As U.K. network ITV launches an external review into the circumstances surrounding “This Morning” anchor Phillip Schofield’s “unwise but not illegal” relationship with a young employee, many are wondering how the long-time host – a staple of British daytime television – went from ITV golden boy to Tellyland exile in a matter of weeks.
It’s a storyline that could have been ripped from Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s Apple TV+ hit “The Morning Show.” An older male anchor handpicks a glamorous, younger and – according to unkind whispers – malleable blonde to be his co-host after falling out with her predecessor.
Fifteen years later the young blonde (reportedly) turns on him, ousting him from the show following a string of scandals that were beginning to taint her brand. But her victory may be short-lived as the married male anchor drops the bombshell that he had an affair with a young male employee right under everyone’s noses. The revelation detonates his career and threatens to take down not only his former colleague but dozens of executives – including the head of the network.
The only difference is rather than a high-end drama, it’s real life. Read on for a play-by-play of the toughest two weeks daytime show “This Morning” has faced since its launch in 1988.
A weekday magazine-format daytime show similar to “Live with Kelly and Mark.” It runs on ITV’s flagship channel every day from 10am to 12.30pm, where the hosts cover everything from politics and cooking to entertainment and real-life stories from the comfort of the famous “This Morning” sofa.
Phillip Schofield, “This Morning’s” main anchor until two weeks ago, started his career as a children’s TV presenter alongside a furry glove-puppet called Gordon the Gopher on BBC kids show “The Broom Cupboard.” He spent the next decade ascending through Tellyland, hosting everything from variety to game shows, including stints as a guest anchor on “This Morning.” In 2002 Schofield became a permanent fixture on the sofa after the show’s main presenter, John Leslie, was fired following accusations of sexual assault (later revealed to be a case of mistaken identity). As Schofield himself put it, it was thanks to Leslie’s “misfortune” that he was promoted to lead anchor alongside Leslie’s co-host Fern Britton.
Schofield and Britton would co-host the show together for the next seven years until they reportedly fell out, with some suggesting “Schofe” was involved in Britton’s 2009 exit and Holly Willoughby’s subsequent on-boarding.
Schofield is believed to have been instrumental in Willoughby landing the co-anchor job on “This Morning,” especially as the duo had already been working together on another ITV show, “Dancing on Ice,” for three years. At the time, Willoughby was viewed as a surprising choice: too glamorous and lacking in daytime TV experience. But her chemistry with Schofield ensured eyeballs – the duo often went viral for dissolving into giggles and once memorably arrived to host the show in eveningwear following an awards ceremony the night before – cementing Willoughby’s place as ITV’s golden girl. The duo were firm friends off-screen too, reportedly vacationing together alongside their families.
ITV’s CEO since 2018, McCall is fiercely protective of her talent. After Willoughby and Schofield were accused of queue-jumping during Queen Elizabeth II’s lying-in-state last year (see more on that below), McCall unequivocally said the duo were safe in their jobs and even took Domino’s Pizza to task for making light of the controversy on Twitter. She also personally texted the anchors to check they were OK following the furore. But thanks to Schofield’s recent bombshell, McCall’s own job is now looking increasingly precarious.
Other execs who are facing tough questions in the wake of Schofield’s departure are Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of media and entertainment since 2010, Emma Gormley, the network’s head of daytime since 2013 and “This Morning” editor Martin Frizell, who has worked on the show since 2016.
So What Actually Happened? A Timeline
In 2019, the British tabloids began reporting that relations had cooled between Schofield and Willoughby, whose long professional partnership was bolstered by their off-screen friendship, with suggestions that the male anchor was beginning to feel jealous of his younger counterpart.
In 2020, rumors began to spread online about Schofield’s relationship with a young male runner on “This Morning” but went unreported after ITV denied them. (ITV now say they investigated the rumors but couldn’t substantiate them). In Feb. 2020, Schofield (who had a wife and two children) came out publicly on the show with Willoughby by his side, clasping his hand for support, although there was no mention of the runner (whom Variety has agreed not to name at his request). Then the pandemic hit, eclipsing the story in the public’s mind for the next two years.
In Sept. 2022, the duo found themselves at the center of an extraordinary controversy after they were spotted in the VIP line at Queen Elizabeth II’s lying in state – unlike other celebrities, including their ITV stablemate Susannah Reid and soccer star David Beckham, who both queued with the public for more than 12 hours to pay their respects. With little other news aside from the Queen’s death, Schofield and Willoughby’s so-called “queue jump” preoccupied an increasingly furious public. “This Morning” issued a statement on Instagram claiming Willoughby and Schofield had entered the VIP line as part of a package they were filming for the show and Willoughby addressed the subject head-on when they next appeared on air (“Please know that we would never jump a queue,” she begged the audience) but according to reports, the uproar had irreparably damaged the duo’s once close friendship.
