I am proud of myself today. It wasn’t easy but they (my daughters) were, they are so amazing in their love and support.
‘I sat them down and I told them and they jumped up and they gave me a hug, a big hug, a long hug, and then they hugged Steph and they said it’s OK, we’ll be OK, we’ll always be a family, always us four, is what we always call ourselves. We’ll always be that.
‘It was the same with my mum, my mum is watching this today. She’s been on the phone this morning – hope you’re OK. I went down to see her, she’s down in Cornwall, and I went down to see her. And I told her and she said ‘oh, OK, well, I don’t care’ – and that’s the same with everyone.
‘No I don’t think so (thinking about future relationships) – I’m not thinking there. I’m doing each day at a time now, this has always been a slow process and there is no fast process after this.
‘This was the big day and this was the day that I knew everything was pointing towards and I could not have don’t it if it hadn’t been you. So afterwards I don’t know, but no, there’s no one, I’m not rushing out to anybody.’
His side of the story: Phillip was open and honest during the appearance in which he chatted to his good friend
Phillip’s outpouring of support from the showbiz world
Holly threw her support behind This Morning co-host Phillip after the TV veteran came out as gay on Friday.
Taking to Instagram, Holly, 38, expressed her pride for Schofield, with whom she has presented the daily chat show since 2009, alongside a picture of the pair at an awards ceremony. She wrote: ‘Never been more proud of my friend than I am today. We’ll be together at 10am on This Morning.’
Moments earlier Schofield, 57, took to Instagram to reveal the news in a lengthy and impassioned post before appearing on the magazine show to discuss the news with co-star and best friend Holly.
Proud: Holly Willoughby has thrown her support behind This Morning co-host Phillip Schofield after the TV veteran came out as gay on Friday
After 27 years of marriage to his wife Steph, he has now revealed that he has suffered ‘inner conflict’ and is now ready to ‘celebrate and be proud’ of his sexuality.
Commending the star, TV doctor Ranj Singh reposted the presenter’s statement, writing: ‘Coming to terms with & being your authentic self is never easy, especially in the public eye.
‘What @Schofe has done is incredibly courageous, powerful & will help so many. I am beaming with pride for him. I’m even more proud of his wonderful family who seem so wonderful.’
Proud: Commending the star, TV doctor Ranj Singh – a regular guest on This Morning – admitted he was bursting with pride
High praise: Fellow presenter Richard Osman also credited the star on Friday morning
Fellow presenter Richard Osman added: ‘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.’
Steps star Ian ‘H’ Watkins, who works with Schofield on Sunday night talent show Dancing On Ice, wrote: ‘Bravo Phillip for your honesty.. Coming out is difficult but your family, friends and fans will be proud of you being your authentic self..
‘I’m proud of your bravery.. Welcome officially to our beautiful rainbow family! We and our ally’s will keep you safe.’
Taking to Twitter, Dermot O’Leary paid tribute to the star, writing: ‘Sending big love to the Schofield and his family, @Schofe Stand up guy, heart of a lion.’
Schofield, who shares daughters Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24, with his wife, spoke on This Morning about his battles with keeping his secret and the relief of coming out.
He met Stephanie when she was a BBC production Assistant and he was working for the BBC Children’s television.
He said at the time: ‘You’d have thought someone wouldn’t be attracted to a man with a puppet and dodgy jumpers! She worked in television years ago, that was how we met, so she can do it, she just doesn’t want to these days.’
Well done Phillip: Stars including Dermot O’Leary, Example and Keith Lemon moved to congratulate the presenter
The moment Phillip Schofield and Ruth Langsford’s feud thawed: Presenter wraps her arms around host after he comes out as gay
Ruth Langsford threw her arms around Phillip Schofield as they appeared to put their feud to bed after he came out as gay on Friday’s episode of This Morning.
The This Morning presenter, 57, took to Instagram on Friday morning to reveal the news in a lengthy and impassioned post before appearing on the magazine show to discuss the news with his co-star and best friend Holly Willoughby during which he broke down in tears.
Following his announcement, Ruth, 59, and Eamonn, 60, joined Phil and Holly on screen and offered them both a hug before sitting down on the sofa.
After wrapping her arms around Phil, Ruth could be heard asking him if he felt ‘better’ after telling viewers the truth about his sexuality, which he claimed had been ‘filling his head’ for a long time now.
Friends? Ruth Langsford threw her arms around Phillip Schofield as they appeared to put their feud to bed after he came out as gay on Friday’s episode of This Morning
During his impassioned announcement, Phil revealed that he was getting to the stage where he ‘no longer liked himself’, which may have been a reference to his ongoing row with Ruth.
Ruth is said to have previously made a formal complaint against him due to the ‘toxic’ backstage atmosphere the alleged feud has created.
However it seems judging by their friendly display during the latest episode of the daytime TV show that their bitter feud has been dispelled by Phil’s announcement.
Eamonn Holmes is slammed by fans for ‘ruining’ Phillip Schofield’s announcement that he is gay as he makes ‘tacky’ hot tub joke and admits he thought he was getting his job
Eamonn Holmes has been slammed by fans for ‘ruining’ Phillip Schofield’s heartfelt announcement that he is gay on Friday’s episode of This Morning.
Viewers were left outraged after the Irish presenter, 57, made a ‘tacky’ hot tub joke and quipped that he thought he was getting his job just minutes after Phil, 57, broke down in tears live on television after coming out.
Phillip, who has been married to wife Steph for 27 years, revealed earlier on Friday in an emotional Instagram message that he is ready to ‘celebrate’ his sexuality after suffering years of ‘inner conflict’.
Following his announcement, Ruth, 59, and Eamonn, 60, joined Phil and Holly on screen
The television star then appeared on This Morning’s sofa on Friday to be interviewed by his best friend and co-host Holly, 38, as the two broke down in tears over the heartfelt announcement. After Phillip’s emotional interview, Eamonn and wife Ruth Langsford, who present the Friday show, joined the duo on the sofa.
Showing their support to the ITV star, Eamonn said: ‘Nobody should be embarrassed about their sexuality.’
To which Phillip awkwardly responded: ‘I’m not,’ with Eamonn adding: ‘It’s fantastic you have spoken. We are all here by your side. We will be the first to stand beside you. It’s brilliant, mate, as long as Steph and the girls are happy.’
Eamonn went on to joke that he was told the television star would be making an announcement and he thought he would be resigning so he could get his job.
He quipped: ‘I am disappointed in a couple of ways, first of all, I thought ‘big announcement from Phillip’ I thought you were going to come in and announce you had resigned and I would take your job, so that wasn’t to be.’
While he went on to joke about Phillip spending so much time with Holly in a hot tub, even poking fun at her ‘Willoughbooby’ nickname.