Phillip Schofield claims he 'understands how Caroline Flack felt' after This Morning departure
has given his first set of media interviews since his departure from the ITV daytime show and his revelation that he had an affair with a younger male colleague in comments made in May.
a statement issued to
The Daily Mail
last week, the broadcaster confirmed he had a “consensual on-off relationship” with the individual and while it was “unwise”, it was “not illegal” and is “now over”.
“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,” he said.
When asked by
if he “groomed” the young co-worker, Schofield – who
vaped during the interview
– said he “did not” and that there were “accusations of all sorts of things”.
A lengthier conversation, though, came in the form of a 45-minute long interview with the BBC’s Media Editor, Amol Rajan, which aired on Friday.
If you’re in a hurry, here’s the key lines from the powerful interview.
1. “I understand how Caroline Flack felt”
With Rajan starting the discussion by asking Schofield how he was, Schofield referenced the late ITV presenter who
died by suicide in February 2020
following intense tabloid coverage of her life.
She had been charged with assaulting her boyfriend after an altercation in December 2019, and left her role presenting the ITV2 reality show
Schofield said: “Last week, if my daughters hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here. They guarded me and wouldn’t let me out of their sight.
“It’s like a weird numbness. I know that’s a selfish point of view, but you come to a point where you just think, ‘how much are you supposed to take?
“’If all of those people who write all of that stuff, do they ever think that there’s actually a person at the other end?’”
2. “Do you want me to die?”
In further comments about the “relentless” remarks made about him online and in the media, Schofield said: “If you don’t think that is going to have the most catastrophic effect on someone’s mind… Do you want me to die?
“Because that’s where I am. I have lost everything.
“My girls saved my life … Last week, they haven’t left me for a moment. They’ve been by my side every moment, because they’re scared to let me out of their sight.
“They said to me, ‘don’t you dare do this on our watch. We’re supposed to be looking after you.’
“If my girls hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here, because I don’t see a future. And so how much do you want a man to take?
“And this is how Caroline Flack felt, and it didn’t stop.”
3. His message to Holly Willoughby
On the same day he “put the statement up” – suggesting it was the one posted to his Instagram Story announcing his departure from
, rather than the one to the
– Schofield wrote to his former co-presenter on WhatsApp.
He said: “I know you can’t reply, or you’re probably not allowed to, but please know that I am so desperately, desperately sorry.”
He added that she did not reply to the message, said he did not see their relationship as broken and that he does not “have a problem with Holly at all”
4. The “homophobia” behind the scrutiny
Referring to “new friends” he has made off the back of the scandal, Schofield revealed one “very prominent public figure” phoned him to say they had “never seen such homophobia in my life”.
He continued: “If it’s a gay relationship, then suddenly it raises eyebrows. It’s wrong. People do find each other attractive in different age groups.”
The broadcaster said the fact it has become “so massive” is “predominantly homophobic” and that he has become a “victim of hate”.
5. “We were mates”
Explaining why he agreed to the BBC interview, Schofield said: “There is an innocent person here who didn’t do anything wrong, who is vulnerable, and probably feels like I do.”
He confirmed he was paying for legal advice for the unnamed younger man, and last spoke to him a “couple of weeks” ago to instruct lawyers for him.
The individual – who was 15 at the time - was followed by Schofield on Twitter following a visit to the school, and the presenter said “there has not been any whiff of impropriety” on the social media platform, where he follows more than 11,000 people.
He went on to add that the man was 20 when Schofield first had sexual contact with him.
“He’d been working with the show for a few months and we became mates – we were mates, around the studios, we hung out together.
“And then, in my dressing room one day, something happened … It happened maybe four or five times over the next few months.
“We weren’t boyfriends, we weren’t in a relationship,” Schofield said, and went on to say he did not love him.
6. “I’ve never abused my power in any way”
When asked by Rajan if what was “morally wrong” about the situation was that there was an “abuse of power”, Schofield replied to say he has “never abused my power in any way” and that he is “not a bully”.
The conversation soon moved to the work environment at ITV and
comments made by Dr Ranj Singh
, at which point the presenter stressed: “There is no toxicity, there is no bullying, there is no discrimination at
“All I see are angry people shouting about a show they’re not on anymore.”
Schofield also denied the young man frequently came to his flat and that
claims from Eamonn Holmes
that he was taxied from the presenter's home are “utterly untrue”.
”He came to the flat once. To my recollection, he didn’t stay over.
“He said he was passing. He came for a beer,” he said.
7. “The lie got too big”
After Rajan questioned why the scandal has come out now, Schofield said: “It got too big. The lie got too big for both of us.”
He added it was his “biggest, sorriest secret”.
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