ITV investigated claims of an affair between Phillip Schofield and a younger male colleague, but both denied it.
The network claims that after rumours emerged about the relationship in 2020, it launched an investigation but could find no evidence to support the speculation.
According to Sky News, an ITV spokesperson said on Saturday (27.05.23): “Further to our statement last night, ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.
“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.
“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.
“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.”
ITV’s statement comes after Phillip sensationally resigned from the channel and was dropped by his agent after he admitted to lying about the affair.
The 61-year-old – who quit ‘This Morning’ amid intense scrutiny over his alleged strained relationship with co-host Holly Willoughby, 42 – was still married at the time of his fling.
Phillip said in a long statement issued to the Daily Mail on Friday (26.05.23): “I am making this statement via the Daily Mail to whom I have already apologised personally for misleading, through my lawyer who I also misled, about a story which they wanted to write about me a few days ago.
“The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them, and to many others about a relationship that I had with someone working on ‘This Morning’.
“I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at ‘This Morning’.
“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.
“That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.”
Phillip was still married to his wife Stephanie Lowe at the time of the affair.
He came out as gay in 2020, but remained faithful to his long-term partner.
Phillip added in his statement: “When I chose to come out I did so entirely for my own wellbeing. Nobody ‘forced’ me out.”
And he insisted about not taking legal action to try and stop the story of his affair previously emerging: “Neither I nor anyone else, to my knowledge, has ever issued an injunction, super or otherwise, about my relationship with this colleague, he was never moved on or sacked by or because of me.
“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 went on: “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.”