Phillip Schofield has hit back at critics in his first statement after admitting having an affair with a much younger colleague on This Morning.
Less than half an hour before the programme was due to air on Monday, he posted a statement on Instagram.
It read: “Now I no longer work on @thismorning I am free to say this. I hope you have noticed that it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice.
“This morning IS the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there there was no toxicity. You can listen to those persistently loud voices if you like.
“But the thousands of guests over the years, thousands of staff and crew, hundreds of presenters and contributors all know, it IS a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard working people.”
Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary are presenting the ITV daytime show today, having paid a short 30-second tribute to him on Friday – before he admitted the affair.
Holly Willoughby, Schofield’s former co-host, is due to return next Monday (5 June), having taken an early half-term holiday on 22 May.
Schofield announced his departure on 20 May after two decades on the show, and six days later admitted to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a much younger colleague.
He has now completely resigned from ITV and been dropped by his agents.
His statement to the Daily Mail also admitted lying about the affair to ITV, his agents and the media.
ITV said they investigated “rumours of a relationship” between the host and the production assistant in 2020 but that both parties denied it.
Willoughby has also said 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,” her Instagram statement added.
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The controversy around Schofield’s affair and the related ‘feud’ between him and Willoughby has raised doubts about both her and the show’s future.
ITV has denied any reports its flagship programme could be axed.
This weekend, former This Morning doctor Ranj Singh, released a lengthy statement about the “toxic culture” at the show.
It claimed the “issues with This Morning go far beyond him [Schofield]”.
An ITV spokesperson has since told Sky News that a formal complaint made by Dr Ranj was investigated but found “no evidence of bullying or discrimination”.
Source : Sky News