The anchors managed to soldier on for six months until it emerged Schofield’s younger brother Timothy was standing trial for sexual offences involving a child. In a written statement submitted during the trial, which took place at the end of March, Schofield said Timothy had confessed his crimes to the anchor in 2021, to which Schofield had responded: “Never do it again.” British tabloids suggest Willoughby had been blindsided by the news and was angry at her co-host for withholding it from her until shortly before the trial.
Schofield stayed off air for three weeks during and immediately after the trial (Timothy was found guilty); Willoughby did not explain his absence to viewers. When Schofield finally returned to the show on April 17, Willoughby was not by his side. She claimed she was recovering from shingles, requiring her to take the week off work.
Schofield and Willoughby finally reunited on screen on April 24 amid reported tension, which grew exponentially alongside tabloid speculation about the duo’s future together on the show.
On May 19 Schofield’s brother Timothy was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The following day, a Saturday, the anchor announced he was stepping down from “This Morning” – and made it clear resigning had not been his choice. “I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on,” he said in a statement.
As a sweetener, ITV entertainment boss Kevin Lygo praised Schofield and promised he would still present the British Soap Awards (set to air on June 3 on ITV) and an untitled “peak time” ITV series.
Willoughby was believed to be due back on air the following Monday but instead stayed away for the week while guest hosts Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond (the frontrunner to replace Schofield) filled in, giving the furore a chance to die down.
Then, on May 26, Schofield dropped a bombshell when he gave a statement to the Daily Mail in which he admitted carrying on an “unwise but not illegal” romance with the runner. The Mail claimed the runner had been 15 when he’d first met Schofield (although the anchor maintains a romantic relationship didn’t start until later) and that it was Schofield who helped the runner get a role on “This Morning” when he was 19 years old.
Schofield’s bombshell immediately saw him dropped by both his agency, YMU (with whom he was also very close; one of his daughters works there) and ITV. Both companies – and Willoughby – said they had questioned Schofield about his relationship with the runner and he had repeatedly denied it. In his statement to the Mail, Schofield admitted he had “lied” to everyone about the relationship.
Inevitably, however, Schofield’s ITV colleagues – including CEO Carolyn McCall – are facing questions about how much they really knew. Photographs have emerged of the runner on stage alongside Schofield, Willoughby and other senior members of the “This Morning” team collecting an award at the National Television Awards in 2018 (in footage, the runner can be seen standing next to ITV’s head of daytime Emma Gormley). In other photographs, from Jan. 2020, he is seen speaking to Willoughby outside the same awards ceremony. The Daily Mail also got hold of a showreel, filmed on the “This Morning” set, in which the runner pretends to host the show before interviewing Schofield on the sofa.
“ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated,” the network said in a statement. “Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU. 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. Phillip’s statement yesterday [May 26] reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”
In a letter to U.K. culture secretary Lucy Frazer, which leaked on Wednesday evening, Carolyn McCall said the network had hired a lawyer to conduct an external review which would probe ITV’s “relevant processes and policies and whether we need to change or strengthen any.”
“Given Phillip’s admission of the extent of his deception the work will extend to cover any related issues that may emerge,” McCall added. “This work will be carried out as quickly as possible and we will be happy to share the outcome.”
Having parted ways with his agency, it seems that Schofield’s TV career is, at least in the short term, over. He has pulled out of presenting the British Soap Awards and, in his statement revealing the relationship, said he was resigning from ITV “with immediate effect” – meaning he will not return for the promised “peak time” series or to front “Dancing on Ice,” which he has co-hosted alongside Willoughby for almost two decades. Media figures speculate the anchor could make a comeback in the future but for now it’s too early to tell. So far Schofield is laying low other than posting a statement on Instagram defending “This Morning” after the show’s former on-screen medic, Dr Ranj Singh, accused it of having a “toxic culture.”
The situation is trickier for Willoughby, “This Morning” and ITV at large. Willoughby is reportedly determined to return to the show, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, and is due back on set next Monday. Meanwhile ITV’s regulation and policy director Magnus Brooke is set to appear before Parliament’s cross-party culture committee next Tuesday – ostensibly to talk about the Government’s draft Media Bill but he may well find himself having to field questions about Schofield too.
ITV has not yet offered up any executive heads on a plate to take the fall for the scandal although that may change after the network’s external review. With the screws being tightened, many are asking how long ITV’s top brass – and “This Morning” itself – can survive the fall out.
