(The Guardian) ITV bosses have denied they had any evidence of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and a “much younger” member of staff on award-winning show This Morning, a day after Schofield admitted he had lied about the affair and came clean.
ITV said it had investigated rumours in early 2020 when they first arose. “Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU,” ITV said.
“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.”
It comes as questions have been asked over what ITV bosses, including the show’s editor, Martin Frizell, ITV’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, and the broadcaster’s director of TV, Kevin Lygo, knew by former ITV daytime presenters, including Eamonn Holmes and Dan Wootton.
Holmes, who along with his co-presenter and wife, Ruth Langsford, shared a sofa with Schofield and Holly Willoughby when Schofield revealed he was gay, had claimed that bosses on the show knew about the affair.
Holmes tweeted: “Schofield has finally been caught out … But he’s not the only guilty party. 4 high members of ITV management knew what sort of man he was … and NEVER once took action to prevent him controlling or taking advantage of his position over young people.”
He claimed that he and Langsford had been “deceived and lied to” by the 61-year-old. “What transpired took us for fools. The man told us complete lies and we unfortunately believed him.”
On Friday, Schofield told the Daily Mail he had a “consensual on-off relationship” that was “unwise, but not illegal”.
He admitted that it had happened when he was married to his wife of 30 years, Stephanie Lowe.
He said: “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.
“I have therefore decided to step down from the British Soap Awards, my last public commitment, and am resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.”
ITV said it was “deeply disappointed” by the revelation. “We feel badly let down,” it added.
The talent agency YMU, which represented Schofield, ended its relationship with him “with immediate effect” on Thursday.
The revelations came after Schofield faced months of controversy including reports of a rift with his longtime co-host Willoughby, as well as a furore over their visit to the late Queen’s lying in state; and after his brother, Tim, was jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing a boy.
Last Saturday it was announced that Schofield would leave the show amid reports of a growing feud with Willoughby.