John Barrowman reveals the advice he gave to Phillip Schofield when he came out as gay

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Actor John Barrowman is taking over from Lorraine Kelly as president of TRIC (Television and Radio Industries Club). The showbiz all-rounder says he can’t wait to take on the role, and told OK! magazine, “I’m excited. I love the TRIC Awards because it celebrates both those in front of and those behind the camera in our industry. It’s a chance to let our hair down and celebrate one other.”

John, 53, has spent the past three months isolating in his Palm Springs pad with his husband Scott Gill and their six dogs.

Here, John chats about his 27-year romance, his desire for children and helping his friend Phillip Schofield…

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How has lockdown been for you?

We were only coming home to Palm Springs for a month before going back to work in the UK but we got stranded out here. Just before lockdown, Scott flew out before me and on my flight, a few days later, we were half way across the Atlantic when we heard we might not be able to continue into American airspace. I was frantically messaging people as I was worrying about being separated from Scott. Luckily we got here. We quarantined straight away because one of our friends we’d recently been with got sick and another friend I’d worked with on Dancing On Ice had coronavirus. One of our close friends passed away from it early on and it just reiterated how much we needed to not be stupid and go to crowded places.

What have you enjoyed the most about lockdown?

Three months is the longest I’ve been home but we’ve enjoyed it. We are lucky to have a big garden, a swimming pool and lots of space. In the evenings, we make cocktails and have a barbecue. It’s the first time in my career that
I’m unemployed. The hardest thing for me is not working.

Have you had any epiphanies during this time?

Yes, I’ve found out who my real friends are. Usually, I’m so engrossed in work, I don’t have that one best friend I can pick up the phone and have a chat with. You find out who your real friends are – who is there in a time of crisis and who disappears.

Inside Dancing On Ice star John Barrowman's luxurious Palm Springs home

How did you meet Scott?

He came to see a play in Chichester with a friend of ours. I was naked for the first six minutes of the play so he saw everything! As soon as we were introduced, that was it. I knew he was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with and we both knew it.

How was your first date?

We arranged to have dinner but I got a call from Cher the same day wanting to have dinner with me that night. When I
said I couldn’t, she said to me, “You’re turning Cher down for dinner? He must be important!” The three of us ended up having dinner. I walked Cher to her car, leaned in to give her a kiss and the paparazzi came from nowhere and then suddenly in the press
I was Cher’s new toyboy! It was actually the start of Scott and I.

You’ve been together for 27 years…

Yes, we’ve been married England, the US and in Gretna Green, Scotland to make ourselves legal. Scott even counts the day we met so we have four anniversaries. I have to tread very carefully in case I miss any.

Would you like children together?

I’d like to adopt or foster and also have one of my own. I’d like to do a reality show where we search for our baby mummy to show how difficult it is for LBGT+ couples to go through the process of adopting, fostering or having a child. A lot of foster kids are being sent back because families can’t afford them right now, which is horrible. I want to help, but if I suggest it to Scott, he’ll say, “Just go ahead and do it,” which means, “If you want to do it, go ahead but I’m not going to take responsibility.” I know I can’t just go out and buy a couple of kids like I’m buying a car.

You were questioned at customs because they didn’t recognise you as partners…

I just let them crack on. I’ve always been unapologetic about who I am. If you don’t like me, I don’t care. I’m going to live my life as I want to with Scott and if you disagree with that then I don’t have time for you. We were checking into a major UK hotel once and the guy on reception refused to give us a room with a king-sized bed, so we couldn’t sleep together. I threw a fit. Then two years ago I posted a video of me dressed in drag on Instagram while we were in talks to collaborate with a major product. After seeing the video, the brand told me it wasn’t the kind of image they wanted linked with their product. Things still happen daily that we have to stand up against.

Have you had many propositions from stars?

Yes, but I can’t say who because they might not be out. It’ll be revealed in my next book when I’m 70! They might be keeping themselves in because of their families, but if it’s because of their jobs, then it’s ridiculous because people who are out and proud help others, too.

Were you proud of Phillip Schofield for coming out?

Yes, I’ve known Phillip for years and I’d never imagined those headlines. I’m not saying I hadn’t thought about it, but that’s none of my business. I’ve met his wife, who is lovely. I feel for her because although Phillip is out and living his truth, he loves his family so much. I had a chat with him, the night it all came out in the press, in his dressing room and I saw his face. It’s a face I’ve had before – upset, afraid and sad to be hurting other people. I said to him, “It will get better, the people around you who love you will understand. You’ll get through it.” I’m so pleased for him and hopefully it will lead to a greater happiness for him and his family.

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You’re now president of TRIC, taking over from Lorraine Kelly…

I’m excited. Lorraine and I have the same sort of personality, we like to have a laugh, be a bit naughty and have fun. I love the TRIC Awards because it celebrates both those in front of and those behind the camera. It’s a chance to let our hair down and celebrate each other.

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