Holly Willoughby has said she felt “shaken, troubled and let down” over Phillip Schofield's behaviour as she made her first This Morning appearance since her co-host left the show. Schofield quit after admitting he lied about an “unwise, but not illegal” affair with a younger member of the show's staff.What has happened to This Morning on ITV? ›
ITV has said there are no plans to take its This Morning show off air after reports it could be axed over the Phillip Schofield controversy.What's the story on Phillip Schofield? ›
Phillip Schofield has said his "career is over" following a scandal over an affair with a younger male colleague - but insisted he did not groom him. The 61-year-old resigned from ITV last week and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an "unwise but not illegal" affair with the man.How much is Holly Willoughby worth? ›
Holly Willoughby Net Worth: How Much Is Holly Willoughby Worth? As of June 2023, Holly Willoughby has an estimated net worth of about £11 million. She has made such an amount from her career as a television presenter, and author.What is the Schofield scandal? ›
Co-host Phillip Schofield, 61, departed the show late last month, later revealing he had an affair with a junior colleague. Schofield's co-host Holly Willoughby returned to "This Morning" on Monday and said she had had a lot to process following Schofield's revelation.Why did Phillip Schofield step down? ›
Phillip Schofield has admitted having an affair with a "much younger" male ITV employee while he was still married and revealed he is stepping down from his role at the British Soap Awards.What did Phillip Schofield say? ›
Phillip Schofield has said he has "lost everything" and does not see a future for his career, in an emotional and frank interview with BBC News. After fleeing waiting paparazzi outside his house, he sat down with Amol Rajan to tell his side of the story.Who is replacing Phillip Schofield on This Morning? ›
Following Phillip Schofield's departure from This Morning, ITV has announced that Josie Gibson will be stepping into the presenter role.How much is Phillip Schofield worth? ›
How much is Phillip Schofield worth? Phillip Schofield has an impressive net worth of £9.5million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He has earnt this from appearing on our TV screens since the early 1980s, when he bagged his role on BBC children's TV as a presenter in the Broom Cupboard.Will Holly return to This Morning? ›
The TV presenter delivers an emotional statement after Schofield, 61, resigned from ITV last month over an affair with a younger colleague. Holly Willoughby has returned to This Morning for the first time since Phillip Schofield's departure.
Stacey Solomon takes the crown, earning £637,973.96
It seems Stacey Solomon isn't just popular for her former singing career and current role as a Loose Women panellist, but also as the number one, go-to mumfluencer!
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.What did Holly Willoughby do to lose weight? ›
Despite being healthy most of the time, she noted that comprise is key and regularly posts her favourite calorie-laden cheese fondues and champagne. Alongside her diet, Holly is believed to dabble in some extreme fat-burning classes, such as pilates, yoga and boxing.What outlaw carried a Schofield? ›
1921) Jesse James; last gun used, a 45 Schofield . , ca. 1921.What outlaws used a Schofield? ›
Because of the use by the military, the Schofield was wildly popular with lawmen of the time. Outlaws such as Jesse James, Bob Ford (used to kill Jesse) as well as Billy the Kid, John Wesley Hardin, Pat Garrett, Theodore Roosevelt, Virgil and Wyatt Earp were reported to carry the Schofield.Where did Schofield gun get its name? ›
3s were ordered in . 44 caliber by the Imperial Russian Army in 1871), and the "Schofield" model, named after Major George W. Schofield, who made his own modifications to the Model 3 to meet his perceptions of the cavalry's needs.Why has Philip Schofield left ITV? ›
Phillip Schofield quits ITV as he admits to lying about affair with younger This Morning colleague. Phillip Schofield has admitted to having an affair with a much younger man at ITV, who worked with him on This Morning.Did Holly and Phil fall out? ›
November 2021 – Willoughby refutes claims she ever had a rift with Schofield on Fearne Cotton's Happy Place podcast, stating: “I was watching from afar when you've got every person in the press saying that you and Phillip are having a 'tough time' and, meanwhile, you're great friends and there were no arguments.” She ...Do Holly and Phillip get on? ›
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.What's Philip Schofield doing now? ›
Alongside his work wife and best friend Holly Willoughby, Phillip fronts This Morning every Mondays to Thursdays. He and Holly also host ice skating show, Dancing on Ice, during the winter while Phillip's other TV credits have included All Star Mr & Mrs, The Cube and 5 Gold Rings.
