PHILLIP SCHOFIELD, who presents This Morning on ITV, was forced to address boyfriend claims online yesterday, after sharing a snap with a pal during a “socially distanced” walk.
This Morning host Phillip Schofield took to Instagram yesterday to share a picture with his 3.1 million followers.
The 58-year-old presenter enjoyed a “socially distanced” walk with a family friend on the first weekend of the eased lockdown rules and posted a picture online.
Phillip Schofield was later forced to address claims that the man in the picture was his boyfriend after coming out as gay earlier this year.
In the social media snap, which Phillip posted yesterday, the TV star smiles for the camera in a pair of dark sunglasses and a pale blue jumper.
In the background stands a man in smart casual attire as the pair venture outside for a walk.
The ITV star captioned the post: “First socially distanced walk with a mate!”
Tagging his walking companion Simon Schofield into the post, he continued: “Thank you @sischofe .. last person I had a drink with before the wheels fell off, first Ive seen as we try to reattach them!”
Instagram users took to the comments section to suggest that Simon was more than a friend.
One user wrote: “Yeah ok Phil ‘mate’! Wink wink!”
“Mate or boyfriend?” a second user asked.
Another message which prompted a response from the presenter read: “Mate is that what they call it nowadays.”
Phil replied: “Yes! A mate! That’s what they still call a family friend who you’ve known for 20 years and who comes round to check if you’re ok.”
Other followers were less than impressed with the judgmental comments.
One fan wrote: “All the boyfriend comments give Schofe a break for gods sake! Looking handsome with the tan though matey!”
Another annoyed follower added: “Why has everyone got and opinion on a ‘mate’..for gods sake dont we all have mates who were not in any type of relationship with?”(sic)
Following suit a third fan “Jesus christ so just cause Phillip is gay he has to get rid of all his male mates? Wtf people! If it was a woman you wouldn’t do the same! lovely pic Phillip, see you 10am Monday highlight of being off work!”
Noticing the pair had the same last name, many users assumed they were related.
Back in February, Phillip, who has been married to Stephanie Lowe for 27 years, came out as gay via a lengthy social media post.
He then appeared on This Morning with co-star Holly Willoughby to give an interview.
The father-of-two, who shares grown-up daughters Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24, with his wife, said it was with their “strength and support” that he was coming to terms with the fact that he was gay.