Phillip Schofield, 59, has revealed that he and his wife Stephanie Lowe, who still have great affection and respect for each other, “haven’t discussed” divorcing. Meanwhile, he told This Morning co-star Holly Willoughby that he was in no rush to date a man, despite Graham Norton’s cheeky remarks about the possibility of a “secret boyfriend”.
When he posted an Instagram photo during lockdown, describing himself and a male companion out for a walk, the rumor mill immediately started spinning.
However, he was quick to shut down suggestions for a romance, telling fans, “It’s what they call family friends who have known you for 20 years who come over to check you’re okay.”
On an episode of the How To Wow podcast, he told Chris Evans that he didn’t know if or when he would remove his wedding ring, reasoning, “I’m still married to Steph.”
He added, “It’s not in my nature to hurt people and so I have to come to terms with the fact that I did that… I tried very hard not to do it.
READ NOW: John Cleese exits BBC interview beyond questioning
“I’m also saying, is it possible to come out and not hurt your wife? No of course not. My biggest concern is that she is okay.”
So far, he hasn’t publicly announced a new relationship and has hinted that he’s not ready to start dating just yet.
That didn’t stop his showbiz colleague Graham Norton, 57, from impishly joking about the “secret friend” Phillip may be “disappearing”.
“Would I go out with him? I’m not sure,” Graham giggled mysteriously to Chris on the aforementioned podcast after the topic of gay celebrity dating came up.
Affectionately shortening his showbiz star’s name, he added, “I imagine Pip has a secret boyfriend somewhere.
“I don’t know why I call him Pip!”
But Graham retracted his joke shortly thereafter.
When pressed when asked if “Pip” had a partner, Chris clarified, “No, not that I know of!”
The conversation turned more serious as he reflected on what the This Morning star might have been feeling before revealing his sexuality to the world.
“Keeping secret what that’s doing to you… it’s so weird,” Graham lamented, adding that even as a “kid” he found it hard enough to keep his gay identity a secret.
Although Graham is a successful TV presenter, he explained that to this day he still has to come out to people “constantly”.
“I’m as gay and as famous as it gets, and even now I’ll still be sitting in the back of a cab and the cab driver will make some remarks about … women wearing thin dresses or short skirts or low skirts – cropped tops,” he explained.
“As a gay man in the back of the cab, you have a choice to make.
“‘Am I going to come out to this man? Or will I smile and nod and hope this conversation changes?’”
He added, “I think it’s on a need-to-know basis and I think Phillip Schofield got to a point where he felt like people needed to know.”
Graham did, however, laud the fact that those around him had “instantly accepted” his sexuality – and similarly, Phil said he encountered a surge of support while going live on the air with his friend and co-host Holly Willoughby.
He had been married to Stephanie for 27 years.
Luckily, she has been supportive, as have the two grown daughters Molly and Ruby the couple shares.