Phillip Schofield has admitted to an affair with a young employee at ITV and announced that he is departing the channel all together in a lengthy statement given to the MailOnline after threatening legal action against the publication.
In the statement, he 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. 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.
"When I chose to come out I did so entirely for my own wellbeing. Nobody 'forced' me out. Neither I nor anyone else, to my knowledge, has ever issued an injunction, super or otherwise, about my relationship with this colleague, he was never moved on or sacked by or because of me."
He continued: "In an effort to protect my ex-colleague I haven't been truthful about the relationship. 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."
Revealing his departure from ITV, he concluded: "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.
"To protect his privacy, I am not naming this individual and my deepest wish is that both he and his family can now move on with their lives free from further intrusion, and that this statement will enable them to do so. I ask the media now to respect their privacy. They have done nothing wrong, and I ask that their privacy should be respected."
His departure comes shortly after he left the This Morning sofa after over 20 years. Taking to his Instagram Stories, Phillip, 61, shared: "I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. But recently, This Morning itself has become the story. Throughout my career in TV - including the very difficult last few days - I have always done my best to be honourable and kind. I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can't go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love."
He concluded: "So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future. I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me - especially This Morning's amazing viewers - and I'll see you all for the Soap Awards next month."
Reacting to the news, Holly shared on her Instagram Stories: "Hi everyone...It's been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take the opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. The sofa won't feel the same without him." She finished the post with a heart emoji.
His final departure from ITV means a shake-up will be coming for Dancing on Ice, which he had previously presented with Holly.
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