Holly Willoughby returns to This Morning - but viewers think her Phillip Schofield statement was 'insincere'

Holly Willoughby returns to This Morning - but viewers think her Phillip Schofield statement was 'insincere'

Holly Willoughby address Phillip Schofield controversy for the first time on This Morning

This Morningpresenter Holly Willoughby returned to the sofa on Monday, for the first time since former co-host Phillip Schofield left the show in May after revealing he had an affair with a younger colleague.

Willloughby had previously only commented on the fallout on Instagram, with her initial statement following Schofield’s departure stating “the sofa won’t feel the same without him” after 13 years presenting the show together.

When the presenter later admitted to the “consensual on-off relationship” and having lied to “colleagues and friends”, Willoughby issued a follow-up statement in which she said it had “taken time to process” the news.

“When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and I was told it was not. It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie,” she said.

Now, returning from her half-term break, Willoughby opened Monday’s edition of the programme by asking viewers at home if they were OK, adding it “feels very strange indeed” presenting without Phil.

Appearing alongside Josie Gibson, she continued: “I imagine that you might have been feeling a lot like I have: shaken, troubled, let down, worried for the wellbeing of people on all sides of what’s been going on, and full of questions.

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“You, me, and all of us at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth, who acted in a way that they themselves felt that they had to resign from ITV and stepped down from a career that they loved.

“That is a lot to process, and it’s equally hard to see the toll that it’s taken on their own mental health.”

Willoughby’s comments come after Schofield gave an emotional interview to the BBC, in which he said he understood “how Caroline Flack felt” and if his daughters “hadn’t been there” for him amid the controversy, “I wouldn’t be here”.

She added: “I think what unites us all now is a desire to heal for the health and wellbeing of everyone. I hope that as we start this new chapter, and get back to a place of warmth and magic that this show holds for all of us, we can find strength in each other.”

Willoughby concluded by thanking viewers for their “kind messages”, before being hugged by Gibson who said “all we can do now is be the family that we are”.

Unfortunately, though, many Twitter users didn’t buy the statement, accusing the TV personality of “acting”, “insincerity” and reading a “scripted” response:

Willoughby’s comments follow a response by fellow This Morning presenter Alison Hammond last week after Schofield’s BBC interview, in which she said she “still love[s]” her former colleague.

“However, what he’s done is wrong, he’s admitted it, he’s said sorry," she said.

“As a family, we’re all really struggling to process everything."

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