‘I am not a groomer’: 8 key takeaways from Phillip Schofield’s bombshell interview

Phillip Schofield gets emotional in an interview with The BBC following a scandal about an affair he had with a younger male colleague on This Morning.

Phillip Schofield has given bombshell interviews to the BBC and The Sun about the affair with a younger male colleague that brought about his downfall.

The television presenter sensationally quit ITV’s This Morning after two decades at the helm following rumours that he and co-host Holly Willoughby were no longer speaking. 

Less than a week later, Phillip Schofield admitted that he had had a “consensual” affair with a younger man following ardent speculation in both the mainstream media and on social media.

He has now spoken in detail about the affair and the fallout for the first time in two recorded sit-down interviews with the BBC and The Sun.

Here are some of the main takeaways.

1. Phillip Schofield rejects accusations he is a ‘groomer’

While Schofield admitted that he first met the boy when he was 15, he said they only embarked on a sexual relationship after he turned 20.

In an emotional BBC interview, Schofield vehemently denied there was any “sexual attraction” when he first met the man, who has not been named. 

ITV to hold external investigation into handling of Phillip Schofield affair
ITV to hold external investigation into handling of Phillip Schofield’s affair with a younger colleague. (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Schofield said he was paying for independent lawyers to represent the young man in question, and he said his statement – in which he described their relationship as “consensual” and “legal” – was approved by both of their representatives.

He added: “I am not a groomer.”

2. Schofield invokes Caroline Flack’s memory

In his interview with the BBC, Schofield alluded to the toll the controversy was taking on his mental wellbeing, stating: “I think… I understand how Caroline Flack felt.” 

He continued: “Last week if my daughters hadn’t been there then I wouldn’t be here.” 

Schofield said his daughters had refused to let him out of their sight after the scandal broke.

3. He wants people to leave his former lover alone

While Phillip Schofield’s former colleague and lover has not been named by the media, there are identifying details in the public domain.

During his interviews, Schofield described the young man as an “innocent person” who did “nothing wrong”. 

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

He said he was “vulnerable” and urged people to “leave him alone”.

4. Their affair began after they became ‘mates’

Phillip Schofield acknowledged that he had followed the boy back on Twitter and interacted with him on the social media platform after meeting him at a drama school event.

When the man was 19, Schofield said he arranged for him to visit the This Morning studios and helped him get an interview.

It was after the man started working on the show that they became “mates”, he said.

“He’d been working at the show for a few months and we’d become mates… we’d go around the studios, hang out together, chat to each other, that sort of stuff. 

“And then in my dressing room one day something happened. Which obviously I will regret forever for him and for me. Mostly him.”

5. Phillip Schofield denies his younger colleague was his ‘boyfriend’

While Schofield admitted he and his younger colleague had engaged in a sexual relationship, he insisted they were never a couple.

What happened in his dressing room the first time happened “maybe four or five times over the next few months”, Schofield said.

Holly Willoughby Phillip Schofield
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield. (Getty/Karwai Tang)

He described his actions as “unforgivable”, but went on to say: “We weren’t boyfriends. We weren’t in a relationship. I was really in a mess with my own sexuality at the time and it just happened.”

6. He’s denied the existence of an NDA and says his former lover is free to speak out if he wants to

Schofield firmly denied speculation that his former colleague wasn’t speaking out publicly because he had been made to sign a non-disclosure agreement. 

“Did I make him sign an NDA? No, absolutely not.

“I mean what he wants is for all of this to go away. He wants a quiet life.”

7. He apologised to Holly Willoughby – but he never received a reply

Schofield said he sent a message to his former co-host Holly Willoughby on WhatsApp on the same day he admitted to having had an affair with his younger colleague.

He said he told Willoughby he was “desperately sorry” and that he knew she likely wouldn’t be able to respond.

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. (ITV)

Schofield confirmed he never received a response to that message.

The television presenter admitted to The Sun that his friendship with Willoughby had cooled, claiming his former co-host had distanced herself after his brother Timothy Schofield was convicted of sexual abuse.

He confirmed he no longer has any contact with Willoughby.

“I’ve lost my best friend. I let her down. I let that entire show down. I let the viewers down.”

He insisted he has no “feud” with Willoughby and went on to claim that he was the victim of a “witch hunt” that had stripped his friendship away.

8. Phillip Schofield compared his affair to Leonardo DiCaprio’s romances

Several times during his interviews, Schofield hit back at accusations of wrongdoing and illegality. At one point, he suggested that the backlash he is facing would be different if he were a straight man.

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

He acknowledged there was a “difference” in age between him and his former lover, adding: “It’s accepted by Leonardo Di Caprio, it’s not accepted if it’s in the gay world.” 

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