Holly Willoughby delivers 'honest' statement on Phillip Schofield's ITV exit on This Morning - what was said?
The presenter said ITV's flagship daytime programme will 'get back to a place of warmth and magic' as Josie Gibson joins her as co-host
and live on Freeview channel 276
After weeks of controversy and speculation, Holly Willoughby has finally responded to the news of Phillip Schofield's affair and ITV exit when she returned to her This Morning hosting duties. The 'honest and open' statement was delivered alongside new co-host Josie Gibson on Monday 5 June.
The presenter has been off the small screen ever since the initial news of Schofield's departure from the broadcaster's flagship daytime programme was confirmed on 20 May. It is believed that Willoughby decided to take her half-term time off early in the wake of the scrutiny following her now former TV partner, with Schofield revealing an affair with a younger colleague before resigning from ITV.
News of an official response from Willoughby comes just a matter of days after Schofield gave an emotional interview to the BBC, where he revealed he has been suffering from suicidal thoughts as a result of "constant" and "relentless" media onslaught. He even went on to compare his situation to that of Love Island host Caroline Flack, who died of suicide as a result of a bombardment of negative coverage in 2020.
Fellow celebrities like Piers Morgan and Rupert Everett have come out in support of Schofield by questioning the intensity of the backlash, which former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson labelled as a "witch-hunt".
But what did Holly Willoughby say in her statement? Here is everything you need to know.
When did Holly Willoughby give her statement on Phillip Schofield?
Holly Willoughby gave her response to the news of Phillip Schofield's affair and subsequent ITV resignation on her long awaited return to the This Morning sofa at 10am on Monday (5 June)
What did Holly Willoughby say in her statement?
After thanking her new co-host Josie Gibson for her support, Willoughby said: "Firstly, are you okay? I hope so, it feels very strange sitting here without Phil. I imagine you have been feeling a lot like how I have, shaken, troubled, let down, worried for the wellbeing for people on all sides of what has been going on and full of questions.
"You me and all of us at This Morning gave all the support to someone who was not telling the truth, who acted in a way that they themselves felt like they had to resign from ITV and step down from a career that they loved that is a lot to process, and it is equally hard to see the toll that it has had on their own mental health.
She continued: "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 back to a place of warmth and magic that this show holds for all of us, we can find strength in each other. From my heart can I just thank you for all your kind messages and for being here this morning - everyone on this show will continue to work hard to give you the show you love."
Why did Phillip Schofield leave ITV and This Morning?
After months of rumours that both Holly and Phill had been embroiled in a heated feud, Schofield sensationally announced that he had quit the ITV daytime show on Saturday, 20 May. This was before news of an affair with a younger colleague surfaced, as the presenter then subsequently resigned from the broadcaster and was dropped by his agent and The Prince's Trust.
In a statement released through the Daily Mail, the presenter said: "The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them (the Daily Mail), 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.
Schofield continued: “That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over. 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."
Following the confirmation from Phil that he had indeed been embroiled in an affair with a fellow colleague, which has been heavily scrutinised by former co-workers like Eamonn Holmes, he assured that it was not the reason behind him leaving This Morning and has continued to deny grooming the individual.
From our sister title PeopleWorld: How people are reacting to Holly Willoughby’s return to This Morning