Phillips was born in Canterbury Hospital in Canterbury, Kent, the daughter of Phillip (died February 2012) and Amy (died May 2006). Her grandparents ran the Duke's Head pub on Church Street in St Paul's. Phillips attended Kingsmead Primary School. The family later moved to Southampton where Phillips completed her schooling at Millbrook Community School. After leaving school, Phillips worked for a short time at Mr Kipling's Bakery in Eastleigh, near Southampton. Phillips graduated from Birmingham Polytechnic with a BA (Hons) in English; she also undertook a PGCert in journalism.
Phillips started her career in independent radio working as a reporter for local stations County Sound in Surrey, Hereward Radio and Radio Mercury in Sussex.
Moving from radio to television several years later, she joined BBC South East's Weekend programme as co-presenter, before becoming a reporter with CNN News, later moving on to become the station's entertainment editor, producing, reporting and presenting CNN News' entertainment output.
Phillips has presented other programmes, including the celebrity lifestyle show OK!TV, Baby House and Room to Rent, Carlton's entertainment guide Good Stuff, LWT's Friday evening entertainment show Start the Weekend, ITV's Sunday Night and the Rich and Famous series. Phillips currently writes an opinion column in the Daily Mirror on Saturdays and works as an agony aunt in New! magazine
Fiona was a regular panellist on Loose Women in 2002, and was a guest anchor in 2004 and 2005. She returned to Loose Women as a guest anchor in March 2009 and again in March 2010.
Phillips was a guest host on the daytime Channel 5 show The Wright Stuff in April/May 2009.
In August 2010, she appeared as a panellist on the short-lived ITV chat show [email protected].
She took part in the third series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2005, with professional partner Brendan Cole. The pair were voted out on Week 4 following several weeks of low scores.
Fiona had also been in the documentary The Killer in Me on 8 November 2007, a show that saw four celebrities agree to take a groundbreaking test that revealed the secret killers lurking in their genes. Fiona joined former England footballer John Barnes, political commentator and presenter Andrew Neil, and Heart FM DJ Toby Anstis who all found out their risk of developing 11 major diseases, including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.
On 7 September 2008 she was a guest on Soccer Aid and on 12 September 2008 she appeared as a guest on Al Murray's Happy Hour, both shown on ITV.
Fiona is a regular reporter for the BBC One consumer affairs programme Watchdog. On 19 March 2015, Phillips presented The Truth About...Sugar and on 2 June 2016, she presented The Truth About...Healthy Eating. Both programmes aired on BBC One.
In 1993, Phillips joined GMTV as entertainment correspondent and was promoted to GMTV/Reuters Television's LA correspondent in December 1993. For over two years Phillips provided daily and weekly reports and covered a number of big news stories including the Michael Jackson alleged child molestation case, the LA earthquake, the first O.J. Simpson trial and the Oscars. She also interviewed some of the industry's biggest stars from Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood, to Brad Pitt and Mel Gibson.
From 1997 to 2008, she was the main anchor on GMTV, presenting GMTV Today every Monday to Wednesday. On 28 August 2008, Phillips announced that she was to leave her role as main anchor on GMTV for family reasons. She presented her final show on 18 December 2008.
Phillips returned to GMTV in 2010 in its last series, guest presenting on GMTV with Lorraine.
Since September 2010, she has regularly guest presented the ITV Breakfast programme Lorraine (successor of GMTV with Lorraine).
She voiced the character of Katie Current in the British release of Shark Tale.
Phillips hosted a show on Smooth Radio in the 2–5 pm slot every Sunday, starting from Easter Sunday, 23 March 2008, until 2009 when she left the station.
She also stood in for Simon Mayo on Radio 5 Live from 30 March to 3 April 2009.
In 1996, Phillips was nominated for the Royal Television Society Interview of the Year Award.
On 7 November 2007, Phillips received an Honorary Master of Arts degree from Southampton Solent University, for "being a person distinguished in eminence and by attainments".
On 21 July 2011, Phillips received an Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff University.Television
While working as the Los Angeles-based entertainment reporter for GMTV, Phillips had thought her replacement for the Christmas holidays Martin Frizell "arrogant and cold." But when he came out to Los Angeles, the pair had dinner. They met again at a friend's dinner party when she returned to the UK four months later, and began dating soon after. The couple married in May 1997 and have two sons.
A vegetarian, in June 2007 Phillips was a nominee for PETA Europe’s "Sexiest Vegetarians" poll, and subsequently won the award as 'Sexiest Female Vegetarian 2007'.
Phillips is a supporter of Chelsea F.C., although she followed her home town club, Southampton F.C. when she was younger before dropping them and proclaiming to support a more successful team.
Phillips is a supporter of the Labour Party. She claimed to have been offered a job in November 2007 as public health minister in the administration of Gordon Brown, as well as a peerage. Phillips said she declined due to her responsibilities to her two small children. She attended the 2009 Labour Party Conference in Brighton, where she introduced an address by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson. She was a panellist on BBC One's Question Time in June 2009, and in May 2010 and January 2011 appeared on This Week.
In 2013, it was alleged that Ed Miliband asked Phillips to stand as the Labour candidate in the Eastleigh by-election, 2013, with the offer of a safe Labour seat in 2015. Phillips was reported to have turned down Miliband's offer, to concentrate on her charity work. The Labour candidate was in fact, John O'Farrell. She is a patron of the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate, who have the slogan "Celebrating Britain's diverse society" In August 2014, Phillips was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.
Phillips is a supporter of many charities frequently related to conditions affecting her family. Phillips' mother suffered from breast cancer before dying on 15 May 2006 from Alzheimer's disease. Phillips took a break from her work for GMTV, and has since supported many organisations associated with the two diseases. On 15 February 2007 she appeared as a contestant with her brother Andrew on Dale's Supermarket Sweep, playing to raise money for their charity for people with Alzheimer's. In 2010 Phillips participated in the Memory Problems? campaign lending her celebrity to raise public awareness of the early symptoms of Alzheimer's.
Phillips is one of the judges of the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, and for presenting the GMTV Emergency Services award. She has also been one of the judges for the Children of Courage awards. From 15 October 2007, she reported from Geita, North Tanzania, for one week to visit Neema, a 13-year-old girl who Phillips has been sponsoring, and her family, friends and local schools. On 1 March 2007, she published a 'Quick Reads' book for World Book Day A Day To Remember which is aimed at emergent readers and adult learners. Phillips hosted the Breast cancer Care's annual fashion show in October 2007.
On 13 March 2008, Phillips, while Age Concern Ambassador, presented the Age Concern Grandparent of the Year 2008, which took place in the Houses of Parliament. She has continued as an Ambassador for the successor charity Age UK.