James Haskell claims Holly Willoughby knew about Phillip Schofield's affair
James Haskell has launched a brutal attack on Holly Willoughby, claiming that she knew about Phillip Schofield’s affair.
Schofield, 61, quit This Morning after rumours that he and Willoughby were ‘barely speaking’ behind the scenes and that their relationship had cooled.
Days later, he sensationally resigned from all his ITV projects in their entirety after revealing he had an ‘unwise but not illegal’ affair with a young male show runner on This Morning while still with his wife Stephanie Lowe, which he said he lied about to his agency, colleagues and ITV.
Shortly after his shock announcement, Willoughby, 42, shared her own statement on social media, saying she was ‘hurt’ to have been ‘lied’ to.
On Monday, she returned to This Morning alongside Josie Gibson, beginning the show with a public statement: ‘Right, deep breath. Firstly, are you ok? I hope so. It feels very strange indeed sitting here without Phil.’
She continued: ‘I imagine that 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.
Holly Willoughby’s statement in full as she returns to This Morning after Phillip Schofield exit
‘Hi there, good morning. Josie, thank you for being here. Right, deep breath. Firstly, are you ok? I hope so. It feels very strange indeed sitting here without Phil.
‘I imagine that 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, and it’s equally hard to see the toll that it’s taken on their own mental health.
‘I think what unites us all now is a desire to heal, for the health and wellbeing of everyone.
‘I hope that we start this new chapter and get back to a place of warmth and magic that this show holds for all of us, we can find strength in each other.
‘From my heart, can I just say thank you for all of your kind messages and thank you for being here this morning. Myself, Josie, Dermot, Alison, Craig and every single person that works on this show will continue to work hard every single day to bring you this show that we love.’
‘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.’
Former England rugby player Haskell has now weighed in on the scandal, calling it ‘utter nonsense’.
The 37-year-old, who is the son-in-law of former This Morning presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, made an appearance on the Jeremy Vine show.
He said: ‘Utter nonsense… honestly. She asked: “Are you ok?” Yeah, a bloke off the TV cheated on his wife, I think I’ll survive, I think I’ll live.’
He added that he does think it’s ‘awful’, before continuing: ‘This is 2023 in a nutshell.
‘Everyone tripping over themselves to extricate themselves from any sort of drama.
‘It’s pretence, it’s fabrication, I just think it’s appalling.
‘Unless there’s something we don’t know, and I knew about this years ago, of course she [Holly] did. Everybody knows.’
After Schofield’s bombshell confession, Willoughby took to her Instagram stories to say: ‘It’s taken time to process yesterday’s news. 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 that this was a lie. Holly.’
Schofield has also insisted that his former co-host didn’t know about his affair, telling Amol Rajan in his tell-all interview that he had definitely not told Willoughby.
Phillip Schofield’s tell-all interview: The key points
Phillip Schofield bared all in interviews with The Sun and BBC amid the fallout of confessing to an affair with a This Morning runner. Here is what he said:
‘I did not groom him’
Schofield insists he is not a groomer, saying that while he met the former colleague while he was a teenager, their interactions were innocent and only became sexual when the runner was around 20/21 years old.
He said it never felt like an ‘abuse of power’ because they were ‘mates’.
The affair began in 2017
He has said that the affair began after a ‘consensual moment’ in his dressing room.
‘It was not a love affair, it was not a relationship, we were not boyfriends; we were mates,’ he insisted. ‘It wasn’t feelings (I was getting), it was more like mates: excitement.’
His wife is ‘very, very angry’
The affair took place while Schofield was married to wife Stephanie Lowe, with whom he shares two daughters.
On the moment he told his wife, he said: ‘She got off a plane and I phoned her up and texted saying, “I need to talk to you”. She called back and I told her. She was very, very angry.’
Schofield still wears his wedding ring, but explained that he and Stephanie are ‘separated’.
His daughters saved his life
Schofield confessed to feeling suicidal amid the fallout of his affair and the ‘relentless’ media attention.
His two daughters – Molly, 29, and Ruby, 27 – have been ‘afraid’ to leave his side and warned him: ‘Don’t you dare do this on our watch.’
‘If it hadn’t been for my girls last week, I wouldn’t be here.’
He has apologised to Holly Willoughby
After rumours of a fallout between the pair and after Holly Willoughby said she was lied to by Schofield after asking him about his affair, he has apologised to his former co-presenter.
He said: ‘I’ve lost my best friend. I let her down (Holly). I let that entire show down. I let the viewers down.
‘Holly did not know (about the romance). And she was one of the first texts that I sent, to say, “I am so, so sorry that I lied to you”.’
He will ‘die sorry’ to the runner he had the affair with
‘I have massive guilt, and regret. I’ve made a mistake, I’ve had an affair at work. I think my greatest apology must go to him. 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.’
The colleague has not been named in the press for his privacy.
Schofield denied allegations that the runner received hush money from ITV, saying the promotion he got wasn’t to ‘move him on’ but because of his own talents.
He also insisted that the young man did not sign an NDA preventing him from speaking out.
Comparing age gap backlash to ‘homophobia’
‘So yeah, there’s a difference. It’s accepted by Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s not accepted if it’s in the gay world,’ he said of age differences.
‘Attraction is attraction. It’s no different in the gay world as it is in the heterosexual world or in the lesbian world. There shouldn’t be a difference. This is where homophobia comes in.’
Eamonn Holmes is an ‘angry’ man
After Eamonn Holmes made a series of strong allegations against Schofield, he said the Irish TV presenter is just ‘angry’ he’s not on This Morning anymore.
He also continuously denied that This Morning is ‘toxic’.
Doesn’t think he’ll work in TV again
Schofield said it ‘breaks [my] heart’ to talk about TV in the past tense, but he doesn’t see a way back for him.
‘I do not think I will be able to walk down a street ever again. It is like everybody knows.
‘I’ve lost everything. It’s all gone,’ he said frankly.
‘Telly was my safe space, the one thing I loved. Now I don’t know if I will ever work on telly again.’
Rajan asked Schofield if he had ever confided in Willoughby about the affair and replied: ‘No. God no.’
Schofield continued: ‘That’s a bigger question because our make-up room was like a sanctuary. Has always been a sanctuary and you tell everything in that room.
‘Holly knows everything about me and I know everything about Holly. All the team. When the door is closed that’s the sanctuary.
‘And it is a wonderful, wonderful environment and something I will miss deeply.
‘Holly – I don’t know if she ever asked me – she might have done. But I would have denied it. Holly did not know. Nobody knew.’
It has since been reported that after her speech on Monday’s This Morning, Willoughby won’t be addressing Schofield’s affair again.
An insider shared: ‘This is the only time Holly will ever speak about Phil and what has happened.
‘She still feels incredibly angry and upset by his actions and is very much still trying to get her head around it.
‘It took a lot for Holly to compose herself and speak about what has gone on in the last few weeks. But people expecting her to sit and pour her heart out will be waiting for a long time,’ they added to The Sun.
This Morning airs weekdays from 10am on ITV1, and Jeremy Vine on 5 airs weekdays from 9.15am on Channel 5.
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