Phillip Schofield: The Interview is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.What age is Phillip Schofield? › Has Philip Schofield had surgery? ›
Schofield had elective limited pars plana vitrectomy surgery, which he described as “pioneering and expensive”. In an Instagram post updating his fans, Schofield said: “These floaters have literally blighted my otherwise brilliant eyesight. For the first time in many years, right now, I'm looking at a clear blue sky.How much did Philip Schofield earn? ›
It is estimated that Schofield is worth between £8.6 million and £9.6 million. In addition to earning around £730,000 a year for his ITV work, the Sun also reports that he pocketed around £1.45 million for his 2020 book Life's What You Make It.Did Philip Schofield groom someone? ›
Philip Schofield denies grooming but extends 'greatest' apology to young colleague.What job does Molly Schofield do? ›
Despite her Father's recent departure, Molly still works as a senior talent manager as stated on her Linkedin profile. Her profile also reveals she started out as a PA at YMU in 2015 and was promoted to assistant talent manager less than a year later.When did Phillip Schofield turn GREY? ›
Bravely telling the world about his own experiences Schofield admitted: "I started to go grey when I was 16." Holly, as shocked as viewers, said: "You were 16? No!" But Phillip has regrets about how he handled the greying process as a younger man.What age was Schofield's lover? ›
The anonymous staffer met Schofield at 15 prior to taking on a role as an ITV production assistant when he turned 18, which is when the romance allegedly began. The story has sparked concern for the welfare of Schofield's young lover and outrage at his employer over what it should have done about the relationship.How do I sell my story to This Morning? ›
To share your story with This Morning, simply fill out the contact form on this page. One of our team will get back to you straight away if your story is suitable for TV or magazines. There is no obligation, and nothing will be used without your permission or consent.Why did Holly leave in Season 5? ›
Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) has been transferred back to her old branch in Nashua, New Hampshire after CFO David Wallace discovered her relationship with Michael Scott (Steve Carell). Michael and Darryl Philbin (Craig Robinson) help her move using Darryl's truck.
Evergreen shrubs, like holly and mahonia, may regenerate new leaves to replace the damaged foliage if injury was not severe enough to kill the underlying branches.What did Holly do before This Morning? ›
From 2008 to 2020, Willoughby was a team captain on the ITV2 comedy panel show Celebrity Juice. Her other television work includes The Xtra Factor (2008–2009), Text Santa (2011–2013, 2015), The Voice UK (2012–2013), Surprise Surprise (2012–2015), Play to the Whistle (2015–2017), I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!Who is the highest paid presenter on ITV? ›
1. Ant And Dec – £13m. Ant and Dec are reported to have signed a £40million, three-year deal with ITV. The multi-award winning pair rake in something like £35,000 a day - far in excess of anyone else on the list.Who is the most richest female? ›
There are 337 women on the 2023 World's Billionaires list, including a familiar face as the world's wealthiest. T he reign of Françoise Bettencourt Meyers continues.Who is the richest self-made woman in America? ›
Forbes is out with its 2023 list of America's Richest Self-Made Women, and three Dallas-Fort Worth high achievers made the cut. Building supply distributor Diane Hendricks nailed her spot at No. 1 on the list for the sixth year in a row, with a $15 billion net worth.What illness does Holly Willoughby have? ›
The duo both took some time off from the popular breakfast show this month and were replaced by presenters such as Josie Gibson and Craig Doyle. Holly told fans earlier this month that she had contracted the shingles and would not be working.What did Melissa Mccarthy use to lose weight? ›
Melissa Mccarthy's weight loss secret is that she used a weight loss pill along with a healthy diet and light exercise to shed 75 pounds. The pill, called AtraFen Weight Loss Aid, works as a fat burner and metabolism booster, which leads to slow and steady weight loss.What did Adele take for weight loss? ›
Spoiler: There was no magic diet fad involved. She lost weight over the course of two years by consistently lifting weights and doing circuit training. “My body has been objectified my entire career,” she said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021.Why did Holly cut her hair? ›
But opening up to subscribers to her wellness brand and website, WYLDE Moon, Holly has spoken at length about her decision to change up her hair. "I decided to start the year with a new hair cut... for that feeling of cutting away all the bad energy and starting a fresh," she typed in her latest newsletter.How much money is Phillip Schofield got? ›
How much is Phillip Schofield worth? Phillip Schofield has an impressive net worth of £9.5million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He has earnt this from appearing on our TV screens since the early 1980s, when he bagged his role on BBC children's TV as a presenter in the Broom Cupboard.
She called it quits in 2008. "Holly wanted very much to get married and have children and that wasn't in the cards for us," Hugh previously shared in a video for Playboy at the time. "I made a noble effort on the children's part of it. I was not prepared at this point to marry again."Does Holly still have her bunny tattoo? ›
Her final separation from the company came in April 2009, when she had her Playboy bunny tattoo removed. "I got it removed, because they stopped paying for the ad space," she joked with reporters at the time.How old was Holly when she dated her? ›
She became one of Hefner's girlfriends at age 21. They dated from 2001 to 2008.Does Phillip Schofield give to charity? ›
“He has since supported us on several campaigns, including Diamond Champions - a campaign to recognise the incredible contribution of Britain's older volunteers.” There is also a quote from Schofield: "I am very pleased to support the Royal Voluntary Service.Who will replace Phillip Schofield on This Morning? ›
Phillip announced he would be stepping down with 'immediate effect', while co-host Holly Willoughby will continue to present following a two week break. Alison Hammond and Dermott O'Leary have stepped into hosting duties, while Holly takes some time off for half term, and even shared a tribute to Phillip.