Phillip Schofield revealed his friends feared he’d ‘do something stupid’ when he pulled out of hosting This Morning before coming out as gay in February.
During Thursday’s Lorraine, the broadcaster, 58, 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.
‘They were worried’: Phillip Schofield revealed his friends feared he’d ‘do something stupid’ when he pulled out of hosting This Morning before coming out as gay
The media personality told how he ran off set to vomit during the darkest days of hiding his secret, explaining that he had only contacted his wife of 27 years Stephanie Lowe as she was the only person who knew about his hidden sexuality.
On not being able to go to work one day, the TV star said: ‘I was in the car, going down the m20, .. it had never crept into work, here at work is my sanctuary.
‘My driver Tony, he’s very committed. I said Tony take me to the flat, we drove past here. I just sat in the flat.
‘I made the mistake of turning my phone off, I told Steph and turned my phone off. This Morning started and I wasn’t there. People may have thought that I might have done something stupid, but I wouldn’t have done.’
It’s thought this occurred in March 2019 when Holly Willoughby was forced to present This Morning solo with Phillip ‘off sick’.
‘It was tough’: On Thursday’s Lorraine, the presenter, 58, recalled when he turned off his phone while he was due to host with Holly Willoughby (pictured during his revelation in February)
Sharing his truth: 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’
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.
During the interview, the presenter left Lorraine Kelly, 60, shocked as he spoke about losing three stone in weight due to stress during the festive period last year.
‘It was the toughest time ever’, Phil said. ‘When you’re going through something like that and trying to pick your way through it.
Unconditional: In the memoir, Phil revealed he became ‘aware’ of his sexuality over the past five years, and his wife Steph (pictured in January) was made aware at the same time
‘It’s not in my nature to hurt people. There were so many 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.’
The Dancing On Ice star went on to detail his honest relationship with his long-term partner Steph, with whom he shares daughters Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24.
He shared: ‘I told everything to Steph, we spoke through everything, there were no secrets, what I knew, she knew.’
Phil addressed false reports about a feud between himself and his longtime co-host Holly, 38, as he credited himself ‘lucky’ for receiving her support during his battle.
‘I just sat in my flat’: The media personality told how he ran off set to vomit during the darkest days of hiding his secret
‘I couldn’t eat’: During the interview, the presenter left Lorraine Kelly, 60, shocked as he spoke about losing three stone in weight due to stress during the festive period last year
The ITV star said: ‘When that was happening, we couldn’t have been closer. I told Holly.
‘She knew something was wrong. She asked what’s up and said ‘just talk to me’. We couldn’t have been closer because I told her! The trouble with that is it made things worse, when you see a guy in the paper that you didn’t recognise.’
On how he’s coping with his mental health eight months after coming out publicly, Phil admitted: ‘It’s still tough.
‘It’s a work in progress. I’m very conscious of Steph, of the girls. I’m still me, they’re still them.’
The Cube star went on to offer some words of advice to men who may be struggling with their mental health.
He said: ‘I use a red flag emoji [to signal when he’s struggling]. I say a lot in there, encourage anybody especially men, say you have got to talk things through.
‘It’s dangerous to do it on your own. But If I post this red flag emoji, they’d come running. My greatest thing is that if you are struggling, you have to speak out. And trust that people will be there for you.’
The Oldham native ended his interview by explaining why he decided to tell his story in his own words, and shared his relief at the positive response he’s received from fans.
Phil expressed: ‘It was an opportunity to me to do just that. I didn’t want ghost-writer or any help. I Didn’t tell people I was writing it.
‘I wrote the first chapter in 2019 and sent it to my team, they said this is good, you should write this. Then lockdown started, and I thought they’re right, I should write this.
‘If I didn’t come out, the secret was going to give me a total breakdown… at best’: On Wednesday’s edition of The One Show, he elaborated on his comments about his mental fight
‘Steph and family knew, but I told no one else. I fot into it and really enjoyed it. All the stories wanted to tell, backstage, things I’ve never told before.
