Holly Willoughby Returns To This Morning For First Time Since Phillip Schofield Scandal

The presenter said she felt "shaken, troubled, let down" and "worried for the wellbeing of people on all sides of what’s been going on".
Holly Willoughby
Holly Willoughby

Holly Willoughby made an emotional return to the This Morning studio on Monday, marking her first appearance on the show since the scandal around her former co-host Phillip Schofield arose.

Opening the show – for which she was joined by This Morning regular Josie Gibson – Holly began by thanking viewers “for being here”.

“Right, deep breath,” she began. “Firstly, are you OK? I hope so. It feels very strange indeed to be sitting here without Phil.

“And I imagine you might be feeling a lot like I have. Shaken, troubled, let down, worried for the wellbeing of people on all sides of what’s been going on, and full of questions.

“You, me and all of us at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth, who acted in a way that they themselves felt they had to resign from ITV and step down from a career that they loved.

“That is a lot to process, and it’s equally hard to see the toll that it’s taken on their own mental health.”

Pausing to take a breath, Holly added: “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.

“And from my heart, thank you for all your kind messages, and thank you for being here this morning. Every single person that works on this show will continue to work hard every single day to bring you the show that we love.

“So, on that note...” she concluded, before co-host Josie urged her to “bring it in” for a hug.

“All that we can do now is be the family that we are,” Josie then told her.

Holly Willoughby and Josie Gibson
Holly Willoughby and Josie Gibson

Holly had been on an extended half-term holiday for the past two weeks, following the news that Phillip was stepping down from This Morning after more than 20 years.

At the time, Holly issued a rather curt statement about her co-host, 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.”

Just over a week later, Phillip announced he was leaving ITV altogether after admitting to a previous affair with a younger colleague on the show.

Philip has insisted that his former co-presenter was unaware of the affair, with Holly herself stating: “It’s taken time to process [this] 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.”

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on the set of This Morning earlier this year
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on the set of This Morning earlier this year
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

An ITV spokesperson previously said: “ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.

“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.

“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.

“Phillip’s statement [...] reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”

More recently, ITV has instructed a barrister to carry out an external review of the facts following Phillip’s This Morning exit and subsequent press statements.


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