ITV ‘investigated’ rumours of Phillip Schofield’s relationship with younger employee
ITV has confirmed that the broadcaster investigated “rumours” of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and a younger, male employee in 2020 but both “repeatedly denied” it.
Schofield quit all work with ITV after admitting to lying to his colleagues, friends, talent agency YMU and the media about an affair with a junior colleague in an explosive statement on Friday (26 May).
The 61-year-old former This Morning presenter said that he met the man he had an extramarital affair with “when he was teenager and was asked to help him get into television” and after the unnamed man started work on ITV’s beloved breakfast talk show, “it became more than a friendship”.
He described the relationship as “unwise, but not illegal”.
Schofield stepped down from presenting This Morning on 20 June after more than 20 years in the role.
TV personality Eamonn Holmes, who previously fronted This Morning in partnership with his wife, Ruth Langsford, claimed on Saturday (27 May) that ITV management did know about Schofield’s relationship.
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“Schofield has finally been caught out … But he’s not the only guilty party,” Holmes tweeted.
“Four 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.”
Now, ITV has confirmed that the channel did investigate rumours of the affair between Schofield and the unnamed employee in 2020 – the year that Schofield publicly came out as gay – but they did not find “any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour”.
An ITV spokesperson said: “Further to our statement last night, 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.
“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 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.”
Schofield’s former talent agency of 35 years, YMU, has cut ties with the presenter following his admission that he had an affair and lied about it.
Mary Bekhait, the Group CEO of YMU Group, said: “Honesty and integrity are core values for YMU’s whole business, defining everything we do.”
Bekhait also said that the revelations in Schofield’s statement on Friday contradicted what he had previously told the agency.
Phillip Schofield will now no longer present the British Soap Awards next month or front a new peak-time series for ITV.
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