Inside Phillip Schofield’s secret support squad at ITV as he announces he’s gay – The Sun

PHILLIP Schofield bravely came out as gay in an emotional interview with his This Morning co-host Holly Willoughby.

And now, The Sun Online can reveal the secret support network who've been there for Phillip behind the scenes during the difficult decision to come out to the public.

During the tearful chat, Phillip opened up about how he "couldn't have done it" without his co-host and pal Holly Willoughby, calling her the "sister he never had".

He also paid tribute to his wife of 27 years, Steph, and daughters Molly and Ruby.

The host has surrounded himself with a showbiz circle of friends, from Declan Donnelly and Leigh Francis, to Bradley Walsh and Peter Jones, leaving him well prepared for any challenges ahead.

They party together, go on holiday together and now the stars will support each other.

Holly Willoughby

The most obvious friend is his This Morning co-star Holly Willoughby. She interviewed Phil as he came out to the nation and promised to "always be there" for him.

Not only are the pair known for their boozy nights out – especially after the NTAs, which they've won for 19 years in a row – but they also go on holiday together.

Holly recently contested rumours they were in a feud, saying she's "not that good an actress" to be able to fake their on-screen chemistry.

Declan Donnelly

One half of the ITV presenting duo is good friends with Phillip, spending time with him on holiday and enjoying boozy nights together.

In 2018, Phillip cooked ribs for Dec, his partner Ali Astall, Holly Willoughby and her partner Dan Baldwin while on holiday in the Algarve, Portugal.

Dec revealed on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show that the meeting wasn't even planned: "It's brilliant, it's brilliant. And it all kind of happened organically, we've holidayed out here in the past and we just seem to meet up here in August."

In fact, Dec and Phil love holidaying in the region so much they both invested in a development in Quinta do Lago. Unfortunately, the project fell through and they all lost their money – almost £2.5million each.

He was also spotted celebrating Phil's 57th birthday at swanky private members club High Road House in Chiswick, alongside Phil's wife, daughters and former footballer Frank Lampard!

Bradley Walsh

Quiz show king Bradley Walsh is also on Phillip's showbiz friend circle.

Both love a good drink and were spotted getting boozy on holiday alongside Holly and her husband Dan Baldwin. 

They even drank caramel vodka shots together, sang karaoke and danced on the tables, proving friends who party together stay together.

Keith Lemon/Leigh Francis

While his naughty alter ego Keith Lemon will probably give Phillip a good ribbing in the coming weeks, Leigh Francis would have been a supportive and close confidant of Schofield.

The pair are good friends off screen, and even enjoyed clay pigeon shooting together in 2018.

Leigh is also mates with Holly off-screen, which means they will spend more time together than we know.

Peter Jones

Outside of the ITV family is his friend and Dragon's Den star Peter Jones.

The millionaires have holidayed together in Portugal, enjoying a dinner with their families. He also frequently appears with Ant and Dec, making an unlikely but close friendship group.

Phillip has also attended charity fundraisers hosted by Peter.

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