ENTERTAINMENT
09/07/2018 15:34 BST | Updated 09/07/2018 15:36 BST

John Leslie 'In Bits' As He Returns To 'This Morning' After Sexual Misconduct Acquittal

'It’s been an emotional day knowing that I was coming on the show.'

An emotional John Leslie said he was “in a bit of a state” as he returned to ‘This Morning’, having been cleared of sexual misconduct last month.

The former presenter appeared on the sofa for the first time in 16 years to talk about how his life had been damaged by the allegations, for which he was acquitted.

He had appeared in court last month after being accused of putting his hand up a woman’s skirt during a night out in Edinburgh in June 2017.

ITV
John Leslie made a return to 'This Morning' 16 years after his exit

Speaking to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, John suggested his reputation had led him to “become a target” for the allegations. 

Joining them on the ITV daytime show, he said: “I’m in a bit of a state really. I can’t believe I’m back here to be honest.

“It’s been an emotional day knowing that I was coming on the show and thanks for inviting me on. But even this building [the former BBC TV Centre] was obviously where my career started all those years ago and ‘This Morning’ where my career ended. So it’s been quite a journey.”

He continued: “I just wanted a quiet life, and was living away from the media, but I just feel my reputation follows me around. I became a kind of target and when I was out in public, things happened and people made allegations and stuff and I never got the chance to speak out. So, when it happened this time I felt enough is enough, it has to stop.”

Rex/Shutterstock/ITV
John was acquitted of sexual assault last month

Asked if he thought it should be that those accused of sexual assault remain anonymous until proven guilty, John replied: “I am living proof that it’s got to stop. You can’t have your life ruined on the back of false allegations.

“I’m all for one being named if being charged, but I don’t think you should be named if found not guilty. There has to be a level of proof before your life is ruined.”

On his life now, John said: “It’s about surviving, and keeping going. I’m in bits at the moment.

“It was a horrible experience for everybody. It’s a case of putting the bits back together again and hopefully I can come through this.”

He also admitted he doesn’t see himself working on TV again, with his last regular spot being on ‘This Morning’, hosting alongside Fern Britton from 1999 to 2002 after allegations of indecent assault were made against him. 

“I don’t think I can handle it,” he said. “I miss this [‘This Morning’] it’s an experience, and I feel like i’m in a parallel universe. It’s bizarre.

“I loved the job as you know, and I regret breaking up the relationship with Fern [Britton] and stuff… it was such a horrible time, and it feels like yesterday.”

‘This Morning’ airs weekdays at 10.30am on ITV.