Phillip Schofield worried people would think he was coming out as a ‘publicity stunt’

This Morning host Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield has said a lot of thought went into deciding when he would come out, choosing a moment where it was least likely to be branded a ‘publicity stunt’.

The long-serving This Morning presenter came out as gay in February last year, after 27 years married to his wife Steph.

Schofield was praised for his bravery after an emotional segment in which he spoke to his co-host Holly Willoughby about the inner turmoil he had felt.

The TV presenter has now revealed that he held back the revelation until after January’s National Television Awards, so he could not be accused of using the moment to garner support.

Phillip Schofield coming out segment was held back to avoid awards clash

Speaking on the podcast Life, Interrupted with Simon Thomas, he explained: “I discussed how we were going to do it with [wife] Steph, and the team around me. I said to Holly, it has to be on This Morning, I owe it to our viewers, because it is all a family, and they have to be the first to hear.”

Schofield explained that the segment was originally planned for a Thursday, but was moved to a Friday – when he and Willoughby are not usually working – so neither of them would have to present an entire show afterwards.

He added: “The date was decided because we didn’t want it to be too close to the NTAs (National Television Awards), we didn’t want it to look like it was a publicity thing.

“I can remember saying ‘This is ridiculous, you know, this is the biggest thing I’m ever gonna do in my life. How is this a publicity stunt? For what?’

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield pose with an award at the National Television Awards 2020

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield pose with an award at the National Television Awards 2020 (Getty/Gareth Cattermole)

“All of that, and then the date was set… and then I went in, we went upstairs and I sat on the sofa with Holly, and there’s no way it would have been anyone else.

“There’s not a single person on this planet that I would have done that with other than Holly. It was only going to be her.

“She was unbelievable… it’s a fine line, and she had to ask the right questions. She couldn’t give me an easy ride, it had to be tough questions, but at the same time making sure that I was okay, because she knew that I wasn’t.

“That was a very difficult gig for her but she was so magnificent.”

TV presenter insists he did not lie to his wife

Schofield also responded to “cruel” critics, who suggested he deceived Steph, his wife of 27 years, about his sexuality.

He said: “People have said, cruelly, you lied to your wife for 27 years. No, not true. It was absolutely not on my radar, otherwise I wouldn’t have got married.

“Steph is the woman of my dreams, she’s the ideal, perfect wonderful person. If, when I’d got married, it had been there, I would have said.”

He added: “When I knew, Steph knew. When it became even the tiniest seed of doubt, we talked it through. We talk about everything, there’s no secrets.

“When it got really dark, Steph spent evenings and nights with me telling how important I was to her and the girls.

“For someone you love so much, there’s no way that’s easy for her, and it’s not easy for her to hear me having these conversations, but we are picking our way through. We love each other madly, and it’s still us four, us and the girls, but different.”