This Morning won't be axed amid Schofield controversy, ITV asserts

Reporter Leyla Hayes explains why ITV has been forced to comment on the situation yet again

ITV has denied a report it will axe This Morning after the show's co-presenter, Philip Schofield, admitted having an affair with a much younger colleague.

On Friday, 61-year-old Schofield admitted to having an "unwise, but not illegal" affair with a man who worked with him on the popular daytime show. The relationship took place while the veteran presenter was still married to his wife, Stephanie Lowe. Lowe is also mother to Schofield's two daughters.

It is understood the younger man is not in the public eye and did not want their relationship to be known.

A couple of days after Schofield released his statement, tabloid newspaper The Sunday People reported that ITV plans to "axe" This Morning.

In response, the broadcaster released a statement saying: "As we said on the record yesterday, This Morning is not under review and there’s no plans for the show to be axed. This Morning will return as normal tomorrow."

Following Schofield's admission, ITV initially said it "did not find any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour" when it investigated claims of the affair. It said the rumours began to circulate in early 2020.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

“Phillip’s statement... reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to [his agency] YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship,” the broadcaster asserted.

Elsewhere, his co-presenter Holly Willoughby said it was "very hurtful" to find out Schofield, 61, had previously denied the affair to her.

In a statement posted on Instagram, the 42-year-old wrote: “It’s taken time to process yesterday’s news."

"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."

Willoughby and Schofield have worked together for over 15 years, beginning in 2006 when they presented ITV competition Dancing On Ice.

At the helm of This Morning, the duo became a staple of British daytime television. The show is currently being presented by temporary hosts, mostly Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary.

Willoughby is currently on a half-term break and is expected to return on June 5.

Schofield has also been dropped my his talent agency, YMU, following the announcement of the affair.

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The revelations come after the TV presenter faced months of controversy including reports of the rift with Willoughby, the furore over their visit to the late Queen’s lying-in-state, and his brother’s sex abuse trial.

Just a day before he stepped down from This Morning, Schofield’s brother Timothy, 54, was jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing a boy.

The TV presenter said “I no longer have a brother” following guilty verdicts in April.

Schofield married Stephanie Lowe in 1993 and they have two grown-up daughters together, Ruby and Molly.

After he came out in February 2020, in an emotional on-air chat with Willoughby, his wife told The Sun she supported his “brave step” and “always will” love him.