Phillip Schofield ‘will not watch Holly Willoughby’s return to This Morning’

Phillip Schofield will not watch This Morning on Monday, fronted by his ex-co-presenter Holly Willoughby, as it would be too devastating for him, his friends have reportedly said.

Willoughby is expected to tell viewers of her sadness at the end of her 13-year screen partnership with Schofield, and that the long-running programme must go on.

Schofield resigned from ITV last week after admitting an affair with a younger male colleague. Bosses at the channel said they had been badly let down by his untruths.

He hinted last week that he had felt suicidal, saying without his daughters he would “not be here”.

A friend told The Sun: “He physically could not watch – he’s not there yet.

“Even listening to the opening credits would be hugely triggering.

“His family is being incredibly careful not to have the TV on when he’s in the room to ensure he doesn’t see anything.

“Of course he is aware Willoughby is back on air today and he absolutely wanted her to shine, and smash it.

“But he physically could not watch – he is not there yet.”

Alongside new co-host Josie Gibson, she is set to give an emotional statement at the start of This Morning on Monday about her onscreen break-up with Schofield.

She will be on a rotation of presenters until a decision is made about a permanent replacement for Schofield.

A source told the paper: “Willoughby is naturally nervous about this and is being supported by This Morning.

“Speaking about Phil and what has happened is not going to be easy and emotions are running high.

“Willoughby is a consummate professional but this will arguably be one of the toughest things she has ever had to do in her television career.”

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The insider added: “The show is braced for tears and Willoughby is getting support from the team.”

Schofield sent her a text message apologising for having lied about the affair before his confession was made public.

In an earlier interview with the BBC’s Amol Rajan, Schofield said: “The last time we had a conversation was when I texted Holly and said, ‘Don’t reply’ – this was after the statement last week – ‘Don’t reply, you’re probably not allowed to, but I am deeply deeply sorry that I lied to you.”

On Wednesday, ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall is due to give evidence to a parliamentary committee to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint-handling following Schofield’s admission.

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