Age of young ITV employee Phillip Schofield had affair with revealed

  • 28/05/2023
Phillip Schofield.
Phillip Schofield. Photo credit: Getty Images

The young ITV employee that former New Zealand TV star Phillip Schofield had an affair with was just 15 years old when the pair first met.

The former host of ITV daytime show This Morning admitted on Friday (UK time) to the relationship with his younger colleague while still married. Schofield said earlier the relationship with his junior colleague was "unwise but not illegal".

Now, the Mail on Sunday has reported that the pair met after the veteran presenter gave a talk at a theatre school while the boy was 15 years old and Schofield was in his 40s. The affair didn't start then.

At the time, the schoolboy reportedly asked Schofield for a job, for which he arranged an interview for. The boy was employed as an ITV production assistant when he turned 18, the Mail on Sunday said, and the affair began some time afterwards.

Schofield's This Morning co-host of 14 years Holly Willoughby has claimed he lied to her about his affair. 

Taking to Instagram, she wrote a short statement saying "it's taken time" to process the news.

"When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not," she said. 

"It's been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie."  

How the saga started

The saga started when Schofield left his role at This Morning last week after reports of a rift with Willoughby. But a few days later, he admitted to lying to ITV, his agent, his lawyer, and his family about the affair.

"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," Schofield said in an earlier statement to the Daily Mail

"That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.

"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."

He also added he was "so, very, very sorry" for being unfaithful to his wife Stephanie Lowe.

Phillip Schofield.
Phillip Schofield. Photo credit: Getty Images

An ITV spokesperson said they were "deeply disappointed by the admissions of deceit" made by Schofield and confirmed it had cut all ties with the host.

The affair was an "open secret" 

Questions have now been raised about how the affair went unnoticed for so long, with ITV's chief executive Carolyn McCall coming under increasing pressure to explain.

There are reports the affair was an "open secret" but ITV said it investigated the allegations "several times" from early 2020 but didn't find any evidence. 

"Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours, as did Phillip's then agency YMU," an ITV spokesperson said. 

"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." 

In an opinion piece published on Daily Mail earlier on Sunday, UK-based New Zealand journalist Dan Wootton said he and others in the media knew about the affair in 2019. 

Wootten said that in November 2019, he'd just left his job as a showbiz presenter on ITV's The Lorraine show. He wrote his departure was "complicated".

While he was then offered a new contract for 12 months, there were two conditions with it that Wootten said he "wasn't prepared to accept".

"First: Any form of reporting on the then-developing Phillip Schofield scandal will get you immediately taken off air (he'd already tried to have me sacked multiple times, by this point)," Wootten said.

"Second: I would have to stop any negative commentary about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Again, that was a non-negotiable for me, given within two months I would break the story of Megxit and all the ramifications that followed for the Royal Family."

Wootten said he declined the offer and continued reporting on the "growing civil war at This Morning".

Martin Daubney, a This Morning contributor for six years from 2013, told GB News he was "surprised" the affair wasn't revealed earlier.

"I considered myself close to Phil and Holly and all I will say is that these rumours have been long going around and the only thing I'm surprised about is that it's taken so long for it to come out. This story has much, much more legs."

There have been predictions that McCall - who has led This Morning's broadcast since 2018 - would be gone "in a matter of days".