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Phillip Schofield was widely praised after he came out as gay in an Instagram post in February and later discussed the announcement on ITV show ‘This Morning’. He described the “guilt” he felt for the “hurt”, “pain” and “upset” he had caused his family but revealed, “I am proud of myself today”. The popular presenter praised his wife of 27 years, Stephanie Lowe, as the “kindest soul” he had ever met and explained that she had helped him to accept his sexuality. During his early career, speculation emerged that he may have been gay but at the time – as is the right of any person – the star did not feel ready to publicly discuss it. In an unearthed interview, he sternly denied being attracted to men and claimed the speculation about his love life emerged because he was a “fresh face” on the TV.
Phillip Schofield was asked about his sexuality shortly after finishing a successful stint on the London’s West End in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’.
He had taken a break from BBC’s ‘Going Live!’ to spearhead the Andrew Lloyd Webber production for six weeks while former-lead Jason Donovan took a break.
Despite having little performing experience besides “singing in the bath” and serenading girlfriends with Barbara Streisand covers, he was an undeniable success.
Following his theatre run, journalist Caroline Phillips – then working for the Evening Standard – claimed the star appeared to be caught off guard when forthright inquiries about whether he was gay in 1992.
She wrote that the star was “talking fast and nervously” when he was confronted with the question and said: “Phee… Nobody has ever said that to my face. People say all sorts of things, about how much I earn and so on.
“It makes no odds to me what people say, but I think my girlfriend would have something to say about it.”
He referred to his future wife Stephanie Lowe, who he had been introduced to at a party during the Eighties, while she worked as a production assistant at the BBC.
Later in his career, he admitted it was “years before anything happened” between them and they became an item after she moved in as a house-sitter while he filmed the travel show ‘Schofield’s Europe’, a 2012 Daily Mirror article reported.
When asked if Stephanie was a “cover-up”, he laughed: “You can’t win then, can you? But I’d defy them to find any evidence of this allegation.”
After the Ms Phillips asked why he thought others questioned his sexuality, he replied: “I don’t know. Maybe because I’m fresh-faced. Maybe because I’m not open, so people assume there is something to hide.”
He considered that there could have been questions about his sexuality because he didn’t like to discuss his private life.
Phillip said: “People start saying, ‘There’s no smoke without fire’, but that’s not true. I’m secretive because you have to keep something private.”
The young star admitted that he struggled to understand what love meant at the time because he was bombarded with proclamations of affection from fans – which he felt demeaned the words.
Around that time in his career he was voted ‘Britain’s Most Eligible Bachelor’ in a magazine poll and received up to 2,000 letters a week – some reportedly included “sexy suggestions” from mothers and their daughters.
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When asked if he trusted women, he said: “Yeah, but that’s a tricky one.
“You’re told that people love you all the time, so when it’s actually said genuinely it’s difficult to take notice of it.
“You end up analysing it too much rather than accepting it at its face value.”
Despite this, Phillip claimed to not crave being loved by viewers and admitted he wasn’t “that insecure”.
Commenting on his relationship with Stephanie, he stated that he thought he was in love and described how he appreciated a companion to share time with.
He said: “What does being in love mean? We get on very well. She’s very close to me and we’re good mates.
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“Love is about trusting someone, having them trust you, enjoying seeing them, liking their company.”
Phillip and Stephanie were living in a Victorian house in west London at the time and while he admitted they had “not discussed marriage” due to only living together for around 12 months – despite this they tied the knot less than a year later in 1993.
It was the first time he had lived with someone else after claiming he spent years in “a bedsit on my own”.
He added: “Now I like it. I like having someone to come home to and discuss things with.
“I like coming home when the lights are on in the house, bread’s being baked and the garden is mowed.”
Phillip admitted that his fame made it hard for him to be vulnerable, stating that it was a “strange lifestyle” because you’re “never finished being on the show”.
He claimed to be able to express himself “behind closed doors” but at times admitted his dependence on others was “suppressed” and that you “lose a part of yourself”.
Phillip added: “I think the part of me that relies on other people is rather undernourished. You end up making yourself more independent than you would have been.
“I’ve probably become more confident than I would have been and I also have a self-preservation order slapped on the inside of my eyelids.”
Express.co.uk reached out to representatives of Phillip Schofield but they did not wish to comment.
While they did not address the statements made by the star to Caroline Phillips 28 years ago, the presenter did reveal his reasoning for making the announcement on ‘This Morning’ earlier this year.
He told co-star Holly Willoughby: “You know this has been bothering me for a very long time.
“I think everybody does these things at their own speed, in their own time, when they feel the time is right.
“There is no question that it, in recent times, has consumed my head. And has become an issue in my head.
“All you can be in life, is honest with yourself. And I was getting to the point when 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.”
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