Phillip Schofield has risked reigniting his feud with Fern Britton as he claimed she didn’t contact him when he came out as gay – but did message his wife.
The presenter, 58, said that he had tried to ‘make it right’ with his former This Morning co-host over the years to no avail and admitted he missed Fern, 63, ‘deeply.’
Writing in his autobiography, Life’s What You Make It, the star, who revealed he was gay in February, said: ‘When I came out, she didn’t text me. She did text Steph though, which was really kind.’
Oh dear: Phillip Schofield has risked reigniting his feud with Fern Britton as he claimed she didn’t contact him when he came out as gay – but did message his wife
Phillip made the decision to come out in February when he shared an emotional Instagram statement with his followers, before being interviewed by co-host Holly just moments later.
The star also detailed a row he had with Fern in a make-up room in 2009 over the content of a show, claiming he was stunned when she allegedly accused him of ‘meddling.’
He said: ‘I walked back into the makeup room and calmly said, ‘Please don’t do that to me again.’
‘I think, for whatever reason, that was the point Fern decided she didn’t want to do This Morning any more.’
Rivals: Writing in his autobiography, Life’s What You Make It, the star, who revealed he was gay in February, said: ‘When I came out, she didn’t text me. She did text Steph though, which was really kind’ (above with Fern)
The daytime TV icon also spoke about his and Fern’s relationship before their feud, revealing he coined the nickname ‘minty m***e’ for her after she dropped a bottle of mint sauce and spilled some on her nightdress.
The pair presented This Morning together for seven years from 2002 until 2009 when Fern departed the programme and was replaced by Holly Willoughby.
While several TV stars came forward to wish Phillip well after his announcement, Fern remained noticeably quiet following longstanding rumours of a rift between the pair.
The dispute between Phillip and Fern was said to have been reignited in 2018 when Fern made it clear she was upset she hasn’t been invited to a special BAFTA ceremony for This Morning.
As the air turned frosty during a video link, fans soon swarmed Twitter to point out ‘the shade’ shortly before Phillip took to the microblogging site to insist she was in fact invited but declined the offer due to work commitments in Scotland.
The row was resolved after Fern’s representatives revealed she had been invited to the BAFTA’s, but they declined on her behalf.
Married: Phillip is pictured with his wife Stephanie Lowe in January 2020
Fern was recruited as a guest presenter on the show in 1993 although nabbed the role of full-time host on the Friday edition alongside John Leslie, who was later replaced by Phil.
After scooping an array of presenting jobs elsewhere, Fern announced in November 2008 that she was taking a break from the show to return two months later – yet in March 2009 she revealed she was permanently leaving the show.
It was claimed at the time her departure was due to the fact she was ‘sick of living in Phil’s shadow’ while he was paid ‘three times her salary’, before she admitted in a 2013 interview that ‘we’re not in touch now’.
Things sparked up once more, as she claimed she had not been invited to the special BAFTA ceremony held in honour of the show.
Emotional: Several stars voiced their support for Phillip when he came out as gay on This Morning in February (pictured with Holly Willoughby in February 2020 above) but Fern remained silent publicly
Fern said at the time: ‘Congratulations, on the BAFTA I would have loved to have been there but I didn’t get an invite. I wasn’t on Monday night.’
Later in the day however, Phillip responded, writing: ‘Odd really, because she was invited and declined #memoryloss we’d have loved her to be there. A vital and much loved part of the show’.
Phillip revealed he once forced his driver to turn around on the way to film This Morning after refusing to appear on the show while struggling with his sexuality.
The TV presenter opened up about his struggles in his new memoir where he told how he ran off set to vomit during the darkest days of hiding his secret from the world.
He added that his friends feared he’d ‘do something stupid’ when he pulled out of hosting This Morning before coming out.
Phil explained how he contacted his wife of 27 years, Stephanie Lowe, to tell her he couldn’t film the show that day, as she was the only person who knew about his hidden sexuality at the time.
Rift: The dispute between Phillip and Fern was reignited in 2018 when Fern was upset she hasn’t been invited to a special BAFTA ceremony for the show (pictured in 2005)
He said: ‘I had to come out. If I didn’t, the secret was going to give me a total breakdown… at best.’
Detailing his decision to pull out of filming, he said: ‘I sat alone in the flat, staring at the walls, as This Morning started on the other side of London.
‘It was a very stupid thing to do… all my closest friends knew how ragged my head was but no one except Steph knew why.’
Phil said he realised he needed to seek help when he had to dash off set to throw up, while he also began taking prescription medication in order to cope.
