Holly Willoughby: ‘We gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth’

The This Morning host said she feels "shaken, troubled, let down and worried" by Phillip Schofield's revelations.

Watch: Holly Willoughby makes statement on This Morning

Holly Willoughby asked This Morning viewers "Are you okay?" as she told them "we gave love and support to someone who was not telling the truth."

The TV presenter returned to the ITV daytime show for the first time since Phillip Schofield announced he was stepping down and confessed to having a secret affair.

Willoughby, 42, told viewers: “Hi there. Good morning. Josie [Gibson], thank you for being here. Right, deep breath.

Holly Willoughby admitted she felt shaken returning to This Morning. (ITV)
Holly Willoughby admitted she felt shaken returning to This Morning. (ITV)

“Firstly, are you okay? It feels very strange indeed sitting here without Phil.

Philip Schofield: Read more

Her voice sounded shaken and she appeared to be blinking away tears as she continued: "I imagine you might have a feeling a lot like I have - shaken, troubled, let down and worried for the wellbeing of people on all sides of what’s been going on. And full of questions.

Holly Willoughby turned to This Morning co-host Josie Gibson for support. (ITV)
Holly Willoughby turned to This Morning co-host Josie Gibson for support. (ITV)

"You, me and all of us at This Morning gave love and support to someone who was not telling the truth.

"Who acted in a way that they themselves felt they had to resign from TV 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'd take on their own mental health."

Willoughby went on: "I think what unites us all now is a desire to heal, for the health and wellbeing of everyone.

Holly Willoughby admitted it was strange to be back on This Morning without Phillip Schofield. (ITV)
Holly Willoughby admitted it was strange to be back on This Morning without Phillip Schofield. (ITV)

"I hope that as 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.

"And from my heart can I just say thank you for all of you kind messages and thank you for being here This Morning.

“Myself, Josie, Dermot [O’Leary], Alison [Hammond], Craig [Doyle], 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.”

Turning to co-host Josie Gibson she added: "On that note Josie."

Gibson told her: "Bring it in. All we can do now is be the family that we are."

The pair embraced and Gibson patted her on the hand.

Willoughby last appeared on the show on Thursday 18 May, before taking extended leave when Phillip Schofield announced he was was stepping down from the ITV daytime show.

This Morning's Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield. (ITV/Joel Anderson)
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield hosted This Morning together for 13 years. (ITV/Joel Anderson)

Willoughby was joined to host the ITV daytime show by former Big Brother winner Josie Gibson, who has been a guest presenter on This Morning since 2019.

The mother-of-three always takes the school holidays off work, and has spent half-term with Harry, 14, Belle, 12, and Chester, eight and their dog Bailey.

While Willoughby was off screen Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary held down the fort on the This Morning sofa.

During her absence Schofield, 61, has resigned from ITV completely after confessing to having a secret affair with a younger production assistant on the show.

Holly Willoughby attends The Prince's Trust and TKMaxx & Homesense Awards 2023 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on May 16, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Holly Willoughby at The Prince's Trust awards on 16 May 2023. (Getty Images) (David M. Benett via Getty Images)

Hammond tearfully addressed his confessions on the show on Friday 2 June, saying: "I am just finding it really painful, because obviously, you know, I loved Phillip Schofield and it's weird, because I still love Phillip Schofield.

She added: "As a family we are all really still struggling to process everything."

In an interview with the BBC's Amol Rajan Schofield called Willoughby his "TV sister" and said he had "lost everything".

He apologised to Willoughby for lying to her about his relationship when he spoke to The Sun.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield with the Best Daytime award for 'This Morning' in the winners' room at the National Television Awards 2022 at OVO Arena Wembley on October 13, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Holly Willoughby has been silent about Phillip Schofield's confession up until now. (Getty Images) (Dave J Hogan via Getty Images)

He said: “I’ve lost my best friend. I let her (Holly) down. I let that entire show down. I let the viewers down.

“Holly did not know (about the affair) and she was one of the first texts that I sent, to say: ‘I am so, so sorry that I lied to you’.

“She didn’t reply and I understand why she didn’t reply, as well. So yeah. If anyone is in any way linking Holly to this; that is ­absolutely, wholly untrue.”

Eamonn Holmes has called Willoughby "false" and claimed Willoughby's friendship with Hammond wasn't real, and that there was "very little contact" between them.

Willoughby issued a statement on her Instagram stories saying: "When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not.

Read more: This Morning: Who are the favourites to replace Phillip Schofield?

"It's been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie."

She added it had "taken time to process" Schofield's confession.

Josie Gibson attends the ITV Palooza 2022 on November 15, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)
Josie Gibson joined Holly Willoughby for her first day back at This Morning. (Getty Images) (Lia Toby via Getty Images)

Pictures and videos have since emerged of Willoughby and Schofield with his younger lover.

Since Schofield confession and resignation, he has said in a statement: “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."

But Holmes, who used to work alongside Willoughby and Schofield at This Morning, has claimed: "It's a total cover-up.

Read more: Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: Their on-screen history together

"Those in authority had to know what was going on and they thought they would dodge a bullet with this which they do and they do constantly."

Watch: Timeline of Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield's rift