Holly Willoughby 'will not shy away from Phillip Schofield exit' in 'honest and genuine' return to This Morning on Monday

4 June 2023, 06:55

Holly Willoughby is returning to the show on Monday
Holly Willoughby is returning to the show on Monday. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Holly Willoughby is set to return to This Morning on Monday by "honestly and openly" addressing the departure of former co-host Phillip Schofield.

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Schofield resigned from ITV last week and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to a "consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning".

Willoughby, who has been off work for two weeks in the meantime, has personally prepared a statement to tell viewers how difficult the period has been.

Her colleagues are said to be sympathetic to Ms Willoughby's situation, and want to make her return to the show as smooth as possible.

An insider told the Sun: "She will be honest and open, mentioning him by name. She’s not shying away from the tricky subject as she wants to show up for the viewers and loyal fans.

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Ms Willoughby 'won't shy away' from the Phillip Schofield issue
Ms Willoughby 'won't shy away' from the Phillip Schofield issue. Picture: Getty

"Even though Holly has been on holiday with her family, she has been thinking about it a lot and tried to process the dramatic turn of events.

"She has thought about what she will say and written it in advance, taking her time to get the words right. It’s not something she’s being forced to do.

Read more: This Morning boss says 'scores are being settled' after Phillip Schofield claims he's 'lost everything'

"It won’t be an easy moment for her, and she knows she could get emotional, but she thinks it’s the right thing to do and wants to speak about it in an honest way."

It comes after ITV boss Martin Frizell claimed that ex-colleagues were "settling scores" by chiming in after Schofield's exit.

Schofield's former boss told reporters outside his home on Saturday that they ought to "read between the lines" in media coverage surrounding the scandal-struck morning programme.

Willoughby and Schofield had worked together for several years
Willoughby and Schofield had worked together for several years. Picture: Getty

Mr Frizell said: “I am working with a fantastic team of mainly women, many mums, a lot of them concerned for their jobs, although we’ve told them not to be.

“But this is the 23rd day now of being on the front page and it’s tiring, they worked all through Covid brilliantly, they worked all through this putting a programme out…and I just think they need a bit of respite now.”

Ex-colleagues Willoughby, Alison Hammond, Dermot O'Leary, Eamonn Holmes and Dr Ranj Singh have all made public comments in the wake of Schofield's exit.

Andrew Castle on Phillip Schofield

The comments follow comments from Schofield about his suicidal thoughts in the wake of his acrimonious exit from This Morning.

Read more: Holly Willoughby 'hasn't spoken to Phillip Schofield' but is 'saddened' to hear about his mental health struggles

Read more: Caroline Flack's mother urges Phillip Schofield 'not to do anything silly' after he said he'd 'lost everything'

Phillip Schofield is seen leaving his home in May
Phillip Schofield is seen leaving his home in May. Picture: Getty

He told the BBC on Friday: “I don’t have any spirit. My friends tell me, ‘It will get better’. It won’t. Not now. Not this one.

“I am getting by hour by hour. I have got my girls and my friends.

“Last week, if my daughters hadn’t been there then I wouldn’t be here."

Samaritans can be contacted for free on 116 123, emailed at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary have hosted This Morning in the wake of Schofield's exit
Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary have hosted This Morning in the wake of Schofield's exit. Picture: LBC / ITV

Schofield said the tryst with the younger colleague was "unwise, but not illegal".

The affair took place before Schofield publicly came out as gay in 2020, and while he was still married to wife Stephanie Lowe, whom he wed in 1993.

The presenter had denied the relationship when questioned by the broadcaster about rumours in 2020.

This Andrew Castle caller defends Phillip Schofield

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