In the months leading up to his departure from This Morning, Phillip Schofield has faced a number of controversies.
On Saturday, it was announced the 61-year-old was stepping down from presenting the ITV talk show with “immediate effect” after more than 20 years on the programme.
However, he has been at the centre of numerous headlines recently due to reports of a rift with his long-time co-host Holly Willoughby, his brother’s sex abuse trial and furore over his visit to the late Queen’s lying in state.
Following press coverage that their relationship had come under strain, Schofield hailed Willoughby as his “rock” in a statement to The Sun.
He said: “As I have said before, Holly is my rock. We’re the best of friends – as always, she is an incredible support on screen, behind the scenes and on the phone.
“Holly has always been there for me, through thick and thin. And I’ve been there for her. The last few weeks haven’t been easy for either of us.”
Despite the speculation, the duo put on a united front during the show this week and made no reference to stories in the press about their relationship.
The reports came after Schofield took pre-planned leave from the ITV show around his brother’s sex abuse trial at Exeter Crown Court last month.
In a statement released by his lawyer after the guilty verdict, the former This Morning host said: “My overwhelming concern is and has always been for the wellbeing of the victim and his family. I hope that their privacy will now be respected.
“If any crime had ever been confessed to me by my brother, I would have acted immediately to protect the victim and their family.
“These are despicable crimes, and I welcome the guilty verdicts. As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a brother.”
The TV duo had presented the show together since 2009 and also co-host ITV’s Dancing On Ice.
ITV will make further announcements on the ice-skating competition’s presenting line-up in due course ahead of its return to screens in January 2024, the PA news agency understands.
Last September, TV pair Schofield and Willoughby also faced a backlash over claims they skipped the queue for the Queen’s lying in state.
Following an online outcry, the chief executive of ITV, Dame Carolyn McCall, said the pair had been “misrepresented” over the issue and stressed they had been attending as members of the media to film a segment for This Morning.
Following Schofield’s departure, ITV has said Willoughby will remain on the show and will “co-present with members of the This Morning family”.