Fern Britton silent as Phillip Schofield comes out as gay – Daily Mail

Fern Britton has remained silent on Phillip Schofield’s decision to come out as gay.

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 have come forward to wish Phillip, 57, well after his announcement, Fern, 62, has remained noticeably quiet following longstanding rumours of a rift between the pair.

Keeping quiet: Fern Britton, 62, has remained silent on Phillip Schofield’s decision to come out as gay (pictured in 2009)

Keeping quiet: Fern Britton, 62, has remained silent on Phillip Schofield’s decision to come out as gay (pictured in 2009)

Keeping quiet: Fern Britton, 62, has remained silent on Phillip Schofield’s decision to come out as gay (pictured in 2009) 

Phillip bravely revealed he was gay on Friday’s episode of This Morning and was supported by Holly and fellow This Morning co-stars Eamon Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

The TV presenter has since admitted he ‘knew’ he was gay when he married Stephanie Lowe, his wife of 27 years.

MailOnline has contacted representatives for Fern for comment. 

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. 

Several stars have voiced their support for Phillip when he came out as gay on This Morning on Friday (pictured with Holly Willoughby in February 2020)

Several stars have voiced their support for Phillip when he came out as gay on This Morning on Friday (pictured with Holly Willoughby in February 2020)

Several stars have voiced their support for Phillip when he came out as gay on This Morning on Friday (pictured with Holly Willoughby in February 2020)

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.

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’.

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)

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)

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) 

Things sparked up once more, as she claimed she had not been invited to the special BAFTA ceremony held in honour of the show.

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’. 

It comes as Phillip said he had been leading the ‘perfect life’ after getting married and raising his two children, claiming he hadn’t wanted anything to get in the way of his happiness. 

Phillip told The Sun On Sunday that he does believe he’s known he was gay throughout his marriage to Stephanie, saying: ‘Whatever was ”there” I thought, ”OK, whatever this is, you stay back because I am happy.”

The veteran TV star added that he was ‘naive’ to think he could suppress his sexuality when he married Stephanie 27 years ago, but he didn’t consider his sexuality as it was such a ‘joyous time’ for him.

Feud: The row was resolved after Fern's representatives revealed she had been invited to the BAFTA's, but they declined on her behalf (pictured in 2008)

Feud: The row was resolved after Fern's representatives revealed she had been invited to the BAFTA's, but they declined on her behalf (pictured in 2008)

Feud: The row was resolved after Fern’s representatives revealed she had been invited to the BAFTA’s, but they declined on her behalf (pictured in 2008) 

Phillip met Stephanie when she was a BBC production assistant and he was working for BBC Children’s television. They married back in 1993 and celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 2018.

He shared a statement to Instagram on Friday morning and admitted his beloved daughters ‘jumped up and gave him a hug’ just seconds after he spoke about his sexuality, as he praised the support of he has received from his ‘incredible family.’

‘If you ask anyone who is gay, they know — there is no confusion.’

As Phillip praised his This Morning co-host Holly Willoughby, he admitted he battled depression as he struggled with his sexuality, and even sought therapy to come to terms with it, before deciding he found it more helpful speaking to friends in private.

He admitted: ‘I went to seek professional help, I sat down and poured out my heart.’

Co-stars: It was claimed at the time her departure from This Morning in 2009 was due to the fact she was 'sick of living in Phil's shadow' pictured in 2008)

Co-stars: It was claimed at the time her departure from This Morning in 2009 was due to the fact she was 'sick of living in Phil's shadow' pictured in 2008)

Co-stars: It was claimed at the time her departure from This Morning in 2009 was due to the fact she was ‘sick of living in Phil’s shadow’ pictured in 2008) 

Phillip added that the strain of keeping his sexuality a secret even took a toll on his physical health and his weight plummeted as he threw himself into work.

When asked about the future of his marriage to Stephanie, Phillip was unsure about whether they will divorce in the future, and declined to comment on whether he is in a relationship with a man or has been in the past.

Phillip also admitted that for a time he thought he was bisexual, and it took time for him to be honest with him and accept that he was gay.

The How To Spend It Well star added that the mental struggles have left him in tears on numerous occasions.

Phillip also highly praised Stephanie for being such a supportive figure following his decision to come out, and explained that he finally spoke out to her after she and his two daughters noticed he had been ‘low’ in the previous months.

Close: Phillip recently admitted he was 'naive' to think he could suppress it when he married Stephanie in 1993 (above in 1996)

Close: Phillip recently admitted he was 'naive' to think he could suppress it when he married Stephanie in 1993 (above in 1996)

Close: Phillip recently admitted he was ‘naive’ to think he could suppress it when he married Stephanie in 1993 (above in 1996)

Amid the fallout around his decision to come out, Phillip insisted that he is still the same person that viewers see on their television every day, and wants to focus on the most important people in his life.

Just hours before Phillip’s interview it was reported by The Mirror that his sexuality had become an ‘open secret’ on the This Morning set, and he first spoke to ITV bosses about his decision to come out on Thursday.

