Holly Willoughby has broken her silence following Phillip Schofield’s exit from ITV, which came after he admitted to having an affair with a This Morning colleague.
On Friday, Phillip released a statement to the Daily Mail, in which he said he’d previously had a “consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague”, which he said was “unwise, but not illegal”.
The news he would be leaving ITV altogether in light of his admission came just a week after he’d announced his exit from This Morning after 21 years, the reason for which he’s claimed is “unrelated” to his affair
Now Holly – who is currently on a break from the daytime show – has spoken out about the recent developments in a statement via her Instagram Stories which read:
“It’s taken time to process yesterday’s news. When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not. It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie. Holly.”
ITV previously confirmed that Holly is due to return to This Morning on Monday 5 June, where she will be joined by other members of the on-air team.
Phillip left the show last Saturday “with immediate effect” following mounting reports of a rift between him and Holly – something he’d previously put out a statement to deny.
Holly and Phillip had co-hosted the ITV daytime show together since 2009 – having first been paired up on Dancing On Ice in 2006 – with Phillip originally joined the presenting team in 2002.
After Phillip’s exit from the show last week, Holly posted a short statement on Instagram, in which she thanked him for “his knowledge, his experience and his humour”, adding: “The sofa won’t feel the same without him.”
Phillip said his departure from the show had “fuelled speculation and raised questions” about previous suggestions of a relationship between him and a former colleague on the show, stating it was now “important for me to be honest”.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Phillip said: “I am making this statement via the Daily Mail to whom I have already apologised personally for misleading, through my lawyer who I also misled, about a story which they wanted to write about me a few days ago.
“The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them, and to many others about a relationship that I had with someone working on This Morning.”
“I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning,” he confirmed. “Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship.
“That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over. ”
Phillip then insisted that when he came out as gay in February 2020, he “did so entirely for my own wellbeing”, and was not “forced” to do so.
“In an effort to protect my ex-colleague I haven’t been truthful about the relationship,” he said. “But my recent, unrelated, departure from This Morning fuelled speculation and raised questions which have been impacting him, so for his sake it is important for me to be honest now.
“I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family. I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.
“I have therefore decided to step down from the British Soap Awards, my last public commitment, and am resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.
“I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.”
He also called for the media to respect the privacy of his unnamed former colleague.
Phillip’s statement was published shortly after it was revealed he had parted ways with his management company, YMU, after 25 years.
YMU’s CEO Mary Bekhait said: “Honesty and integrity are core values for YMU’s whole business, defining everything we do. Talent management is a relationship based entirely on trust.
“This week, we have learned important new information about our client Phillip
Schofield. These facts contradicted what Phillip had previously told YMU, as well as the external advisors we had brought in to support him. As a result, on Thursday we agreed to part company with Phillip, with immediate effect.”