Holly Willoughby has addressed her co-host Phillip Schofield’s departure from This Morning today.
The pair have presented the hit ITV show together for years and had built a strong friendship, but rumours have swirling in recent weeks that their relationship has soured.
And today, Phillip Schofield confirmed that he is stepping down from This Morning after more than two decades presenting the hit programme, with immediate effect, The Manc reports.
The 61-year-old joined the ITV morning show in 2002 and has won numerous awards for his presenting work.
He had also taken several weeks off-air recently – some as pre-planned leave, and some while his brother, Timothy Schofield, faced trial for sexual abuse against a teenage boy. His brother has been sentenced to 12 years in jail.
Phillip said in his statement today that he felt ‘This Morning itself has become the story’ and said that he had agreed to step down to ‘protect the show that I love’.
Addressing his departure, Holly Willoughby then wrote that ‘the sofa won’t feel the same without him’.
Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Managing Director, Media and Entertainment said: “Phillip is hands down one of the best broadcasters of his generation and we thank him for his two decades worth of absolutely terrific television on the This Morning sofa.
“This Morning is made by one of the best and most diligent teams in television, who produce over 12 hours of live television each week.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Phillip starting with The British Soap Awards in June and a brand new peak time series to come.”
Phillip Schofield’s statement in full as he quits This Morning
“I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. 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.
“So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me – especially This Morning’s amazing viewers – and I’ll see you all for the Soap Awards next month.”
Holly Willoughby’s statement in full
“Hi everyone…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 humour.
“The sofa won’t feel the same without him.”
Featured image: ITV