‘She texted my wife, not me’: Phillip Schofield claims Fern Britton didn’t contact him when he came out as gay and admits he ‘misses’ his former rival
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 memoirwhere he told how he ran off set to vomit during the darkest days of hiding his secret from the world.
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.
‘I’ve no secrets’: Full transcript from Phillip Schofield’s interview with Holly Willoughby on This Morning
‘It’s funny because, everyone I’ve spoken to, you, have all been so supportive and so loving and caring.
‘And my entire family to a person have grabbed us and said it’s OK, it’s OK, we love you, we’re proud of you.
‘And every person I tell it gets a little lighter and a little lighter but at the same time, you know, I have made this decision which is essential for me and essential for my head and that’s principally the decision why I’ve done this.
‘Of course I’m really very aware that Steph and the girls are at home watching this and we’re all together, and we spent a lot of time together, we spend a lot of time together obviously.
‘And they’ve been supporting us as we got to this moment and we all knew it was coming.
A pillar of support: TV presenter Phillip Schofield on ITV’s This Morning talking with Holly Willoughby today about his announcement that he is gay
‘So, yeah, I mean I feel a little lighter, but I’m also very aware, there’s no question that it causes pain and it causes upset. I’ve no secrets. We’ve never had any secrets. Tough, it is tough, but this is not something that’s happened quickly. I’ve had to deal with this in my head for quite some time.
‘We’ve gone through this together and we’ve been honest and we’ve been open. Steph, as I said, I can’t write in any statement what I feel about that women.
‘She is amazing, she’s incredible. There’s no one in my life who would have supported me the way, as a wife, as the way she supported me. She’s astonishing, literally astonishing.
‘It’s a good question (why now). You know this has been bothering me for a very long time and I think everybody does these things at their own speed, at their own time, when they feel the time is right.
‘I’ve no secrets’: Full transcript from Phillip Schofield’s interview with Holly Willoughby on This Morning
‘And there’s no question that it has in recent times consumed my head and has become an issue in my head.
‘And so I got to the stage where I thought we sit here every day, and I’m over there and some amazingly brave incredible person is sitting here, and I’m listening to their story and thinking ‘oh my God, you’re so brave, oh my God, you’re so brave’.
‘And I’m thinking ”I have to be that person, I have to be that person”. I think all you can be in your life is honest with yourself. I was getting to the point where I knew I wasn’t honest with myself, I was getting to the point where I didn’t like myself very much because I wasn’t being honest with myself.
‘And so, when is the right time, when is the right time to do it? And as a family, it’s the right time.
‘There are people around the world, there are people in this country, there will be people watching this, and we always say talk to someone, and believe me, believe me, when we say that and we do say that a lot on this show, you must talk to someone, you must talk to someone, i have and it’s helped a lot.
‘And it’s brought me back – i mentioned those dark places in the statement – talking to people does bring you back. And in some cases talking to people saves you. You have to discuss it, with my friends, with my family, with my wife, we’ve talked it through – and we have to talk it through.
‘This is my decision, this is absolutely my decision. It was something I knew that I had to do. And I don’t know what the world will be like now – I don’t know how this will be taken, or what people will think.
He said: ‘But at the same time I will sit here and say actually, I’m proud of myself today. And I am proud of myself today’
‘But would I say is that yes, I am very conscious of the hurt, and so my overriding emotion with my family is obviously going to be guilt, because I do feel guilty that this can’t be anything other than a painful process for them.
‘But at the same time I will sit here and say actually, I’m proud of myself today. And I am proud of myself today. It wasn’t easy but they (my daughters) were, they are so amazing in their love and support.
‘I sat them down and I told them and they jumped up and they gave me a hug, a big hug, a long hug, and then they hugged Steph and they said it’s OK, we’ll be OK, we’ll always be a family, always us four, is what we always call ourselves. We’ll always be that.
‘It was the same with my mum, my mum is watching this today. She’s been on the phone this morning – hope you’re OK. I went down to see her, she’s down in Cornwall, and I went down to see her. And I told her and she said ‘oh, OK, well, I don’t care’ – and that’s the same with everyone.
‘No I don’t think so (thinking about future relationships) – I’m not thinking there. I’m doing each day at a time now, this has always been a slow process and there is no fast process after this.
‘This was the big day and this was the day that I knew everything was pointing towards and I could not have don’t it if it hadn’t been you. So afterwards I don’t know, but no, there’s no one, I’m not rushing out to anybody.’
His side of the story: Phillip was open and honest during the appearance in which he chatted to his good friend
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