Phillip Schofield’s mother has told of her pride in her TV presenter son after he came out as gay.
Schofield spoke publicly about his sexuality for the first time on Friday in an emotional on-air chat with his This Morning co-host and close friend Holly Willoughby.
The TV star, who has been a fixture on the programme since 2002, has been married to wife Steph for more than 20 years and they have two grown-up daughters.
Schofield visited his mother, 83-year-old Pat, in Cornwall to tell her the news and she revealed she told him “I don’t care”.
She told the Mirror: “For him to be so brave in front of so many people was inspiring, because I know how hard it was for him to do.
“I love Steph and the girls more than anything in the world and I will always be there for them.
“When Phillip drove to Cornwall to tell me, the first thing I said was I don’t care.
“Yes it was a shock, but nothing as a family that we can’t support and applaud.”
Schofield, 57, stunned viewers on Friday with a bombshell announcement on the This Morning sofa.
The final show of the week is usually hosted by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, but Schofield and Willoughby appeared as guests.
Willoughby, 38, read out a statement from her co-presenter, revealing his years of struggling with being gay, including some “very dark moments”.
It said: “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.”
Schofield, who met Steph, 55, while she worked in production and he on a BBC children’s TV show, said his wife has been “incredible,” adding “she is the kindest soul I have ever met”.
He said their daughters have been “astonishing in their love” while both his and Steph’s families have “stunned” him with their support.
On the This Morning sofa, Schofield spoke of that support.
He told Willoughby: “It’s funny because everyone I have spoken to, you have all been so supportive, so loving and caring.
“My entire family, to a person, have grabbed us and said ‘It’s OK, we love you, we are proud of you’, and every person I tell, it gets a little lighter and a little lighter.
“But at the same time I’ve made this decision, which is essential for me and for my head, which is the reason why I’ve done this, I’m very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this. They have been supporting this as, we got to this moment.”
He added that while he felt “a little lighter” having made the announcement, he was also “very aware, there is no question that it causes pain and it causes upset”.
He said he has “no secrets” from his wife, adding: “We have never had any secrets.
“It’s tough, this is not something that has happened quickly, I’ve had to deal with this in my head for quite some time. We’ve been honest and open.”
After Willoughby commented that he had not had his “hand forced” to make the announcement, he said: “This is my decision. This is absolutely my decision. It was something I knew that I had to do.”
Schofield’s decision to come out received widespread praise.
TV comedian Matt Lucas said it “cannot have been an easy statement to make”.
He added: “People come out at different stages in their lives. Good luck Philip xxxx.”
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan tweeted: “Takes a lot of guts to do this, not least when you’re a very public figure & know it will all be dissected in a very public way.
“Sending my very best to @schofe & his family.”
Actor and singer John Barrowman, who appears with Schofield on ITV series Dancing On Ice, welcomed his news and said “the nation loves you for who you are”.