The Russells recalled how they rushed to support their friends after hearing about the tragic blaze, at Victory Road in Derby on 11 May 2012, on the news.
They described going with them to view the bodies of the children - all aged between five and 13 - as "the worst thing we've ever had to do".
"He (Philpott) was crying, but there were no tears," Sharon Russell told This Morning.
Both Sharon and her husband, also Mick, described 56-year-old Philpott's behaviour at the hospital as "very strange for a grieving father".
They recounted how he was still laughing and making jokes, and how he even grabbed a woman's bum, as they walked through the hospital shortly after the children's deaths.
Mairead wanted to wear a certain outfit for the funeral and I was shocked ... Then she asked: 'Will it be all right for the after-party?'
Sharon Russell, family friend
The Philpotts went on to play the role of the devastated parents at an emotional press conference they called about the fire - which they were responsible for all along.
But while their friends were shocked at having been "conned", they admitted that they had always been wary of Mick Philpott in particular.
"I thought the way he lived was bizarre," Sharon said, as her own husband revealed he would never leave her alone in a room with Philpott.
"He was a very controlling person towards (his girlfriend) Lisa and (his wife) Mairead. He thought they were his property - he didn't see Mairead as his wife."
Former MP Ann Widdecombe backed up that view, based on her personal experience of meeting Philpott when she filmed a documentary about her bid to get him off benefits and into work.
She had been appalled by the way casual way in which he described the living arrangements and how he "serviced" his wife and live-in girlfriend on alternate nights in a caravan beside the house.
"He would address them as 'bitch'," she said. "You know: 'Come here, bitch. Do this, bitch.' Indeed, he tried that on with me a couple of times, addressing me in the same way."
He was having a child a year by each woman - I don't think I pass too harsh a judgement by saying what he thought he was producing were meal tickets.
Mick and Mairead Philpott and co-conspirator Paul Mosley are now due to be sentenced on Thursday, after the judge suspended proceedings at Nottingham Crown Court on Wednesday.
It comes after a jury took eight hours to return guilty verdicts against their charges for the manslaughter of Jayden (5), Jesse (6), Jack (8), John (9) Jade (10), and Duwayne (13).
Former Met Chief Superintendent Sue Hill explained to This Morning that it would have been an extremely difficult case for Derbyshire Police, who investigated the blaze.
"From the very beginning, they had suspicions. Which we all did when we watched that press conference ..." she said.
"But it's all right having that suspicion - you've got to nail that in court."
For those six little children, justice has been served.
Sue Hill, former Met Chief Superintendent
Tellingly, a photograph of the press conference held by the Philpotts showed Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill with a look of obvious disbelief at the dry-eyed "performance".
Criminologist David Wilson also knew straight away that something wasn't adding up.
"I didn't know who Mick Philpott was, I simply happened to watch the press conference live and, within a matter of seconds, I was going: 'Oh gosh, this man is lying'," he said.
"This is a man who believes his can manipulate his public image."
Sue Hill said the case had been devastating for the emergency services who dealt with the aftermath of the blaze, and for the community who rallied round the family.
"Those two men who tried to save their lives, they've got a very clean conscience. They were amazing," she added, of the neighbours who actually apologised to the Philpotts for having failed in their desperate efforts to save their children.
"They did everything for those little mites to try to save them."