Phillip Schofield admits he lied about relationship with junior colleague
Phillip Schofield has quit all work with ITV after admitting to having lied about a relationship with a younger, male This Morning colleague.
The presenter said that he covered up the relationship, which happened during his 27-year marriage to Stephanie Lowe, for years. He called it “unwise, but not illegal”.
Schofield, 61, stepped down from his role presenting ITV’s breakfast show This Morning on 20 May after more than 20 years.
In an explosive statement, delivered to the Daily Mail, Schofield admitted to lying about the relationship to ITV, his colleagues, friends and his talent agency, YMU, which has now parted ways with the presenter.
Schofield confirmed that he met the man “when he was a teenager and was asked to help him get into television” and after the unnamed man started work on This Morning, “it became more than a friendship”.
Schofield said that his decision to quit This Morning last Saturday was not related to his extramarital relationship. The presenter also claimed that his decision to publicly come out as gay in 2020 was unrelated, and that no one “forced” him to come out. He was still married to his wife, Stephanie Lowe, at the time the relationship was taking place. The pair separated after Schofield came out.
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An ITV spokesperson said they are “deeply disappointed by the admissions of deceit” and “feel badly let down”. ITV have confirmed that Schofield will no longer present the British Soap Awards next month or front a new peak-time series for the channel.
It has been a tumultuous year for Schofield, beset by rumours of a feud with former This Morning co-presenter Holly Willoughby. Both presenters were criticised online after they were accused of skipped the queue for the late Queen Elizabeth II’s lying-in-state. Schofield and Willoughby did not queue with members of the public, and were unfavourably compared to David Beckham, who did.
Schofield’s brother, Timothy Schofield, was convicted of sexually abusing a child in April, and sentenced on 19 May to 12 years on 11 counts of sexual offences against the boy between October 2016 and October 2019.
In a statement after the verdict, Phillip Schofield called his brother’s crimes “despicable” and disowned him, saying “I no longer have a brother”.
Mary Bekhait, the Group CEO of talent agency YMU, 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 advisers we had brought in to support him.
“As a result, on Thursday we agreed to part company with Phillip, with immediate effect.”
Full statement from Phillip Schofield
Phillip Schofield’s full statement is as follows: “I am making this statement via the Daily Mail to whom I have already apologised personally for misleading, through my lawyer who I also misled, about a story which they wanted to write about me a few days ago.
“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.
“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. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.
“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.
“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. I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.
“To protect his privacy, I am not naming this individual and 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.
“I ask the media now to respect their privacy. They have done nothing wrong, and I ask that their privacy should be respected.”
Schofield’s final appearance on This Morning was on Thursday 18 May.
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