Phillip Schofield and the This Morning affair: A timeline of events

The star left ITV after admitting to an extramarital relationship with a younger colleague.

PA Reporters
Friday 02 June 2023 20:34 BST
(Ian West/PA)
(Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

Phillip Schofield’s fall from grace has been swift. The veteran TV star, who admitted to an affair with a much younger male colleague while still married to his wife, has lost his high-profile job on This Morning, his lucrative contract with ITV and his talent representation.

Here is a timeline of how events unfolded:

February 2020: Schofield comes out as gay after nearly 27 years of marriage to wife Stephanie, in an emotional on-air chat with co-host and long-time friend Holly Willoughby. The pair embrace on the sofa.

September 2022: The co-hosts face criticism over claims they skipped the queue for Queen Elizabeth II’s lying in state while attending as members of the media to film a segment for This Morning.

April 17 2023: The first hint something might be wrong comes in the first show after the Easter break. Schofield and Willoughby should both be on the sofa after he took leave while his brother Timothy was on trial for child sex offences. While Schofield is back in the studio, Willoughby is absent, saying she has shingles.

May 10: The Sun reports the pair are “barely speaking”.

May 11: Schofield calls Holly “his rock” and says they are “the best of friends”.

May 15: The pair put on a united front on This Morning and make no reference to stories in the press about their relationship.

May 18: Schofield presents what will turn out to be his last episode of This Morning.

May 20: Schofield steps down from This Morning with immediate effect. ITV says he will continue to present “peak time shows”, including The British Soap Awards and a new prime-time series. Willoughby releases a statement saying the sofa “won’t feel the same without him”.

May 21: It is announced that Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond will host the show on Monday May 22, as Willoughby takes early half-term leave. It is announced she will return to hosting duties on June 5.

May 22: O’Leary and Hammond host the show and hail Schofield as “one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had”.

May 26: Schofield admits to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a much younger male colleague and resigns from ITV. He confirms the relationship began while he was still with his wife and says he will not be hosting the British Soap Awards, his last public commitment. He apologises for lying about the relationship. He is dropped by his talent agency YMU.

May 27: Willoughby accuses Schofield of lying to her about the affair, saying his admission is “very hurtful”. ITV says the broadcaster was “not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour” when it looked into the matter in 2020.

May 28: Former This Morning resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh says the show is “toxic”, adding he raised concerns about “bullying and discrimination” two years ago when he worked there and afterwards felt like he was “managed out” for whistleblowing. ITV responds by saying an external and independent adviser was appointed to carry out a review after the complaint, which found “no evidence of bullying or discrimination”.

May 29: Schofield releases a statement denying “toxicity” at This Morning and says “it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice”. Former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes alleges there was a “total cover-up” at ITV over the affair and, in an interview on GB News, says Willoughby should follow Schofield “out the door”.

May 31: In a letter, seen by the PA news agency, ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall says the broadcaster has instructed a barrister to conduct an external review of how it has handled Schofield’s affair. She adds that Jane Mulcahy KC, of Blackstone Chambers, will “carry out an external review to establish the facts”.

June 1: Dame Carolyn has been called to give evidence to a parliamentary committee on June 14 to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling after the departure of Schofield.

The Sun publishes an interview with Schofield in which he says he is sorry to Willoughby but owes his “greatest apology” to his former lover. He reiterates that he did not “groom” the man, and that although his wife was “very, very angry” about the affair, his daughters have been “guarding” him during the fallout.

June 2: The BBC airs its own interview with Schofield, conducted by media editor Amol Rajan. Schofield says he has “lost everything” and the affair has had a “catastrophic effect” on his mind. Speaking about the criticism he has faced he says he can see “nothing ahead” except “blackness and sadness” and now speaks about his career in television “in the past tense”. Schofield also urges the media to leave the younger man alone.

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