Phillip Schofield has admitted having an affair with a “much younger” male ITV employee while he was still married, he said in a statement. The former This Morning host, who resigned from the role last week, also revealed he is stepping down from presenting the British Soap Awards.
The statement, which was released via a major newspaper daily said the man, who is now a public figure, did not want the relationship to be made public. The affair took place before Mr Schofield publicly came out as gay on This Morning three years ago, and while he was still married to his wife Stephanie Lowe.
Schofield said he and the man began a relationship that was more than a friendship, which he defines as “unwise but not illegal".
He also admitted to lying about the relationship to ITV, his coworkers, friends, and his YMU agents. He also lied to the daily on Sunday, which ran the story earlier this month, and apologised profusely today.
The statement read: “I am making this statement via the Daily Mail to whom I have already apologised personally for misleading, through my lawyer who I also misled, about a story which they wanted to write about me a few days ago.
“The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them, and to many others about a relationship that I had with someone working on This Morning. I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.
“Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.
“When I chose to come out I did so entirely for my own wellbeing. Nobody ‘forced’ me out. Neither I nor anyone else, to my knowledge, has ever issued an injunction, super or otherwise, about my relationship with this colleague, he was never moved on or sacked by or because of me.
“In an effort to protect my ex-colleague I haven't been truthful about the relationship. But my recent, unrelated, departure from This Morning fuelled speculation and raised questions which have been impacting him, so for his sake it is important for me to be honest now.
“I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family. I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.
“I have therefore decided to step down from the British Soap Awards, my last public commitment, and am resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.
“I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it. To protect his privacy, I am not naming this individual and my deepest wish is that both he and his family can now move on with their lives free from further intrusion, and that this statement will enable them to do so.
“I ask the media now to respect their privacy. They have done nothing wrong, and I ask that their privacy should be respected.”
Schofield also disclosed that he has left ITV despite the fact that the station had promised him a prime-time show. He further stated that he will not be presenting the British Soap Awards next week, a position he has held since 2006. He has parted ways with his YMU management team after 35 years.
Schofield's departure from This Morning after weeks of speculation about a rift between him and co-host Holly Willoughby. After his brother Tim Schofield was found guilty of engaging in sexual conduct with a child, rumours of underlying issues between the two started to circulate.