Timeline of Schofield’s ITV departure after colleague affair and Willoughby ‘rift’


Phillip Schofield has left ITV and will not present The British Soap Awards after admitting to an affair with a younger colleague.

Schofield revealed the relationship in a statement to the Daily Mail newspaper on Friday.

The 61-year-old – who has also split from his agent – described his relationship with the man as “unwise, but not illegal”.

The admission comes after the presenter departed This Morning with “immediate effect” following speculation over his relationship with co-host Holly Willoughby.

Schofield said he understood ITV had decided “the current situation cannot go on”.

Willoughby released a short statement, saying the sofa would not be the same without him.

The pair used to be firm friends, with their families even taking annual holidays together.

Sky News takes a look at how their relationship started and where the cracks started to show.

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby
This Morning co-hosts on the day Schofield came out on the programme in 2020

Monday, 29 May: Minutes before This Morning begins, Schofield hits out at “the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show”.

An hour later, a tweet from former colleague Eamonn Holmes describes him as “delusional” and a “liar”, adding that he has “picked the wrong person… if you’re looking for a fight”.

Presenters Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary also reference the scandal on air, acknowledging they “happen to be in the news at the moment” and say they “love making the show”.

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The presenters say that everyone involved in the show ‘loves making the program’.

Sunday, 28 May: Former This Morning resident doctor Ranj Singh claims “the issues with This Morning go far beyond” Schofield and describes it as “toxic”. He says he “took his concerns right to the top of ITV”, but a spokesperson replies that while the broadcaster was “sorry” to hear his comments, an invesitgation found no evidence of bullying.

Saturday, 27 May: ITV releases a statement saying it investigated “rumours of a relationship” between Schofield and a younger employee – but the pair “repeatedly denied” the affair.

Holly Willoughby also accuses Schofield of lying to her about the affair. “When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not,” she wrote on Instagram. “It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie.”

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Dermot O’Leary on Phillip Schofield affair

Friday, 26 May: Schofield releases statement admitting affair with “much younger man” and announcing he is stepping down from ITV and will not be involved in the British Soap Awards.

Monday, 22 May: Presenters Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary pay tribute to Schofield in the first show since he announced his exit – describing him as “one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had”, and “wishing him all the best for the future”.

Sunday, 21 May: It is announced Hammond and O’Leary will take over presenting duties for Monday’s programme. Willoughby is to remain on the show but will take early half-term holiday leave before she is expected to return on 5 June, ITV says.

Saturday, 20 May: The presenter announces he is stepping down from This Morning with immediate effect after more than 20 years on the programme.

Monday, 15 May: As rumours intensify, Schofield and Willoughby put on a united front on the show – but viewers are concerned by the pair discussing headlines but failing to address the ongoing “feud.”

Thursday, 11 May: Amid ongoing speculation about their cooling relationship, Schofield hails Willoughby as his “rock” while admitting “the last few weeks haven’t been easy for either of us”.

In a statement, Schofield told The Sun newspaper: “As I have said before, Holly is my rock. We’re the best of friends – as always, she is an incredible support on screen, behind the scenes and on the phone.

“Holly has always been there for me, through thick and thin. And I’ve been there for her.”

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‘No mistakes’ were made – ITV boss

Wednesday, 10 May: The Sun reports Schofield and Willoughby are “barely speaking” – citing “insiders” who claimed their relationship had “cooled” and issues had “rumbled for some time”.

Monday, 17 April: The first show after the Easter break should have seen both hosts back on the couch after Schofield took leave while his brother, Timothy, was on trial for child sexual offences.

But while Schofield thanks fans for their support as he returned to This Morning for the first time since his paedophile sibling was convicted, Willoughby is absent.

She announces she has shingles and will be away from the show for a week.

Following his brother’s conviction, Schofield brands the crimes “despicable” and says: “As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a brother.”

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The co-hosts’ past relationship

2006: The pair first work together on ITV’s Dancing On Ice.

2009: Willoughby joins ITV’s This Morning, replacing Fern Britton. In his memoir, Schofield pinpointed a row between the co-hosts over the content of a show as the catalyst for Britton’s departure.

2011: Willoughby leaves Dancing On Ice and starts presenting The Voice, then on BBC1.

2017: Willoughby reportedly negotiates a pay rise to match Schofield’s salary of £600,000. She was reportedly on around £400,000 before that.

2018: Willoughby returns to Dancing On Ice.

2020: Schofield comes out as gay after 27 years of marriage.

Willoughby interviews him about it on This Morning, telling him: “I will be by your side forever.”

She also posts a photograph of the two of them on Instagram, and writes: “Never been more proud of my friend than I am today.”

2022: The pair face accusations of queue jumping at the late Queen’s lying in state. More than 37,000 people signed a petition for them to be axed from This Morning.

Addressing the backlash, the hosts insist they were only there in a journalistic capacity and followed the rules set for media.

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