Following his public coming-out, Phil took to Instagram to emotionally thank fans for their support.

He wrote: ‘You will never know how important your support has been today, I’ve read as much as I can.

Urging others in a similar situation to turn to others for support, he added: ‘Please please, no matter your age or your thoughts, TALK to someone, don’t let your head beat you and hopefully you’ll find out that your friends and family have a remarkable ability to surprise you with their love and understanding.’

Phillip met Stephanie when she was a BBC production assistant and he was working for BBC Children’s television. They married back in 1993 and celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 2018.

'Be kind': Phillip praised the 'love and understanding' his family have shown him while urging others in a similar situation to turn to others for support

'Be kind': Phillip praised the 'love and understanding' his family have shown him while urging others in a similar situation to turn to others for support

‘Be kind’: Phillip praised the ‘love and understanding’ his family have shown him while urging others in a similar situation to turn to others for support

He shared a statement to Instagram on Friday morning and admitted his beloved daughters ‘jumped up and gave him a hug’ just seconds after he spoke about his sexuality, as he praised the support of he has received from his ‘incredible family.’

Phil also revealed that he had suffered ‘dark moments, pain and confusion’ as he gradually came to terms with his sexual orientation, before finally deciding to come out to the public.

His statement read: ‘You never know what’s going on in someone’s seemingly perfect life, what issues they are struggling with, or the state of their wellbeing – and so you won’t know what has been consuming me for the last few years.

‘With the strength and support of my wife and my daughters, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay.

‘This is something that has caused many heart-breaking conversations at home. I have been married to Steph for nearly 27 years, and we have two beautiful grown-up daughters, Molly and Ruby.

‘My family have held me so close: they have tried to cheer me up, to smother me with kindness and love, despite their own confusion. Yet still I can’t sleep and there have been some very dark moments.

‘My inner conflict contrasts with an outside world that has changed so very much for the better. Today, quite rightly, being gay is a reason to celebrate and be proud. Yes, I am feeling pain and confusion, but that comes only from the hurt that I am causing to my family.’

‘I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay’: Phillip’s statement in full 

You never know what’s going on in someone’s seemingly perfect life, what issues they are struggling with, or the state of their wellbeing – and so you won’t know what has been consuming me for the last few years. With the strength and support of my wife and my daughters, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am gay.

‘This is something that has caused many heart-breaking conversations at home. I have been married to Steph for nearly 27 years, and we have two beautiful grown-up daughters, Molly and Ruby…

‘My family have held me so close: they have tried to cheer me up, to smother me with kindness and love, despite their own confusion. Yet still I can’t sleep and there have been some very dark moments.

‘My inner conflict contrasts with an outside world that has changed so very much for the better. Today, quite rightly, being gay is a reason to celebrate and be proud. Yes, I am feeling pain and confusion, but that comes only from the hurt that I am causing to my family..

‘Steph has been incredible – I love her so very much. She is the kindest soul I have ever met. My girls have been astonishing in their love, hugs and encouraging words of comfort. Both mine and Steph’s entire families have stunned me with their love, instant acceptance and support.

‘Of course they are worried about Steph but I know they will scoop us both us.

‘My friends are the best, especially Holly, who has been so kind and wise – and who has hugged me as I sobbed on her shoulder. At ITV, I couldn’t hope to work with more wonderful, supportive teams…

‘Every day on This Morning, I sit in awe of those we meet who have been brave and open in confronting their truth – so now it’s my turn to share mine. This will probably all come as something and I understand, but only by facing this, by being honest, can I hope to find peace in my mind and a way forward. Please be kind, especially to my family. Phillip’. 

It comes after Fern recently tweeted that ‘life is for living’ in the wake of her split from husband Phil Vickery. 

The author reached out to fans on Saturday to apologise for the delay in the release of her latest book, Daughters of Cornwall, as she admitted she has been under pressure.  

The couple tied the knot in 2000, after Fern had split from Clive Jones in the same year following a 12-year marriage. 

Fern and Phil shocked fans in January when they revealed they were going their separate ways after two decades.

The news came just one month after the passing of Fern’s father, actor Tony Britton, who died, aged 95, three days before Christmas.

On Twitter, both Fern and Phil wrote matching statements which read: ‘After more than 20 happy years together, [we] have decided to go our separate ways. We will always share a great friendship and our lovely children.

‘We would appreciate it if our privacy is respected at this time. Thank you for your continued kindness and support. [sic]’

Fern and Phil share 18-year-old daughter Winnie, whilst the Ready Steady Cook presenter also has twins Harry and Jack, 26, and Grace, 23, with former husband Clive Jones. 

Love lost: Fern and husband Phil Vickery, 58, announced last month that they were planning to divorce after 20 years of marriage

Love lost: Fern and husband Phil Vickery, 58, announced last month that they were planning to divorce after 20 years of marriage

Love lost: Fern and husband Phil Vickery, 58, announced last month that they were planning to divorce after 20 years of marriage

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