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Beloved British Daytime Host Quits After Affair With 20-Year-Old PA

This Morning's Phillip Schofield denied grooming the younger man.

British talk show This Morning is at the center of a huge scandal following the news that longtime host Phillip Schofield engaged in a secret affair with an unnamed young production assistant. But that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the controversy, which also involves Schofield's friendship with his co-host Holly Willoughby, his brother's recent conviction for sexual abuse, and the fact that Schofield met the production assistant (PA) he was seeing when he was only 15 years old.

Schofield began hosting This Morning in 2002 alongside Fern Britton. In 2009, Britton was replaced by Willoughby, who had worked with Schofield on Dancing on Ice since 2006.

He quit This Morning two weeks ago and has since left its network, ITV, altogether. The 61-year-old just gave an interview hoping to clarify what happened and claims that he did not "groom" the man. Read on to find out more.

READ THIS NEXT: Rob Lowe Says Warren Beatty Had an Affair With His Girlfriend When He Was 18.

Schofield admitted to having an affair with a crew member.

Stephanie Lowe and Phillip Schofield at ITV Palooza 2018
Fred Duval / Shutterstock

In a statement to the Daily Mail on May 26, Schofield admitted that he had an affair with a colleague after there had been speculation about that possibility.

"I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning," he said. "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 a just a friendship. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over."

He noted in the statement that he had lied to his friends, colleagues, employers, and agents. He also said that he lied to his wife, Stephanie Lowe. The two separated in 2020, and Schofield came out as gay publicly the same year. In his statement, he explained that the affair occurred when he and Lowe were still together.

Schofield denied grooming the man.

Phillip Schofield the Cirque du Soleil "Kooza" VIP performance in 2013
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Schofield has denied that he groomed the man with whom he had the affair but admits to first meeting him when he was 15 and visiting a drama school.

Schofield told The Sun that the two became friends when the younger man was working on This Morning. (He started first as an intern at 19, and it's been reported that Schofield helped him get the job.) "Then one day something happened that just changed it. That is the moment I look back on, and regret so deeply," the host said. "It was in my dressing room in 2017, it was a consensual moment, it was mutual." At the time, the man was 20. The host said that what happened between them "was not a love affair, it was not a relationship, we were not boyfriends" and added, "[O]ver a period of time it happened maybe five or six times." He admitted thinking to himself, "This looks shocking," when he saw a photo that circulated of him with the man when he was a boy at the drama school.

Schofield told The Sun that his lies spiraled out of control and that his biggest apology is to the unnamed crew member. "I'm sorry. And I will forever be sorry. I will die sorry. I am so deeply mortified," he said.

He also expressed in an interview with the BBC that he had experienced suicidal thoughts amid the scandal. "Last week, if my daughters hadn't been there, I wouldn't be here," he said (via Deadline). "They've been by my side every moment because they're scared to let me out of their sight. It's like a weird numbness."

He previously quit the show but didn't say why.

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby at the 2018 Pride of Britain Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Prior to admitting the affair and cutting ties with ITV, Schofield stepped down from This Morning. On May 20, he said that he was leaving the show without giving a reason why.

"I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning, he wrote on Instagram (via Variety). "But recently, This Morning itself has become the story. Throughout my career in TV—including the very difficult last few days—I have always done my best to be honourable and kind. I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can't go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love."

He explained that he "agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect" but was still planning to host the Soap Awards in June. Since then, he has been replaced as host of the awards show.

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His brother was recently convicted of sexually abusing a minor.

Phillip Schofield at the 2022 Pride of Britain Awards
Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Schofield's exit from This Morning came after his brother, Timothy Schofield, was convicted of sexually abusing a child between 2016 and 2019. As reported by the BBC, Timothy denied 11 offenses but was found guilty on all charges. He has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Schofield said in court that his brother once began to describe to him an interaction with the teenager. "I shouted at Tim that he had to stop. I didn't want to know any of the details but he made it sound like a one-off," Schofield said, according to the BBC.

After the verdict, Schofield said, "As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a brother." He took time off from This Morning amid Timothy's trial in April.

There were rumors that he and Willoughby had fallen out.

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby at the 2019 National TV Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Some wondered if an issue in Schofield and Willoughby's working relationship may have played a role in his exit prior to him coming clean about the affair. The two had co-starred for years and also had a friendship off-screen, which reportedly included their families vacationing together.

But, after Schofield returned to the show following his time off for the trial, Willoughby was away for an additional week. She said that she was recovering from shingles, but her absence raised eyebrows as there were rumors of a rift between the hosts. According to Variety, there were reports that she wasn't warned that he'd be stepping away for the trial.

The two were in hot water together last year when it was believed that the had jumped the very lengthy line to see the late Queen Elizabeth II lie in state. The Guardian reported that ITV CEO Carolyn McCall defended the two hosts and claimed that they were accredited to skip the line, because they were producing a segment for the show.

However, skipping the line was considered in poor taste. Other celebrities were praised for waiting in the long line with other citizens, including soccer player David Beckham.

Willoughby said Schofield lying to her was "hurtful."

Holly Willoughby at the London premiere of "Frozen 2" in 2019
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

When Schofield first left This Morning, Willoughby said (via the Daily Mail), "It's been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humor. The sofa won't feel the same without him."

Following the reveal of his affair, she released a statement to the BBC, which reads, "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."

ITV has stated that it investigated the possible affair in 2020. "ITV can confirm that when rumors of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated," reads a statement from the network, according to Sky News. "Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumors as did Phillip's then agency YMU … 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." Variety reports that the network will now undergo an external review of its policies.

If you are or a loved one is struggling with suicide or depression, you can call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or visit

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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