Tearful Holly Willoughby says she's been 'let down' by Phillip Schofield's lies as she returns to This Morning

5 June 2023, 10:05 | Updated: 5 June 2023, 12:24

Holly Willoughby addressed This Morning viewers in her first appearance since Phillip Schofield's affair
Holly Willoughby addressed This Morning viewers in her first appearance since Phillip Schofield's affair. Picture: ITV
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Holly Willoughby has spoken on air for the first time since Phillip Schofield revealed he had an affair with a young male colleague, saying she feels 'let down' by his lies.

Holly Willoughby makes statement as she returns to This Morning

Holly returned to TV screens on Monday morning after taking an extended half-term break as news broke about Schofield's affair.

Addressing This Morning viewers, Holly said: "It feels very strange indeed sitting here without Phil.

"I imagine you might have been 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 that they had to resign from ITV and step down from a career that they loved.

"That is a lot to process."

She added that it was "equally hard" to see how the recent controversy had affected Schofield's mental health.

Read and Watch in full: Holly Willoughby's This Morning statement on Phil Schofield in full

Read More: Jeremy Clarkson brands Phillip Schofield outrage a 'witch-hunt' and says 'he is only guilty of being gay'

It comes after a friend close to Schofield said the former presenter will have been unable to watch Holly's first show back, with even the show's theme tune thought to be too distressing to listen to.

Last week, Schofield admitted that he was "ashamed" after having the affair but denied grooming his former colleague, who was 15 years old when they first met.

In an interview with the BBC, he said he had "lost everything" and that he no longer has a career after revealing that he lied about having the affair.

Previously saying that the affair was "unwise but not illegal", Schofield told the BBC that it was "was a grave error", adding: "I shouldn't have done it."

"I have to talk about television in the past tense, which breaks my heart," he continued.

A tearful Holly Willoughby addresses the Phillip Schofield controversy
A tearful Holly Willoughby addresses the Phillip Schofield controversy. Picture: ITV

"I have lost everything.""What am I going to do with my days?" he added.

"I see nothing ahead of me but blackness, and sadness, and regret, and remorse, and guilt. I did something very wrong, and then I lied about it consistently."

Adding that he had been suffering with suicidal thoughts, Schofield continued: "Last week, if my daughters hadn't been there, I wouldn't be here."

Holly Willoughby was comforted by today's co-presenter
Holly Willoughby was comforted by today's co-presenter. Picture: ITV

Over the weekend, 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.

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.