Holly Willoughby has returned to This Morning alongside Josie Gibson, and the TV personality opened up about the recent controversy her former co-star, Phillip Schofield. Addressing the recent furore surrounding reports of toxicity on the ITV show, as well as Phillip’s statement confirming that he had an affair with a younger man on the set, Holly first of all addressed her co-star, saying: "Josie thank you for being here. Right! Deep breath."
Holly's full statement on This Morning
Looking to the camera, Holly looked nervous and had a shaky voice as she said: "Firstly, are you okay? I hope so... I imagine you might have been feeling like I have, worried, shaken, troubled, let down and full of questions. You, me and everyone here put our trust in 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 that they loved.
"That is a lot to process. It's equally hard to see the toll it's taken on their own mental health. I think what unites us all now is a desire to heal for the health and well being of everyone. I hope that as we start this new chapter and get back to a place of warmth and magic that the show holds for all of us, we can find strength in each other. From my heart, thank you for all of your kind messages." She then shared a big hug with Josie, joking that she needed one.
Phillip Schofield's message to Holly Willoughby
Holly's return to the show comes a few days after Phillip took part in several interviews where he discussed his relationship with the crew member, who he first met as a teenager. Denying that Holly had any knowledge of the relationship, he explained: "I adore Holly. I've always adored her. She's my TV sister. I don't have a problem with her at all. I would say to everyone, my family, friends, my work colleagues, to ITV, the public, my management company, the people I lied to: I am desperately sorry. But principally I would like to apologise to him.”
He added that he had reached out to Holly, saying: “I WhatsApped her on the day I put out the statement. I said that you don't have to reply, you probably can't, but I want to say I'm desperately, desperately sorry.”
The 61-year-old added to The Sun: "I let her down. I let that entire show down. I let the viewers down. Holly did not know and she was one of the first texts that I sent, to say: ‘I am so, so sorry that I lied to you’. She didn’t reply and I understand why she didn’t reply as well. So yeah, if anyone is in any way linking Holly to this, that is absolutely, wholly untrue."
What has Holly Willoughby said about Phillip Schofield scandal?
Holly has only spoken about the news of Phillip’s relationship once via Instagram, writing: "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.” Prior to the revelations that he had been in a relationship with a male colleague, she released a short statement following his exit from the show which read: "'It's been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. The sofa won't feel the same without him."
The star took a two-week break from the breakfast show admit reports that they pair weren’t getting along, and has been holidaying in Portugal with her family. Meanwhile, the show has been hosted by Allison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary, with the former becoming tearful as they discussed Phillip on the show.
She said: "It's weird because I still love Phillip Schofield. However what he's done is wrong, he's admitted it, he's said sorry. But as a [TV] family we're all really struggling to process everything and I never know what to say.
'But I remember what my mum always said: 'Use your Bible as your Sat Nav in life Al', and in the Bible it says 'he without sin, cast the first stone'. And I just don't want to say anything bad because obviously I'm in conflict."
Phillip Schofield's full statement
Phillip opened up about the relationship in late May, writing: "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. 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. 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."
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