Holly Willoughby addresses Phillip Schofield scandal as she makes This Morning return
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Holly Willoughby has issued a statement on This Morning after her co-star Phillip Schofield left ITV following news about his affair with a young employee on the show.
Willoughby – starting with ‘deep breath’ – said it felt ‘very strange’ to be back on the show, and said that she was ‘worried for the wellbeing’ of everyone involved.
“You and me at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth,” she said.
She said she wanted to ‘heal’ and ‘get back to’ a place of happiness and peace on the show.
Then, she thanked viewers and her co-stars, before sharing a hug with co-presenter Josie Gibson.
The full statement was as follows: "I imagine you might have been feeling a lot like I have - shaken, troubled, let down, worried for the wellbeing of people on all sides of what's been going on.
"And full of questions...
"You, me, and all of us at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth, who acted in a way that they themselves felt that they had to resign from ITV and step down from a career they loved.
"That is a lot to process and it's equally hard to see the toll that it has taken on their own mental health.
"I think what unites us all now is a desire to heal for the health and wellbeing of everyone. I hope that as we start this new chapter and get to a place of warmth and magic that this show holds for all of us, we can show strength in each other.
"From my heart, can I say thank you for all of your kind messages and thank you for being here this morning.
“Myself, Josie, Dermot, Alison, Craig and every single person who works on this show will continue to work hard every single day to bring you the show that we love."
Willoughby returned to the show after a short holiday in Portugal, during which time news about Schofield broke, leading him to leave ITV altogether, before giving a series of interviews to The Sun and BBC News in which he mentioned Love Island presenter Caroline Flack, who died by suicide in 2020.
Willoughby has already released one statement on the matter, claiming that she asked her co-star whether he had been in a relationship with the young man.
She says that he told her it wasn’t true, and admitted to feeling let down by her former friend once she realised that was a lie.
The 42-year-old said on Instagram: “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.”
Schofield eventually admitted the affair, which took place while he was married, describing it as ‘unwise, but not illegal’.
He said that the relationship was consensual, and started in his dressing room on the ITV mid-morning show back in 2020.
The 61-year-old told BBC News that he thinks his career is over and he’s ‘lost everything’ following the scandal.
He admitted that the affair was a ‘grave error’ and added: “I shouldn’t have done it.”
Schofield said: "I have to talk about television in the past tense, which breaks my heart.
"I have lost everything.
“What am I going to do with my days?
"I see nothing ahead of me but blackness, and sadness, and regret, and remorse, and guilt.
“I did something very wrong, and then I lied about it consistently."
Of his former colleague, he said: “He is an innocent party here.
“I was older, I should have known better. [The relationship] was consensual, but it was my fault."