Phillip Schofield has opened up about the months of hell and torment he went through while coming to terms with his sexuality.
The This Morning star kept the fact that he was gay a secret, and it tore him up inside.
Phillip, 58, plummeted to just 9st in weight, sat alone one New Year’s Eve crying in the dark, missed work and once had to run off the set of his ITV show to vomit.
The star spent years coming to terms with who he truly was and hiding things from his loved ones including wife Stephanie Lowe and daughters Molly and Ruby, his friends, and even himself.
In his new honest autobiography Life’s What You Make It, Phillip opens up about his secret torment.
While coming to terms with being gay, Phillip’s weight plummeted to just 9st, and viewers started to notice.
He wrote: “My weight dropped and as it hit 9st 12lb the This Morning viewers started to notice. I was getting tweets from people asking if I was ill.”
He’s said he was in an “extremely dark place” before he finally revealed his sexuality to viewers in a tearful interview with his co-host and best friend Holly Willoughby in February.
The New Year’s Eve before his revelatory interview, Phillip was sat “sobbing quietly in the dark” watching the fireworks light up London’s skies on TV.
Things got too much for Phillip one day and he dramatically refused to go on This Morning at the last minute, fleeing to his flat to sit “staring at the walls” as the show began on the other side of London, with Holly being left to host alone.
He penned: “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.”
Phillip said there was another day on the set where he had to run off the stage during a fashion segment to throw up.
Looking back, he says he realises now that he needed professional help to deal with what he was going through.
Things were so bad at one point that Phillip was surviving on just two hours’ sleep a night and he was refusing to eat, despite Steph’s efforts to help him.
The star insists that he didn’t lie to Steph when they married 27 years ago, and that if he’d known he was gay he would have never walked down the aisle with her.
He said it was just in the last five years that he became “increasingly aware” that he’s gay and that it wasn’t like he woke up one day knowing.
Phillip hit back at the people who accused him of lying to his wife throughout their marriage, saying: “When I eventually knew, so did she.”
He says he felt like he was on the edge of a “total breakdown” as he lied to colleagues, telling them he was okay when they asked him in the months leading up to his tearful coming out interview.
After coming out to his family and to Holly, who was a big support to him, Phillip and his team decided he would tell the world.
Before sitting down with Holly, Phillip released an emotional statement, which 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.”
He continued: “My family have held me so close: they have tried to cheer me up, to smother me with kindness and love, despite their own confusions. 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.”
Phillip went on: “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 up.
“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.”
He concluded: “This will probably all come as something of a surprise 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.”
Phillip has come a long way since, but admits his mental health is still a “work in progress”.
* Life’s What You Make It, by Phillip Schofield, is out now (Penguin Books)