Phillip Schofield is praised by Dancing On Ice judge Ashley Banjo

Phillip Schofield returns to screens for the first time since coming out as gay – with Dancing on Ice’s Ashley Banjo leading the praise for the presenter saying: ‘We have nothing but love and respect for you’

  • Ashley Banjo said: ‘You have always been an absolute legend. We’ve got nothing but love and respect for you
  • Schofield, 57, joked that it ‘wasn’t about him’ after Ashley’s kind comments which were met with applause 
  • Phillip had recently revealed that he battled suicidal thoughts and even sought therapy on his sexuality 

Phillip Schofield was praised by Dancing On Ice judge Ashley Banjo on Sunday after the presenter returned to TV for the first time since coming out as gay on Friday.

The presenter, 57, joked that it ‘wasn’t about him’ after Ashley said he had ‘nothing but love and respect’ for Phil, sparking a thunderous reception from the audience.

Phillip joined Holly on the show as the remaining seven couples took to the ice to display a variety of different dance styles, ranging from Disco to Morris Dancing.

He’s back! Phillip Schofield has made his first TV appearance after coming out as gay, as he joined Holly Willoughby to host Dancing On Ice on Sunday

After Phillip and Holly introduced the ice panel, Ashley said: ‘Can I say just say Phil, big week and you have always been an absolute legend, but never more than this week my friend.

‘And I think I speak on behalf of all of us when I say we have got nothing but love and respect for you.’

Phillip recently revealed that he battled suicidal thoughts and even sought therapy on his sexuality, and added he was ‘naive’ to think he could suppress it when he married Stephanie in 1993.

On Friday Phillip emotionally revealed that he was gay in a lengthy social media post, before speaking about his sexuality to Holly Willoughby on This Morning.

He said he had been leading the ‘perfect life’ after getting married and raising his two children, claiming he hadn’t wanted anything to get in the way of his happiness.

Phillip told The Sun On Sunday that he does believe he’s known he was gay throughout his marriage to Stephanie, saying: ‘Whatever was ”there” I thought, ”OK, whatever this is, you stay back because I am happy.”

The veteran TV star added that he was ‘naive’ to think he could suppress his sexuality when he married Stephanie 27 years ago, but he didn’t consider his sexuality as it was such a ‘joyous time’ for him.

‘If you ask anyone who is gay, they know — there is no confusion.’

As Phillip praised his This Morning co-host Holly Willoughby, he admitted he battled depression as he struggled with his sexuality, and even sought therapy to come to terms with it, before deciding he found it more helpful speaking to friends in private.

He admitted: ‘I went to seek professional help, I sat down and poured out my heart.’

Close: The This Morning presenter admitted that before coming out he had suicidal thoughts and even sought therapy on his sexuality, and added he was ‘naive’ to think he could suppress it when he married Stephanie in 1993 (above in 1996)

Phillip added that the strain of keeping his sexuality a secret even took a toll on his physical health and his weight plummeted as he threw himself into work.

When asked about the future of his marriage to Stephanie, Phillip was unsure about whether they will divorce in the future, and declined to comment on whether he is in a relationship with a man or has been in the past.

Phillip also admitted that for a time he thought he was bisexual, and it took time for him to be honest with him and accept that he was gay.

The How To Spend It Well star added that the mental struggles have left him in tears on numerous occasions.

Phillip also highly praised his wife Stephanie for being such a supportive figure following his decision to come out, and explained that he finally spoke out to her after she and his two daughters noticed he had been ‘low’ in the previous months. 

Amid the fallout around his decision to come out, Phillip insisted that he is still the same person that viewers see on their television every day, and wants to focus on the most important people in his life. 

Just hours before Phillip’s interview it was reported by The Mirror that his sexuality had become an ‘open secret’ on the This Morning set, and he first spoke to ITV bosses about his decision to come out on Thursday.

Following his public coming-out, Phil took to Instagram to emotionally thank fans for their support.

He wrote: ‘You will never know how important your support has been today, I’ve read as much as I can. 

Urging others in a similar situation to turn to others for support, he added: ‘Please please, no matter your age or your thoughts, TALK to someone, don’t let your head beat you and hopefully you’ll find out that your friends and family have a remarkable ability to surprise you with their love and understanding.’ 

‘Be kind’: The star praised the ‘love and understanding’ his family have shown him while urging others in a similar situation to turn to others for support

Hours earlier, Phillip revealed that he has been ‘consumed’ by a secret battle with his sexuality for years and finally made the decision to come out as gay, following a series of ‘heartbreaking conversations with his family. 

Phillip married Stephanie in 1993 and they share daughters Ruby, 24, and Molly, 27. 

He met Stephanie when she was a BBC production assistant and he was working for BBC Children’s television. They married back in 1993 and celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 2018.

He shared a statement to Instagram on Friday morning and admitted his beloved daughters ‘jumped up and gave him a hug’ just seconds after he spoke about his sexuality, as he praised the support of he has received from his ‘incredible family.’

‘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’. 

Phil also revealed that he had suffered ‘dark moments, pain and confusion’ as he gradually came to terms with his sexual orientation, before finally deciding to come out to the public. 

His statement read: ‘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.’

‘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.

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.’

 

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