It's been one year since Phillip Schofield made the decision to come out as gay. His surprise confession was widely praised, however, thoughts were also focused on his wife of 27 years, Stephanie.
During his chat with co-host and best friend Holly Willoughby when he revealed his sexuality to This Morning viewers, the 58-year-old applauded his wife and said she had been "incredible" in her support, despite acknowledging "the hurt that I am causing to my family".
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WATCH: Phillip Schofield making his announcement regarding his sexuality
He said: "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."
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The presenter married Stephanie in March 1993, and they are proud parents to daughters Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24.
"Steph has been incredible – I love her so very much," he added. "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 up."
Phillip's wife Stephanie
Since revealing his sexuality to the world, Phillip has insisted that he has no plans to divorce Stephanie. Speaking on Chris Evans's podcast, How To Wow, in October, the TV star explained: "I'm still married to Steph. There is a great deal of talk of divorce – we have not discussed that at all."
The presenter with his wife Stephanie Lowe
He continued: "With divorce... that has not been discussed. We are picking our way through and however that works and it’s a work in progress. I am a work in progress. Steph is a work in progress."
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When asked by Chris how long he will continue to wear his wedding ring, Phillip continued: "That is a very good question, Chris. I don't know. Because I am still married to Steph.
"It is not in my nature to hurt people and so I have to reconcile myself with the fact that I have done that. Indeed I have done that and I tried very hard not to. I also say, is it possible to come out and not hurt your wife? No of course it isn't. My greatest concern is that she is okay."
Phillip treated his family to a holiday in Paris after his announcement
There's no denying that Phillip and Stephanie's bond is unbreakable. A few weeks after the revelation, the presenter whisked his family on a mini-break to Paris, and they posed for pictures in front of a heart-shaped sign.
Although the mum-of-two has kept a relatively low profile, Stephanie previously told The Sun that she will "still be there, holding his hand" as he comes to terms with his sexuality.
"I love Phillip, as much today as I ever have, and always will," she said in February last year. "At the same time, we've been awestruck by the strength and love of our precious girls, even as they've been trying to make sense of it all for themselves."
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The star's daughters Ruby and Molly
Both Phillip and Stephanie are very close to their two daughters, Molly, 28, and Ruby, 25. Molly works for Phillip as an assistant talent manager at management company YMU, which was previously known as the James Grant agency, while Ruby is a Leeds Beckett University graduate, where she studied psychology.
After the revelation, Molly shared a supportive message dedicated to her doting dad on Instagram. Alongside a sweet family photo of the four of them smiling on a family holiday, Molly tagged Phillip's handle and wrote: "Love you always, so proud of you."
Phillip posing with his family over the summer
The family spent most of the first lockdown together at their home in Oxfordshire before Phillip moved to his new home in Chiswick. Over the year, Phillip and his family have enjoyed various dinner outings, gin tasting sessions and Murder Mystery games during the coronavirus lockdown, while complying with coronavirus restrictions.
During an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live in November, Phil said of his family: "We love each other massively. We are a loving family, that hasn't changed... it's us four but different."
He added: "We are a work in progress. I've been very honest about all of this and there's no question, we have to pick our way through this daily as a family. And that's what we are doing. We are making our way through very unusual and unexpected waters."
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The dad-of-two revealed it was a heartwarming moment when he came out to his mother, Pat - she simply said: "I don't care", he later confided.
On the day of his announcement, a tearful Phillip confessed that his mum had been "on the phone all morning," supporting him and checking if he was okay. Prior to the news, he travelled to Cornwall to tell her everything. Phillip explained: "She said: 'Oh, ok. Well I don't care.'"
The TV star is very close to his mum Pat
In October, the TV star revealed what his late father, Brian, would have said about him coming out. He broke down in tears and went silent for several seconds during a chat with Chris Evans.
"What do you think your dad would advise you to do now?" Chris asked him. Taken aback by the question, Phillip replied: "That's like a grenade going off in my head," before he went silent.
Mustering up the strength to discuss his late father, Phillip continued: "When I went down to Cornwall when I told my mum, I said, 'What do you think dad would have said? Would he still be proud?' Thankfully she said, 'Yes… he'll think you're brave and he will always be proud of you.' So that is good."
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What Phillip has said about dating
Last year, Phillip told viewers he was not ready to get into a relationship with another man yet. "I'm not thinking there, I'm doing each day at a time now," he told Holly. "This has always been a slow process and there's no fast process after this."
In May, the TV favourite took to Instagram to share a selfie from his socially-distanced walk with a family friend. Upon seeing the post, fans were quick to speculate whether his male companion was a boyfriend.
Phillip is one of the UK's most popular television presenters
But Phillip soon shut the reports down, writing in a comment that the man photographed with him was "a family friend" who he has known for "20 years".
He wrote in the caption: "First socially distanced walk with a mate! Thank you @sischofe. Last person I had a drink with before the wheels fell off, first I've seen as we try to reattach them!"
When a fan replied: "Is that what they call it nowadays," the talented presenter was quick to fire back: "That's what they call family friends who you've known for 20 years and who come round to check if you're OK."
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