'If Holly Willoughby knew about the affair, she needs to go too'
If Holly Willoughby knew about Phillip Schofield's affair with his younger colleague when it was happening, she needs to leave This Morning too, says TalkTV's Kevin O'Sullivan.
It has been reported Phillip Schofield first met the younger ITV colleague whom he later had an affair with when he was aged 15.
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.
Holly 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.
Kevin said it "seems hard to believe" that nobody at ITV knew about the affair until now.
Speaking to Kevin, the showbiz editor of The Sun Simon Boyle said that although ITV have confirmed there was an investigation into the relationship between the two men in 2020, "it can't have been very thorough, given what we now know.
"The question is now is if there was enough done to check this out. How senior at ITV did this go?"
Kevin added that if Holly Willoughby did in fact know about the affair at the time, "she has to go too."
Simon said: "It is beyond dispute that she became uncomfortable with Phillip, who had been a very close friend, and we can assume that that was because she was partly aware of this increasing swirling ugliness behind the scenes."
It is reported that Schofield and the younger man first met when Schofield was giving a talk at a theatre school when the TV presenter was in his late 40s. 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.
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.