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Editor's Viewpoint

Phillip Schofield has shown it's better to unburden a secret

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TV presenter Phillip Schofield

TV presenter Phillip Schofield

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TV presenter Phillip Schofield

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.

In a sense the ITV magazine show provided the perfect format for Schofield to break the news that he was gay. It is a programme that is no stranger to hosting guests brought onto the sofa to talk about the most difficult, personal and traumatic events in their lives.

As one of its hosts, Schofield himself has demonstrated considerable flair and empathy while listening to a wide variety of stories.

So it was fitting that yesterday he found himself surrounded by friends as he made his disclosure. As well as hugs from his long-standing co-presenter Holly Willoughby, fellow hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford were there to provide support.

Afterwards there was an outpouring of affection for a TV star many have been watching since his days in children's television.

To his credit, Schofield did not shy away from even the more difficult aspects of his announcement. While there was clearly a sense of someone who had wrestled with their identity for years finally being able to be true to themselves, Schofield also acknowledged the huge impact his journey of self-discovery has had on those he loves most, namely his wife and two grown-up daughters.

The steps that Schofield has taken over the years to reach this point will have been ones of immense emotional turmoil.

The decision to unburden such a secret will not have been taken lightly. Happily, it seems that at his most troubled, Schofield has been able to count on the unconditional love of those closest to him.

In that respect, he is fortunate. No doubt there are others who struggle with the same issues and who will have watched Schofield make his announcement yet sadly feel that they could never do the same thing.

One of the key points that Schofield stressed, however, was how much he and family had discussed matters in the months leading up to his brave decision to go public.

No matter how difficult conversations can be for those taking part in them, it is always better to try and talk about something that is causing pain or unhappiness rather than keep bottling it up.

As Schofield's experiences yesterday demonstrate, sometimes people can respond much more kindly and with greater empathy than you might think.

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