Deborah was a teacher for long time until her partner had a serious breakdown after being in the army, and her children had to be taken out of school for "serious health issues".
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But Phillip - who was presenting This Morning with Davina McCall - explained why the former teacher had "got [his] back up" after paying for Christmas with benefits.
He told Deborah: "You got your £10 Christmas bonus from your benefits, and you bought two bottles of Prosecco with it, which you're perfectly able to do.
"But then you said, 'So cheers to the taxpayer for my Christmas gift'.
"Do you not think that's a little bit incendiary?"
Deborah - who has four children, aged 19, 14, 10 and three years old, by four different fathers – tried to defend herself.
She explained: "By day I'm mum, and I'm also a writer.
"I work very hard, I don't drink prosecco much because of its adverse effects, so I was grateful for that."
But Phillip hit back: "It doesn't sound like that. It sounds like 'Cheers! Here's what I bought with your money'."
She responded: "We can't go back in time, I stick by it.
"I'm proud to be caught by the benefits system. We can live a little, not a lot."
Deboarah - who also used credit cards and loans to pay for Christmas - added: "I wanted my children to have the Christmas we used to have, as we used to have a lot of money.
"We've had an awful year with bullying, and if my books work out, I'll be able to pay it off and some."
*This Morning continues on ITV1 weekdays at 10.30am