Phillip Schofield paid tribute to Eamonn Holmes for making him laugh after a “very emotional moment” when the 57-year-old announced he was gay.
The ITV This Morning host, who has been married to his wife Steph for 27 years, made the announcement on yesterday morning’s show.
Prior to appearing he posted a message on his Instagram account in which he said he had “been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay”.
He later appeared on the programme alongside his co-presenter and friend Holly Willoughby (38), and gave an emotional interview about his decision, telling her: “I’ve had to deal with this in my head for quite some time.”
Eamonn Holmes and wife Ruth Langsford (59), who present the Friday show together, were the first to offer support to the dad-of-two.
Belfast-born veteran broadcaster Eamonn branded Schofield’s decision to make the public announcement “fantastic” and said that others would take strength from it.
“Nobody should be embarrassed about their sexuality and it is fantastic that you have spoken out,” he said. “There will be so many people who will be strengthened by what you said and we, as Holly said, are all here by your side and we will be the first to stand beside you.
“Absolutely brilliant, mate. As long as Steph’s happy, the girls are happy, everybody must be happy for you.” He added: “Let’s hear it for Mr S.”
However, Eamonn came in for criticism on social media, after a light-hearted quip that he was “disappointed in a couple of ways” about the announcement.
“First of all I thought you were going to come in and announce you had resigned and I could have your job, but that wasn’t to be,” he joked. He later said: “The second thing, there is this great imponderable in life that has always bothered me, I thought how come he can sit in a hot tub with Holly Willoughby and Steph doesn’t have a problem and Dan (Willoughby’s husband) doesn’t have a problem.”
The comments received a mixed reaction on social media, with some praising Mr Holmes for his good humour, while others derided him for detracting from the serious nature of the announcement.
Eamonn fired back at his critics on Twitter as he posted a picture of himself hugging Schofield and said: “A picture paints a thousand words.
“This is a man who was in pain, who today confided in Ruth and I and who knows we stand in support of him, his family and his sexuality. Also unlike some, he appreciated a laugh to break the tension @Schofe hoping you find happiness.”
Later, Schofield himself posted his thanks for all the support he had received day and gave a special mention to Eamonn and Ruth.
He said: “Can I just say that Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford were utterly magnificent with me today, privately downstairs just the three of us and upstairs in front of the world. I couldn’t have hoped for a better, calming and loving set of hugs and support, I adore them both. And for the record, Eamonn Holmes made me laugh, he lightened a very emotional moment and I’m very happy that he did.”
Among other famous faces who praised the announcement was veteran presenter Gloria Hunniford, who said it was a “very courageous and brave thing to do and also emotional, in terms of his family”.
It is often said who knows the secrets of the human heart? Certainly many viewers of yesterday's episode of This Morning will have been surprised at what presenter Phillip Schofield wanted to tell them about himself.
Well, that was a bolt from the blue, wasn't it? Television presenter Phillip Schofield, who has been taking a lot of flak in the media recently, made headlines on Friday for an entirely different reason. After 27 years of marriage and with two grown-up daughters he's come out as gay.