Phillip Schofield returned to work for the first time since coming out as gay – to be greeted by cheers of support from the Dancing on Ice audience.
An insider told how Phillip was last night left in tears by the reception he got from the audience ahead of filming the ITV show.
A source said: “ Holly Willoughby and Phil walked on to the set to welcome the audience and the crowd went mad and were whooping and cheering.
The This Morning star, 57, spent the weekend having heart-to-hearts with his wife Stephanie Lowe, with the pair continuing to live together, in Henley, Oxon.
A source said: “It’s somewhat unconventional but they are still living together and very much a united front. Of course it’s been terribly hard but they are trying to work through their problems together. You can’t just erase 27 years of marriage.”
Later in the show, Dancing on Ice judge Ashley Banjo told Phillip he was “a legend”.
Ashley said: “Phil, it’s been a big week, a big, big week. You’ve always been an absolute legend but never, never, ever more so than this week, my friend. I think I speak on behalf of all of us when I say we’ve got nothing but love and respect for you.”
Looking touched, Phillip joked: “It’s not about me. It’s not about me.”
Phillip told on Friday how he had grappled for the “past few years” with the realisation he could no longer keep his sexuality a secret.
Friends say it came as a devastating blow to Stephanie, who is the mother of their grown-up daughters, Molly, 27, and Ruby, 24.
Phillip admitted coming clean had led to some “heart-breaking conversations”.
He told Holly: “I feel a little lighter but I’m also very, very aware there’s no question it causes pain and upset.
“I am very conscious of the hurt, so my overriding emotion for my family is obviously going to be guilt because I do feel guilty that this can’t be anything other than a painful process.”
Phillip’s mum Pat said on Saturday how she “couldn’t be more proud” of her son.
Speaking to the Mirror, Pat, 83, said: “For him to be so brave in front of so many people was inspiring, because I know how hard it was for him to do.”