Holly Willoughby will return to present This Morning next week and “carry on like the professional she is”.
She is due to return to the show on Monday, June 5th, having taken an early holiday after news of Phillip Schofield’s departure emerged.
Schofield (61) resigned from British broadcaster ITV on Friday and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a younger male colleague.
On Wednesday, a source told The Sun of Willoughby: “She has made it clear she was one of the people Phil lied to and she has nothing to hide.
“She will return to This Morning as planned on Monday and carry on like the professional she is.
“Holly has been affected by Phil’s actions and it has been very difficult. She is devoted to This Morning, however, and will continue to do the best job she can for them.”
On Saturday, Willoughby wrote on Instagram that it had “taken time to process yesterday’s news” following Schofield’s statement, adding: “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.”
Willoughby’s return comes as This Morning has been plagued by allegations of “toxicity” since Schofield’s exit, with Eamonn Holmes alleging there was a “total cover-up” over the Schofield affair.
The show’s former resident doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, also hit out at the show’s “toxic” culture, saying 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 bosses are expected to appear before MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, where the issue of Schofield’s conduct could be raised.
The session is expected to focus on scrutiny of the forthcoming Media Bill, with SNP MP John Nicolson – a committee member – writing on Twitter: “The issues erupting around ITV have been a cause for concern.
“I look forward to getting some answers from ITV bosses.”
Carolyn McCall, ITV’s chief executive, could be among those to face questioning next week from MPs, The Times reports.
Schofield’s relationship took place while the TV star was still married to wife Stephanie Lowe and before he came out publicly as gay.
In an Instagram post earlier on Monday, Schofield hit back at critics, saying that there was “no toxicity” on This Morning.
Referring to those comments, Holmes, who previously presented ITV’s flagship daytime show on Fridays with wife Ruth Langsford, instead accused Schofield of “toxicity” adding: “But, my friend, the toxicity is not with me, Dan Wootton or anyone else. The toxicity is with you.”
On Tuesday, the Prince’s Trust charity dropped Schofield as an ambassador, saying it is “no longer appropriate” to work with him.
A Prince’s Trust spokesperson said: “In light of Phillip’s recent admissions, we have agreed with him that it is no longer appropriate to work together.”
Schofield is in a group photo that is still on the charity’s website and features the King and other celebrity ambassadors.
ITV also said it was “deeply disappointed” by his “admissions of deceit” but it had not found “any evidence beyond hearsay and rumour” about the relationship in its own investigation.
On Saturday, a 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.”
When This Morning aired on Monday, hosts Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond and contributor Gyles Brandreth appeared to defend the show from the toxicity allegations.
Schofield had presented This Morning since 2002, with Willoughby joining the programme in 2009.
The pair’s friendly relationship and informal nature on the programme resulted in viral segments and industry recognition, including multiple National Television Awards.