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UPDATED: ITV presenter Phillip Schofield has been dropped by his agents at YMU Group.
The parting of ways with YMU comes as Schofield confirmed to the Daily Mail that he had an affair with a younger male staffer at ITV while he was still married. (The presenter came out as gay in February 2020 and is now estranged from his wife.) He has now resigned from ITV “with immediate effect” and has also pulled out of hosting the British Soap Awards in June.
In a lengthy statement, Schofield said: “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.”
YMU confirmed to Variety on Friday that it has “parted company” with Schofield, who last week stepped away from his hosting duties on ITV’s “This Morning” after 21 years on air. The presenter’s exit followed ongoing rumors of a rift with co-host Holly Willoughby that were linked to his younger brother’s trial for sexual assault.
Timothy Schofield was found guilty of 11 charges related to sexually assaulting a child between 2016 and 2019, and was last week jailed for 12 years. During the trial, the court heard that Timothy Schofield had confessed his crimes to his older brother two months before criminal proceedings started, to which the presenter had replied: “I don’t want you to tell me any more…You’ve got to stop, just never do it again. Regardless how that happened, it must never happen again.”
Tabloid reports suggested that Willoughby was upset that Schofield had not discussed the matter with her, though she hasn’t directly addressed their backstage problems. The alleged falling-out between the pair came as a shock to fans given their close bond outside of work. Willoughby also supported Schofield when he came out as gay on the show in 2020, writing on Instagram, “Never been more proud of my friend than I am today.”
In its statement, YMU suggested that it had recently learned “new information” about Schofield that led them to sever ties with their long-term client. The agency didn’t provide further detail, but news of Schofield’s admission of the affair broke within the hour in the Daily Mail.
Mary Bekhait, Group CEO of YMU Group, said: “Honesty and integrity are core values for YMU’s whole business, defining everything we do. Talent management is a relationship based entirely on trust.
“This week, we have learned important new information about our client Phillip Schofield. These facts contradicted what Phillip had previously told YMU, as well as the external advisors we had brought in to support him. As a result, on Thursday we agreed to part company with Phillip, with immediate effect.”
In a statement shared with Variety via his legal representatives, Schofield said: “It is with the most profound regret that after 35 years of being faultlessly managed by YMU I have agreed to step down from their representation with immediate effect.”
Schofield has been replaced on “This Morning” by Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond. Willoughby will remain on the program, though she’s taking a short break until returning in early June.
Read Schofield’s full statement below:
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.
When I chose to come out I did so entirely for my own wellbeing. Nobody ‘forced’ me out. 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.
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.
I have therefore decided to step down from the British Soap Awards, my last public commitment, and am resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me. I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.
To protect his privacy, I am not naming this individual and my deepest wish is that both he and his family can now move on with their lives free from further intrusion, and that this statement will enable them to do so. I ask the media now to respect their privacy. They have done nothing wrong, and I ask that their privacy should be respected.