Embattled ITV Anchor Phillip Schofield Breaks Silence Over Affair With PA: ‘I Did Not Groom Him’

Embattled ITV anchor Phillip Schofield – who dramatically quit the network last Saturday after admitting to an affair with a young employee on his show – has said he “did not” groom the PA in his first interview about the scandal.

Schofield, who spent two decades as the lead anchor on ITV’s daytime show “This Morning,” maintains that the relationship didn’t begin until the young man (whom Variety has agreed not to name at his request) was legally an adult. The man first began working on ITV show “This Morning” as an intern at the age of 19 (reportedly securing the internship with Schofield’s assistance) and was hired as a runner/PA the following year.

Asked directly about claims he groomed the PA, who reportedly first met Schofield when he was just 15 years old, the anchor replied: “I did not. I did not. I mean there are accusations of all sorts of things.”

In an interview with British tabloid The Sun, Schofield said: “He worked at the show for a bit, we became mates, and then one day something happened that just changed it. And that’s the moment I look back on.”

“I absolutely know, there is no question, I did a bad thing,” he continued. “Unprofessional. First time. I know. I know I did that. And there’s no excuse. I don’t have an excuse. I won’t put forward an excuse.”

“My biggest regret was getting into a relationship at work.”

Schofield also sat down for an interview with BBC News in which he again denied allegations of grooming and said his sexual relationship with the PA had only started when the man was 20 years old. Schofield did admit, however, that the affair started in his dressing room backstage at ITV.

The anchor, who admitted to the BBC his television career was likely over – “I am done,” he said. “I have to talk about television int he past tense which breaks my heart” – also said the media onslaught was having a profound effect on his mental health.

“It continues and it is relentless and it is day after day after day after day,” Schofield said. “And if you don’t think that that is going to have the most catastrophic effect on someone’s mind – do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am. I have lost everything.”

He also compared himself to Caroline Flack, the “Love Island” host who died by suicide in 2020 while awaiting to stand trial for assaulting her boyfriend. “This is how Caroline Flack felt,” he said.

Schofield, who is married with two children, stepped down from “This Morning” two weeks ago after reports surfaced he had fallen out with his long-time co-anchor Holly Willoughby. The duo, who were once so close they would vacation together with their families, had reportedly drifted apart over the last few years.

According to tabloids, the final nail in the coffin of their relationship was Schofield’s failure to warn Willoughby he was taking a leave of absence from the show while his younger brother Timothy stood trial for sexual offences against a child.

Schofield stayed off air for three weeks between March and April, during which the anchor gave evidence to the trial via a written statement. Timothy was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison two weeks ago. Schofield resigned from “This Morning” the following day, suggesting in a statement it had not been his decision but ITV’s.

One week later, as rumors grew to a crescendo about why he had left the show, Schofield dropped a bombshell statement admitting he had had an affair with the PA/runner.

In his interview with the Sun, Schofield – who has worked with Willoughby since they were first paired together for ITV show “Dancing on Ice” in 2006 – said he has not spoken to his co-anchor since texting her last week. “Last time we had a conversation was when I texted Holly and said ‘Don’t reply’ – this is after the statement last week – ‘Don’t reply, you’re probably not allowed to, but I’m deeply, deeply sorry that I lied to you,’” he told the Sun. “And I am. It was the one secret in our sanctuary that was never mentioned.”

Asked about that last communication between them by BBC News, Schofield confirmed that Willoughby did not reply to the message.

Although both Willoughby and ITV claim Schofield lied to them about his affair after they confronted him directly, questions are now being asked about whether more should have been done to ensure the PA’s welfare. ITV boss Carolyn McCall has been called to appear before the CMS committee later this month to answer questions about “safeguarding and complaint handling.”

When asked by the Sun to whom Schofield would offer his biggest apology, he replied: “To every single person I am deeply sorry. And I apologise to [the PA] because I should have known better.”

For a full timeline of the Schofield saga click here.

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