Holly Willoughby has said Phillip Schofield lied to her about his affair with a much younger male colleague.
Speaking for the first time since Schofield admitted having an “unwise, but not illegal” affair, his former This Morning co-presenter wrote on Instagram: “It has taken time to process yesterday’s news.
“When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not.
“It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie.”
On Friday, the veteran broadcaster quit ITV and admitted to having an affair with a colleague who worked on This Morning. Rumours of the relationship had first begun to circulate in 2020.
ITV said it had investigated – but both Schofield and the employee “repeatedly denied” the affair.
The broadcaster was forced to issue the statement after questions were raised over what network bosses knew about Schofield’s conduct.
Fellow former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes had said Schofield was “not the only guilty party” and claimed top management “knew what sort of man he was”.
Questions had also been raised about what Willoughby knew, something she has now hit back at with her statement.
Schofield, 61, left This Morning last week, amid reports his long-term friendship with Willoughby had come under strain.
The two have been open about their close friendship over the years, including sharing pictures on social media of them while on joint holidays with their families.
What ITV said
In response to mounting pressure on the broadcaster, 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 ‘deeply sorry’ for lying
In a statement on Friday, Schofield said he was “deeply sorry” for lying about the relationship.
It is understood the younger colleague, who is not a public figure, did not want the relationship to be made public.
The affair took place before Mr Schofield publicly came out as gay in 2020, and while he was still married to his wife, Stephanie Lowe.
In a damning statement, his former agents YMU Group said “honesty and integrity” were core values of their business and that their relationships are “based entirely on trust”.
They have since parted ways with Schofield.
Willoughby is set to return to This Morning on 5 June.