Entertainment

Schofield first met colleague he later had affair with at age 15 – reports

The veteran TV presenter resigned from ITV after admitting to an ‘unwise, but not illegal’ affair with a young male colleague on This Morning.
The veteran TV presenter resigned from ITV after admitting to an ‘unwise, but not illegal’ affair with a young male colleague on This Morning.

Phillip Schofield first met the younger ITV colleague whom he later had an affair with when he was aged 15, according to The Mail On Sunday.

The veteran TV presenter, 61, resigned from the broadcaster on Friday and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an “unwise, but not illegal” affair with a young male colleague on This Morning.

Lawyers representing Schofield have confirmed they met when the boy was 15, but said the affair began after he started working at ITV, and the man’s lawyers have also confirmed that it began after he joined the broadcaster.

In a statement on Friday, Schofield said the man was a teenager when they were introduced, and he was asked to help him get into television but underlined that it was a number of years later when he joined the show as an adult that their affair began.

British Grand Prix 2022 – Race – Silverstone
Phillip Schofield (Bradley Collyer/PA)

The Mail On Sunday reported the pair first met when Schofield was giving a talk at a theatre school when the TV presenter was in his late 40s.

It said some years later the younger man joined the production team on This Morning when Schofield was in his early 50s and their relationship developed from a friendship to an affair.

The newspaper also said Schofield confirmed the affair after the young man revealed details about the relationship to his lawyers.

It comes after ITV said it investigated “rumours of a relationship” between Schofield and the ITV employee around three years ago but that both parties “categorically and repeatedly denied” it.

A spokesperson for ITV said on Saturday the broadcaster was “not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour” when it looked into the matter in 2020.

“Phillip’s statement yesterday 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”, they added.

The broadcaster also said it was “deeply disappointed” by the “admissions of deceit” by Schofield after he spoke publicly about the affair.

“The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust,” a statement from a spokesperson for ITV added.

“Phillip made assurances to us which he now acknowledges were untrue and we feel badly let down.”

This Morning will air on Monday, ITV said, and denied the show’s future is the show’s future is in question, with reports claiming it could potentially be axed entirely.

An ITV spokesperson told the PA news agency: “As we said on the record yesterday, This Morning is not under review and there’s no plans for the show to be axed. This Morning will return as normal tomorrow.”

With Holly Willoughby on half-term holiday leave, Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary will continue to fill in for them, including when the Monday show airs at 10am.

Willoughby said her former This Morning co-host’s admission about the affair was “very hurtful” as he had previously denied it to her as well.

“It’s taken time to process yesterday’s news,” Willoughby wrote on an Instagram story posted on Saturday.

“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.”

Last Saturday, Schofield announced he was stepping down from presenting the ITV talk show with “immediate effect” while Willoughby will remain on the programme.

Pride of Britain Awards 2022 – London
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby (Yui Mok/PA)

The TV presenter, who also co-hosted Dancing On Ice with Willoughby, said he would also no longer present the British Soap Awards, his last public commitment.

In his statement, Schofield apologised for lying about the relationship.

“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,” he said.

“I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.”

He added that “contrary to speculation” the relationship was “not illegal”.

He also denied that a super-injunction had been issued by him, or on his behalf, regarding the relationship.

“When I chose to come out I did so entirely for my own wellbeing,” he said.

Pride of Britain Awards 2017 – London
Phillip Schofield and his former wife Stephanie (Ian West/PA)

“Nobody ‘forced’ me out. Neither I nor anyone else, to my knowledge, has ever issued an injunction, super or otherwise, about my relationship with this colleague, he was never moved on or sacked by or because of me.

“In an effort to protect my ex-colleague I haven’t been truthful about the relationship. But my recent, unrelated, departure from This Morning fuelled speculation and raised questions which have been impacting him, so for his sake it is important for me to be honest now.”

The presenter added: “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.

“I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.”

Talent agency YMU said it has “parted company” with Schofield “with immediate effect”.

The revelations come after Schofield faced months of controversy including reports of a rift with his long-time co-host Willoughby and a furore over his visit to the late Queen’s lying-in-state.

Just a day before he stepped down This Morning, his brother Timothy was jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing a boy.

A judge told the 54-year-old former civilian police worker she had not heard a “single word of remorse” from him.

The presenter said “I no longer have a brother” following guilty verdicts in April.

Schofield married Stephanie Lowe in 1993 and they have two grown-up daughters together, Ruby and Molly.

After he came out in February 2020, in an emotional on-air chat with Willoughby, his wife told The Sun she supported his “brave step” and “always will” love him.