The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Phil’s daughter: I’m so proud of you, Dad
Schof ield says he probably knew he was gay on his wedding day– but was so happy he didn’t consider it
PHILLIP SCHOFIELD’S eldest daughter yesterday revealed her pride at her father’s decision to come out as gay. Molly, 27, wrote on Instagram: ‘Love you always, so proud of you.’
Her words accompanied a picture of her with her father, her mother Stephanie and her younger sister Ruby, 24, while on a family holiday in Portugal.
She is said to have a particularly close relationship with the This Morning presenter and last year began working as his agent.
Schofield last night admitted he had known that he was gay ‘for a while’, but said it wasn’t something he had considered when he married wife Steph in 1993. In an interview with the Sun on Sunday, the This Morning host said: ‘I admit I was perhaps a bit naive. But when we got married it was a joyous time and it wasn’t a consideration in my head...
‘I was confused by what it was. I thought maybe I was bisexual. But over time I realised and started coming to terms with it. And I realised I had to be honest with myself.’
During his television revelation on Friday, Schofield, 57, paid tribute to his family, saying: ‘My family have held me close. They have tried to cheer me up, to smother me with kindness and love, despite their own confusion.’
He told the Sun on Sunday it was too early to say if he and his wife will remain married. ‘It has taken me a long time to get here. I am not rushing to get to any other place,’ he said.
He declined to say if he was in a relationship with a man, or had been in the past, adding: ‘Steph and I have agreed to keep our private life private.’
The Mail on Sunday has learned that Friday’s announcement followed a frenzied 24 hours for ITV, during which a carefully orchestrated plan was put in motion to ensure his coming out went without a hitch. Rumours have circulated within the showbusiness world that the announcement may have been prompted by an approach to Schofield from a media organisation. This was said to have led to discussions between the TV presenter, his representatives, ITV head of daytime Emma Gormley and This Morning editor Martin Frizell. It is understood those present were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements to prevent damaging leaks.
On Thursday morning, Frizell, a workaholic, was notably absent from the daily ideas meeting he usually leads. Production executives began to suspect something was afoot and later overnight staff were told to cancel a number of guests booked to appear on the following morning’s programme, due to be presented by Friday hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes.
But it was when Frizell, husband of former GMTV host Fiona Phillips, arrived from his home in Wandsworth, South-West London, earlier than normal at 6.45am on Friday and looking tired that This Morning’s behind-the-scenes team guessed they were in for a different kind of day. It is understood
Frizell had toiled until the early hours ensuring that Schofield’s Instagram and Twitter posts announcing his coming out – issued to coincide with his televised revelation – were word perfect. He also worked on the interview with Schofield that co-presenter Holly Willoughby was preparing to conduct, post announcement.
The only other party who knew of the plans except Schofield’s family was the £30,000-per-month crisis management firm Phil Hall Associates who he instructed to work on his behalf three months ago when allegations of bullying by Schofield – which he angrily denied – began to circulate.
Frizell’s next job was to call Langsford and Holmes, who according to close friends were expecting their once-a-week presenting slot to be no different from any other. They were let into the ‘circle of trust’ just after 7am via their mobiles as they travelled to work.
An hour and a half later, staff were said to be ‘stunned’ when Willoughby and Schofield unexpectedly arrived in the studios.
Schofield went on to make his announcement, and then the two This Morning pairings embraced on camera.
For the first time in a career that has spanned more than three decades, golden boy of television Schofield has in recent months seen his name tarnished by accusations of being difficult to work with.
There were rumours of a fall-out with Willoughby, while Ms Langsford reportedly made an official complaint against him. ITV denied all claims.
Tomorrow though, ITV staff are expecting a ratings boost when Schofield and Willoughby return to their presenting duties.