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Inside Fern Britton's feud with Phillip Schofield: Everything she's said about former This Morning co-star

The former co-stars "weren't getting on" in the lead up to Fern's departure in 2009


Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton on 'This Morning' TV Programme - 2008© ITV/Shutterstock
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
Updated: March 6, 2024
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Fern Britton is back on our screens as one of 12 famous faces taking part in the brand new series of Celebrity Big Brother. The TV star and author is a household name across the nation thanks to her illustrious presenting career, including as a host on ITV's This Morning, which she famously quit in 2009 after ten years. 

Fern's exit sparked rumours of a feud between her and co-star Phillip Schofield, who went on to host the show alongside Holly Willoughby until 2023. But what exactly happened between Fern and Phillip and what has she said about their relationship? Here's all we know…

Fern was on This Morning for seven years with Phillip© ITV/Shutterstock
Fern Britton and Phillip Schofield co-hosted This Morning for seven years

Why did Fern Britton quit This Morning? 

In 2009, after spending a decade as a full-time presenter on This Morning, Fern announced her departure.

"After ten years with This Morning, I have decided to leave the show at the end of the current series," Fern said in a statement at the time, failing to mention her co-star, Phillip. "I will present my last show on July 17, my birthday, which seems somehow appropriate. The This Morning team are simply the best and I will miss them all very much but I am looking forward to the freedom of exploring other things I want to do, and also spend more time with my wonderful family. So, many thank yous to all our viewers who have shown me so much kindness and loyalty."

Fern Britton attends the TRIC awards at The Grosvenor House Hotel on March 12, 2013 © Getty
Fern left the show after ten years in 2009

Two days later, Fern pulled out of hosting the 2009 British Soap Awards alongside Phillip, fuelling speculation about a fallout. 

What has Fern said about her This Morning departure and relationship with Phillip? 

Following Fern's exit, it was reported that she'd walked away after discovering she was being paid less than her co-star. 

Dispelling the rumours, she told HELLO! in 2018: "That certainly wasn't true, not least because I had no idea what Philip had been paid; I knew what I was being paid and it was more than fair. It's appalling that, if you are doing the same job as a man, you are paid less and I am absolutely all for equal pay but at the time, even if Phillip had been paid more than me, he was doing more programmes on television."

fern britton phillip schofield
Fern's exit sparked rumours of a feud

Then in 2020, during an appearance on the Ray D'Arcy Show, Fern gave further insight into her decision to leave the programme. "Something happened and I thought, 'That's it really' and I walked away and resigned. I was treated pretty poorly, actually. And after a while I just thought, 'Sod it'."

Was that "something" a disagreement with her co-host behind the scenes? Phillip seems to think so. 

phillip fern© Photo: Getty Images
Phillip and Fern "weren't getting on" before her exit

In his 2020 memoir, Life's What You Make It, the 61-year-old recalled a time when the pair argued over the content of one of the show's episodes.

"I walked back into the make-up room and calmly said, 'Please don't do that to me again'," he wrote. "I think, for whatever reason, that was the point Fern decided she didn't want to do This Morning anymore."

Phillip went on to add that he was "heartbroken" that she was leaving and that their "friendship had inexplicably gone so sour". 

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on
 This Morning© Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Holly Willoughby joined the show after Fern's departure

Ahead of going into the Celebrity Big Brother house, Fern revealed that she and Phillip "were not getting on" towards the end of her stint as host. 

"Apparently I've signed up to spill the beans!" she told The Mirror. "Well, right now, I can tell you that I think let's approach with caution and kindness. It's fair to say that towards the end we were not getting on. Things were tricky.

Fern Britton in pearl necklace and black outfit© Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
Fern said she 'loved' her time on This Morning

"There are some things that I think as a collective almost nation there are things you can't and wouldn't want to hear or see or be talked about. I haven't been on that show for 15 years. I don't know anything that's been going on since then. And so it would be A, very old views. B, not terribly interesting, but I did love This Morning. I absolutely loved it. I wasn't expecting to resign on the day I resigned."

What did Fern say after Phillip's This Morning exit? 

In May last year, Phillip stepped down from his role on This Morning and admitted to an "unwise but not illegal" affair with a younger male colleague on the show. 

WATCH: Holly Willoughby addresses Phillip Schofield controversy in emotional statement

While Fern didn't explicitly refer to Phillip's departure at the time, she took to social media to say that she'd been catching up with fellow former This Morning host Eamonn Holmes, who has had his own public fallout with Phillip.

"Unexpected calls from old mates are so lovely. Just had the loveliest catch up with Eamonn Holmes," she wrote. 

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