In his only interview since coming out on his popular British breakfast show This Morning last week, he told The Sun on Sunday: “I am not saying I didn’t know.
“Whatever was ‘there’ I thought, ‘OK, whatever this is, you stay back because I am happy’.”
Loyal wife Steph said: “We have had to face the most emotionally painful time in our 27 years of marriage.”
Dancing on Ice host Phil, who hid his secret for years from his beloved wife, admitted struggling with suicidal thoughts and to having therapy as he tried to put the issue to the back of his mind.
And he said: “If you ask anyone who is gay, they know – there is no confusion.”
Phil praised daughters Molly and Ruby for their “amazing” support.
And he hailed his This Morning co-host Holly Willoughby as “the sister I never had”.
He added: “Holly has been incredible, so supportive, so kind. I was depressed and it was taking a toll on my mental health.
“I went to seek professional help, I sat down and poured out my heart.”
Phil, who shared the news with the nation on Friday’s show, also confessed he did not know if his marriage would last — and refused to say if he was in a relationship with a man.
The brave This Morning host has admitted he was “naive” to think he could suppress his sexuality when he wed wife Steph.
And while he battled his emotions for years, he says “amazing” Steph has known he was gay “for a while”.
In an exclusive Sun on Sunday interview, the hugely-popular star says he tried to hide his feelings while leading the “perfect life” as a married dad-of-two with a glittering TV career.
But the inner turmoil consumed him – leading to his decision to come out on last Friday’s episode of This Morning.
Phil, 57, wed Steph, 56, in 1993 and admits something was nagging away at him even then.
He said: “I admit I was perhaps a bit naive.
“But when we got married it was a joyous time and it wasn’t a consideration in my head.
“I was so, so happy when we had the girls, and then bringing them up.
“You never know what is going on in someone’s head when they you think they are leading the perfect life. And I was. But then it was there.
“I was confused by what it was. I thought maybe I was bisexual.
“But over time I realised and started coming to terms with it.
“And I realised I had to be honest with myself.”
Showing he has fully come to terms with his sexuality, Phillip said: “If you ask anyone who is gay, they know, there is no confusion.”
Phil spoke to us at ITV’s London studios — moments after his bombshell announcement, which saw him hugged and comforted by co-host and pal Holly Willoughby.
His confession followed an Instagram message in which he revealed he was “consumed” with “coming to terms with the fact that I’m gay”.
While the news would devastate most marriages, Phil credits Steph as his closest ally throughout his battle. And he says there was never a dramatic showdown over his sexuality.
The pair met when Phil was 25 and hosting links between children’s shows from the BBC Broom Cupboard. She was a production assistant.
They wed in a low-key ceremony in Scotland while he was starring in Joseph and the Amazing technicolor Dreamcoat.
In 2018, the pair celebrated their silver anniversary.
Phillip said: “Steph is my closest confidante. She’s been amazing. I have no secrets from Steph. We have been very truthful and honest. She has known for a while. When you live with someone you know these things don’t you?
“We sat down and we talked and then she left me to have space.
“I don’t know what it would have been like if I had a different person in my life.
“It has been a process, we started having discussions and it was gradual.
“There is no question she is a truly remarkable person – the kindest, sweetest soul I could have possibly met.”
Despite her understanding, he admits his struggle has been painful for his loyal wife. Phil added: “That is what makes this so hard. Knowing you are hurting the perfect person.
“But I still love Steph as much as when we first met. More probably.”
Steph stayed away as Phil spoke movingly in the This Morning studio on Friday.
Instead she and the couple’s daughters Molly, 26, and Ruby, 24, watched from the family home in Henley-on-Thames, outside London.
Phil admits it is too early to say if they will stay married.
He said: “It has taken me a long time to get here, I am not rushing to get to any other place. We will always be a family. That is the one definite, constant, absolute positive thing. And where the wind blows us I don’t know.”
The TV favourite, who also hosts the UK’s Dancing on Ice, hailed the way his girls rallied around him.
Yesterday, Molly posted an Instagram image of the family and wrote: “Love you always, so proud of you.”
He told The Sun on Sunday: “Our daughters have always been a credit to us. And I am so proud of them. When you test them to this degree you wonder. But they have been amazing.
“Even before we told them, they picked up that something was wrong. That I had been very low. The whole family picked up on it.” Phil declined to comment on whether he is in a relationship with a man, or has been in the past.
He added: “I understand that people will ask that question. It is one I’d ask myself.
“But Steph and I have agreed to keep our private life private. I hope people understand.”
Phil has been a regular on UK television for more than 30 years, and hopes viewers will react positively to his announcement, adding: “I am very conscious of the fact I am in people’s living rooms every day, and they feel like they know me.
“But I am still the same person. And I will be the same person on Monday on the telly.”
This story originally appeared on The Sun and is republished here with permission.