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By Noor Nanji
ITV made “considerable efforts” to find out the truth about rumours of Phillip Schofield’s relationship with a colleague in 2019, a review has said, but was unable to do so until he admitted it this year.
The former presenter left ITV after he admitted lying about the affair.
The network subsequently asked a barrister to lead a review into its handling of the relationship.
Neither Schofield nor the colleague participated in the review.
According to the report, Schofield “reluctantly declined” to take part in the review because of “the risks to his health”.
He suggested in an interview with the BBC in June that the controversy had left him feeling suicidal at the time.
Schofield’s mental health has since deteriorated, Jane Mulcahy KC said.
“ITV’s management made considerable efforts to determine the truth about an alleged relationship between PS (Schofield) and PX (the runner) following on from the publication of a story in The Sun newspaper in early December 2019,” the report said.
“However, in the face of the denials of the individuals involved, ITV was unable to uncover the relevant evidence until PS’s admission in late May 2023.”
The report recommended ITV set out “clear guidelines for its talent going forward to ensure that good behaviours are observed even by those who are household names.”
It also emphasised the importance of junior employees at ITV having the confidence to raise concerns to management in line with ITV’s Speaking Up policy.
ITV previously said it had investigated rumours of the relationship in 2020, but that both parties repeatedly denied it.
Schofield, 61, was also dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an “unwise but not illegal” affair.
ITV welcomed the report, adding that the barrister had found no evidence of a “toxic culture”.
Phillip Schofield presented This Morning opposite Holly Willoughby until his exit in May
Schofield left his role on This Morning in May following reports of a rift with his co-star Holly Willoughby.
Days later, the show was engulfed in scandal when Schofield confirmed he had had a relationship with a younger male employee, which took place while Schofield was still married to his wife Stephanie Lowe.
Schofield apologised for lying to his colleagues, the media and his friends and family about the affair, and left ITV with immediate effect.
In October, Holly Willoughby said she was quitting ITV show This Morning after 14 years “for me and my family”.
She had been absent from the daytime programme since earlier that month, when a man was charged with soliciting to commit murder over an alleged plot to kidnap the TV presenter.
SOURCE: BBC NEWS