Iain Dale 7pm - 10pm
Phillip Schofield says he is 'utterly broken and ashamed' but insists he did not groom younger colleague
1 June 2023, 22:35 | Updated: 2 June 2023, 05:08
Phillip Schofield has said he is "utterly broken and ashamed" following the scandal over his affair with a younger male colleague, but denies grooming him.
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", which he said was "unwise, but not illegal".
In his first interview since his departure from the broadcaster and This Morning, the 61-year-old told The Sun: “I did not, I did not (groom him).
“There are accusations of all sorts of things. It never came across that way because we’d become mates. I don’t know about that.
“But of course I understand that there will be a massive judgment, but bearing in mind, I have never exercised that anywhere else.”
He added that the “greatest apology” he has given over the fallout from the affair was to his former lover.
“It has brought the greatest misery into his totally innocent life, his totally innocent family, his totally innocent friends. It has brought the greatest grief to them, ” he said.
He added: “I am deeply sorry and I apologise to him because I should have known better. I should have acted the way I have always acted. I should not have done it.
“I’m sorry. And I will forever be sorry. I will die sorry. I am so deeply mortified.”
The affair occurred before Schofield publicly came out as gay in 2020, and while he was still married to wife Stephanie Lowe, whom he wed in 1993.
He told the Sun his wife was "very, very angry" after he confessed to her about the affair and said he had previously denied rumours about it to her when she had asked.
"She got off a plane and I phoned her up and texted saying, 'I need to talk to you'," he said.
"She called back and I told her. She was very, very angry."
His exit from This Morning came after weeks of reports of a rift between him and long-time co-presenter Holly Willoughby.
Willoughby, who is due to return to the show next Monday, previously said in a statement that "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 this was a lie," she added.
ITV said it had investigated "rumours of a relationship" between Phillip Schofield and a younger employee, but the pair "repeatedly denied" the affair.
In a separate interview, Schofield said that his interactions with the younger male colleague before he joined This Morning were "completely innocent".
"It was a totally innocent picture, a totally innocent Twitter follow, of which I follow 11,400 people, and then it was a completely innocent backwards and forwards over a period of time about a job, about careers", He told BBC News.
"The brief communications backwards and forwards up to the point that he came to work on This Morning I think was just chat," he added.
"What was unwise was the fact that it happened. And that was a very, very grave error, it was consensual, but it was my fault."