He said: ‘It was the first time my issues had spilled over into work. Another day I had to leave a fashion item to be sick. I now knew that I needed professional help.’
It’s thought this occurred in March 2019 when Holly Willoughby was forced to present This Morning solo with Phillip ‘off sick’.
She said on air at the time: ‘Well you might have noticed, I’m all by myself. Phillip is not well today and we’re wishing him lots of love and hope that he’s better soon.
‘It’s so weird, I came and sat here and I sat in his chair. It just didn’t seem right to sit in that chair,’ she said as she pointed to the empty seat. ‘And this one to be empty.
Phil has also made the revelation that he lost three stone in weight due to the stresss of coming out.
He said: ‘A few years ago, Steph [his wife] and I had a wonderful holiday in the Hamptons.
‘We’d had our picture taken by a friend and, when I saw it, I was horrified by how chunky I looked.
‘I was probably over twelve stone. I immediately put myself on the 5:2 diet, and it worked, so much so that my weight dropped to just under eleven stone and ITV asked the office if I was okay.’
He continued: ‘I decided that eleven stone was as far as I should go. In the process, I’d shrunk my stomach, so my appetite was much smaller and the weight was easy to maintain.
‘Now, I couldn’t eat at all. I was in such a state of turmoil that I had no interest in food. Steph kept trying to get me to eat, but I couldn’t face anything.
‘My weight dropped, and as it hit nine stone twelve pounds the This Morning viewers started to notice.
‘I was getting Tweets from people asking if I was ill, or saying that if I was on a diet I should stop, because I’d lost too much weight.’
Phillip appeared on Lorraine on Thursday to talk about his new book and the host admitted she was worried about his weight when she saw him in December.
‘People were asking if I was ill’: Phillip has admitted his weight plummeted to 9 stone (left; pictured in February) after he lost 3 stone due to the stress of coming out as gay
He told her: ‘It was the toughest time ever, when you’re going through something like that and trying to pick your way through it.
‘It’s not in my nature to hurt people. There were so may thoughts going through loops in my head. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep.
‘I knew spent whole weekend staring into fire, thinking what would I do. I told everything to Steph, we spoke through everything, there were no secrets., what I knew, she knew.
In his book, Phillip admitted to feeling as though he was in a dark place as he battled his hidden feelings.
He said: ‘All over Christmas and the New Year I was very low and my head was in an extremely dark place.
‘As I watched the fireworks explode over London on the TV on New Year’s Eve, taking us into 2020, I sobbed quietly in the dark.
‘The dawn of a New Year, and every bit of it looked terrifying. It’s hard to explain how I felt, and to some extent still sometimes feel.
He said: ‘Telling the girls almost made me sick. Steph and I couldn’t decide who should drive the car to tell them’ (pictured together in 2018)
‘It’s like being inside the blackest cloud and feeling consumed by crushing, desperate sadness.
‘Nothing and no one can make it better. There’s an overpowering feeling of hopelessness that is very hard to shake.’
Phillip credited his wife and children for supporting him so much through this time.
He said: ‘If I thought about what the potential cost would be, it just plunged me further into crisis.
‘One difficult evening when I was talking it all through with Steph, I said that I felt like I’d fallen into the crack between two lives.
‘How could I possibly align the two? How could I understand the implications? I could see no way forward and no way back. It all seemed so huge and so frightening.
‘She continually reassured me that, no matter what, she unconditionally loved me, and so did the girls.’
Phillip knew that he had to be honest with people in order to be authentic to himself.
‘They were worried’: Phillip told Lorraine on Thursday his friends feared he’d ‘do something stupid’ when he pulled out of hosting This Morning before coming out as gay
He said: ‘As with so many things in my life, I can worry and torture myself but, ultimately, I knew what I had to do. I had to come out. Whatever the cost.
‘Telling the girls almost made me sick. Steph and I couldn’t decide who should drive the car to tell them.
‘Both our legs were like jelly. Steph drove in the end. They were extraordinary.
‘My beautiful, wise, smart girls were suddenly, briefly, the parents as they leapt up to hug me and tell me it was going to be okay.
‘I knew how much it hurt them, and still does, but I’m so bloody proud of them, and I’m so proud of how they have become fierce, protective lionesses around their mum.’
Phillip appeared on Lorraine on Thursday and recalled the moment he told his driver to take him home and turned off his phone while he was scheduled to present the ITV programme with his co-star Holly Willoughby.
Phil, who has just released his autobiography Life’s What You Make It, also described last Christmas as the ‘toughest time ever’ as he ‘couldn’t eat or sleep’ while struggling with his sexuality.