‘It was incredible, people were so lovely. After I had done that… I had to plan that, the whole thing. I hated that, had to plan with Holly, the office, everyone had to find out and in the right order.
‘Doing something like that, I wanted to get it right, wanted it to be dignified. When I went out, an elderly lady stopped me, grabbed my arm and said ‘I want to talk to you. I’m so proud of you, you’ve helped so many people’. There’s been a lot of that, which was lovely.’
On Wednesday’s edition of The One Show, he elaborated on his comments about his mental fight as he said: ‘I had to come out. If I didn’t, the secret was going to give me a total breakdown… at best.’
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.
Explaining the turmoil that led to his public coming out interview, Phil revealed he ‘sobbed quietly in the dark’ while watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks just weeks prior.
While he would tell colleagues his weekend was ‘fine’, Phil admitted the reality was he would stare at the flames in the fire and ‘wish they were consuming him’, as he detailed some of the dark places his mind went to.
In the autobiography, Phil revealed he became ‘increasingly aware’ of his sexuality over the past five years, and his wife was made aware at the same time.
He also confided in his two daughters, but claimed he ‘felt sick’ before opening up to them about his sexuality.
Phil insisted he ‘unequivocally’ did not know he was gay and wouldn’t have got married to Steph if he did.
Another person who supported him wholeheartedly was his friend and colleague Holly, who was the first person he told at work.
Phil invited Holly to his dressing room to talk about it after Holly grew suspicious and increasingly worried, and after their chat they saw a white feather on the floor outside the dressing room.
Phil recalled: ‘She picked it up and gave it to me, and she said ‘see it’s all going to be okay.’ The feather is still in my wallet.’
He said she was the first person at work he told about his sexuality and he met up with her in a London bar to discuss how they would handle his coming out on the show.
Family: The ITV stra also confided in his two daughters Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24, but claimed he ‘felt sick’ before opening up to them about his sexuality (pictured in 2018)
The presenter said: ‘[Holly was] absolutely vital, couldn’t have done it with anyone else, I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to be sat beside me.
‘We had a big lead up, Holly was one of the first people I told when I knew what I had to do, she is such a wise person.
‘She has got such a calm sensitive aura to her, at home everyone was saying it’ll be fine and Holly was saying at work, ‘it’ll be fine’, she was the only one that knew at that time at work.’
Phillip admitted he knew there would be a ‘massive amount of scrutiny’ on him after he came out.
He said: ‘We had to figure out how to do something like that, it had to be public. I knew there would be a massive amount of scrutiny.
‘I said to Holly: ‘I’ll do it on a Thursday morning and then ill go and you carry on,’ and we were in a bar in London secretly having this meeting and she said: ‘Are you joking? There’s no chance that you leave and I carry on.’
‘She said: ‘No, we’ll do it on a Friday and ask Ruth and Eamonn if we can knick 10 minutes from their show, so we do it and then both leave together.’ ‘
In April, Phillip moved out of the £2 million modern rustic property near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire and is living in a central London apartment where he commutes to ITV’s White City studios.
‘We couldn’t have been closer’: Phil addressed false reports about a feud between himself and his longtime co-host Holly, 38, as he credited himself ‘lucky’ for receiving her support
The anchor previously revealed 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.
But he said he was ‘naive’ to think he could suppress his sexuality when he married Stephanie 27 years ago, and he didn’t consider his sexuality as it was such a ‘joyous time’ for him.
Phillip also 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.
Grateful: ‘[Holly was] absolutely vital, couldn’t have done it with anyone else, I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to be sat beside me’, he said about his close friend
Between 10am to 10.15am on February 7, when Phillip segment was on, the show racked up 1.83million viewers, compared with the previous week’s ratings of 800,000.
Many people unable to witness the extraordinary episode live flocked to YouTube, where the show shares snippets to its channel.
The interview has been viewed more than 6.6million times on YouTube, becoming one of the daytime programme’s most watched ever clips.
The One Show airs weekdays 7pm on BBC One and is available on BBC iPlayer.