Phillip Schofield admits affair with much younger This Morning colleague

Phillip Schofield
Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield has admitted having an affair with a much younger man who worked with him on This Morning and resigned from ITV over his lies about the relationship.

The television presenter, 61, issued a statement on Friday night in which he admitted the relationship was “unwise” but then stressed it was “not illegal”. The career of one of ITV’s most bankable stars may now be over, 38 years after he first appeared on British TV screens.

Schofield dramatically stepped down as presenter of ITV’s flagship daytime programme last week amid reports of a feud with his co-star Holly Willoughby.

On Friday night, he said he was “deeply sorry” for having lied to his wife and to ITV about his relationship with a young man reportedly 30 years his junior and who he first met as a teenager.

'More than just a friendship'

But he said the affair - which he described as “on-off” - had only begun once the young man began working on the ITV daytime show.

“Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship,” said Schofield, adding: “That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.”

He has now quit working for ITV altogether despite the channel having backed him as recently as last week and promised him a new primetime show.

Schofield has also stepped aside from presenting the British Soap Awards, which he was due to host next week, raising questions about whether he will ever work on mainstream television again.

Speculation about Schofield has been rife ever since he dramatically announced he was quitting This Morning. In February 2020, Schofield, who had been married for 27 years at the time, tearfully announced he was gay in an admission made on air.

In a further twist his agents YMU Group, who had represented him for 35 years, said they were parting ways, stressing that “honesty and integrity are core values” and that “talent management is a relationship based entirely on trust”.

Schofield admitted he had lied to ITV when denying the relationship to his co-worker and apologised for “having been unfaithful to my wife”.

He issued the statement after being confronted by the Daily Mail. He had previously denied the relationship when the newspaper’s sister publication the Mail on Sunday had approached him for comment.

In his statement, Schofield said: “The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them, and to many others about a relationship that I had with someone working on This Morning. I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.”

'Nobody forced me out'

He went on: “When I chose to come out I did so entirely for my own wellbeing. Nobody ‘forced’ me out. Neither I nor anyone else, to my knowledge, has ever issued an injunction, super or otherwise, about my relationship with this colleague, he was never moved on or sacked by or because of me.

“In an effort to protect my ex-colleague I haven't been truthful about the relationship.

“But my recent, unrelated, departure from This Morning fuelled speculation and raised questions which have been impacting him, so for his sake it is important for me to be honest now.

“I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family. I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.”

He said he was stepping down from the British Soap Awards, which he described as “my last public commitment”, adding that he would be “resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me. I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it”.

'Profound regret'

He said he wished to “protect the privacy” of the young man and said he would not be naming him as a result. Schofield said: “My deepest wish is that both he and his family can now move on with their lives free from further intrusion, and that this statement will enable them to do so.”

In a statement ITV said it was "deeply disappointed" by the admissions.

"Phillip made assurances to us which he now acknowledges were untrue and we feel badly let down," a spokesperson said.

"We accept his resignation from ITV and therefore can confirm that he will not be appearing on ITV as had previously been stated."

In a separate statement, Schofield expressed his “most profound regret” that after 35 years he would no longer be represented by YMU Group.

Mary Bekhait, the YMU Group’s chief executive, said: “Honesty and integrity are core values for YMU’s whole business, defining everything we do. Talent management is a relationship based entirely on trust.

“This week, we have learned important new information about our client Phillip Schofield. These facts contradicted what Phillip had previously told YMU, as well as the external advisors we had brought in to support him.

“As a result, on Thursday we agreed to part company with Phillip, with immediate effect.”