Phillip Schofield claims backlash to affair with ‘much younger’ colleague is homophobic

Phillip Schofield

Former This Morning host Phillip Schofield has suggested that the backlash to his affair with a younger colleague would not be as intense if he were heterosexual.

Last month, the ITV presenter sensationally left his role hosting This Morning, alongside Holly Willoughby, before admitting that he had embarked on a consensual and “unwise, but not illegal” affair with a runner on the show.

Schofield, 61, confirmed they first met when the man was 15 and still at school, and had later helped him get a job on This Morning.

In two new interviews, with The Sun and the BBC, he strenuously denied allegations that he had groomed the boy, stating that he felt no “sexual attraction” when the pair first met, and that their relationship only became sexual once the man had turned 20. 

Lawyers representing Schofield and the unnamed man have confirmed this account.

Phillip Schofield
Phillip Schofield told the BBC’s Amol Rajan that his career was over.

During his interview with The Sun, Schofield suggested that the reaction to his affair would not have been as explosive if it were not for the fact that he is gay.

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He insisted that there was “homophobia” in the backlash, and compared the situation to that of Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio, who, in his late forties, has predominantly dated women in their early twenties.

“Attraction is attraction. It’s no different in the gay world [to] the heterosexual world or in the lesbian world,” he said in the emotional interview. “There shouldn’t be a difference. This is where homophobia comes in.

“We did first meet when he was 15, I visited the drama school (he attended).

“So yeah, there’s a difference. It’s accepted [with] Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s not accepted if it’s in the gay world,” he added.

While Schofield again denied allegations of illegality and grooming in the BBC interview, he agreed that he “did something very wrong [and] should have known better”.

He told the BBC’s Amol Rajan: “I see nothing ahead of me but blackness and sadness, regret, remorse and guilt,” he said, saying that he has had “lost everything” and had suicidal thoughts over the past week, with his daughters not having left his side.  

“I did something very wrong, and lied about it consistently,” he admitted.

Schofield also urged that the other man involved in the affair be left alone, stating that “he is an innocent party” who “did nothing wrong”.

He added: “I was older, I should have known better. [The affair] was consensual, but it was my fault.”