Phillip Schofield says ‘I don’t see a future’ as he insists ‘I’m not a groomer’ in wake of secret affair
Schofield said he “understands how Caroline Flack Felt” as he admits he sees “nothing ahead”
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Speaking to the BBC’s Amol Rajan, Schofield asked: “Do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am”, as he told of the criticism he has faced since admitting to the affair, which took place while he was still married to wife Stephanie Lowe and before he came out publicly as gay. The pair met when the younger man was 15 but the presenter said the affair began after he joined ITV’s This Morning as an adult.
He said: “It is relentless, and it is day after day, after day after day. If you don’t think that that is going to have the most catastrophic effect on someone’s mind… do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am. I have lost everything.”
Referring to the Love Island host who took her own life in February 2020, he added: “I think I understand how Caroline Flack felt.” Love Island host Flack was found dead in February 2020 at the age of 40, and a coroner later ruled she took her own life after learning that prosecutors were going to press ahead with an assault charge following an incident with her boyfriend Lewis Burton.
Schofield added: “Last week, if my daughters hadn’t been there then I wouldn’t be here. And they’ve guarded me and won’t let me out of their sight, it’s like a weird numbness. I know that’s a selfish point of view.
“But you come to a point where you just think, how much are you supposed to take? If all of those people that write all that stuff, do they ever think that there’s actually a person at the other end?”.
He also said he had to talk about his television career “in the past tense” as he spoke out publicly for the first time since he resigned from ITV and This Morning last week, and was dropped by his talent agency YMU.
In a sign he believes his TV career is over, he told Rajan: “I see nothing ahead of me but blackness and sadness and regret and remorse and guilt.” He said: “I’m not in television any more, I don’t know what I am even remotely… if I get through this. I don’t know even remotely how I move forward… what am I going to do with my days?”
He went on: “I did something very wrong and then I lied about it consistently and you can’t live with that. How do you live with that?”
‘I did not groom him’
Schofield went on to say he was “utterly broken and ashamed” about the “unwise but not illegal” relationship with the younger male, but denied claims he had “groomed” the man.
Speaking to The Sun, he said they became friends after the man started working on This Morning, but insisted: “I did not [groom him]. There are accusations of all sorts of things. It never came across that way because we’d become mates. I don’t know about that.
“But of course I understand that there will be a massive judgment, but bearing in mind, I have never exercised that anywhere else. I assume somebody, somewhere, assumed something was going on, correctly, and didn’t say anything."
The 61-year-old confessed he did not think at the time that the affair might ruin his career, adding: “I really probably only thought about it when I saw the rumour mill, and saw it growing. Then I saw the link with the drama school photo all those years before, and thought, ‘This looks shocking’.”
He went on to deny lying about the affair to protect his own career, saying he didn’t want the name of his lover to be made public as “he wanted his own life”. But he said the lies then “grew bigger and bigger and bigger” and reached the stage where “it was out of control and for whatever cost, it had to stop”.
Schofield admitted that he is now “in a very bad way” and mentally feels “utterly broken”, before adding that his “greatest apology” was to his former lover for bringing “the greatest misery into his totally innocent life”, and he would “die sorry” for what he had done.
In his BBC interview, he added: “There is an innocent person here who didn’t do anything wrong, who is vulnerable and probably feels like I do. And I just have to say stop with him, ok with me, but stop with him. Leave him alone now.”
Referring to his former This Morning co-presenter Holly Willoughby, Schofield said the affair has also cost him his “best friend” and denied there had ever been a “feud” between him and his “TV sister”.
He told The Sun: “I’ve lost my best friend. I let her 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’.”
The pair had presented This Morning together since 2009. Willoughby is due to return to the show on Monday (5 June) after the half-term break, having taken an early holiday after news of Schofield’s departure emerged.
From our sister title PeopleWorld: The key points Phillip Schofield spoke about in his BBC interview with Amol Rajan