Holly Willoughby shares statement as she returns to This Morning for first time
| Last updated
Holly Willoughby has shared a statement during her first episode presenting This Morning about the departure of her longtime co-presenter and friend Phillip Schofield.
Last week it was confirmed Holly would be back today (5 June) alongside Josie Gibson.
Holly said it was ‘very strange’ sitting on This Morning without Phillip. She addressed viewers and said she also felt ‘shaken, troubled, let down’ by the controversy.
Addressing Phillip’s departure, the 42-year-old said: “You, me and everyone gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth – who acted in a way that they themselves felt that they had to resign from ITV and step down from a career that they loved. That is a lot to process.”
She addressed the desire to ‘heal for the health and wellbeing for everyone,’ as she emotionally read a pre-written statement.
Holly and Josie shared a hug afterwards before carrying on with the rest of the show.
The ITV star has been absent from the show for the last two weeks during the half term break.
During this time, the hit ITV morning show has been the subject of controversy after Schofield admitted to having a consensual affair with a young employee.
He went on to state that the relationship has been ‘unwise, but not illegal’ and stated that the affair was ‘now over’.
Following Phillip's departure from the show after more than two decades on the air and during Holly's holiday, Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary took over presenting duties and delivered an awkward tribute to Phillip days before he confirmed rumours about an affair in a press statement.
Last week, Phillip gave his first bombshell interview about his departure from This Morning and ITV as well as the state of his friendship with his former bestie Holly.
The pair had always been as thick as thieves and were loved by many for being real-life pals, with some of their greatest moments including turning up to the This Morning set wearing their National Television Awards outfits from the night before back in 2016.
However, the dad-of-two recently confessed he no longer speaks to Holly, seemingly marking the end of an era for the former golden couple of daytime TV.
Amid the fallout from Phillip's affair with a younger colleague, he also apologised to his former co-host.
In a new interview with The Sun, the 61-year-old admitted that they are no longer in contact, despite his apology, with Holly distancing herself from him.
“I’ve lost my best friend. I let her down [Holly]. I let that entire show down. I let the viewers down,” he shared.
“Holly did not know [about the romance]. And she was one of the first texts that I sent, to say, ‘I am so, so sorry that I lied to you’.”
Days before Phillip sensationally quit This Morning, the pair were rumoured to be feuding behind the scenes.
The former presenter added that Holly didn’t respond to his texts and that he understood why she remained silent.
“She didn’t reply and I understand why she didn’t reply, as well. If anyone is in any way linking Holly to this; that is absolutely, wholly untrue,” he said.
“I had no feud with Holly. She is my TV sister. But quite rightly, when I am in the middle of a s**t show with bad press over something where I have done nothing wrong - in fact, I did everything right - it’s a witch hunt. And that strips that [friendship] away.
"Quite rightly, she is going to take a step back and think, ‘I have to step back from this’, and I understand that completely."