Eamonn Holmes has recalled the extraordinary moment Phillip Schofield fell ‘down on his knees crying’ and revealed he was gay just minutes before the star came out live on air.
Holmes blasted Schofield and his co-presenter of 14 years Holly Willoughby claiming the pair had ‘choreographed’ and ‘rehearsed’ the dramatic and sudden announcement that shocked viewers in 2020.
Now speaking days after revelations that Schofield had lied about his relationship with a much younger male colleague, the veteran presenter, 63, said he feels ‘used’.
Holmes and his wife Ruth Langsford, who used to co-present This Morning on Fridays, had not been told why Schofield would be sitting on the sofa with them that day, claiming ITV bosses simply said the former presenter ‘had something today’.
He told his fellow GB News presenter Dan Wootton tonight that the reason was only revealed when Schofield came into the pair’s dressing room and ‘[fell] down on his knees crying’ and announced ‘I’m gay’.
At the time Holmes said he and his wife were ‘very, very supportive’ of Schofield, comforting him by hugging him and telling him ‘we’ll stand by you’.
Holmes has now claimed that the announcement by the now fallen presenter was made as part of a ‘cover up’ for what the former presenter, who stepped down from his role at ITV two weeks, called an ‘unwise, but not illegal’ affair with a younger colleague.
Schofield plunged ITV into crisis mode on Friday after he admitted he had lied about the relationship with his former lover, who he reportedly met when the young man was 15.
He said: ‘We were lied to. And Ruth and I to this day are embarrassed and ashamed when we see those pictures, when we see the toils that some people who are tortured by their sexuality have to go through and this was a cover up for something else.’
‘We feel angry, we feel angry about that, we feel used,’ he added.
Holmes noted how during the filming of the live broadcast, the presenters were accompanied by ‘the head of Director of Programs Kevin Lygo, the director of daytime Emma Gormley, Martin Frizzel’.
There were also representatives from the stars’ talent managers YMU, he claimed, adding the appearance of the show’s big players made them ‘feel this is not our show at all’.
He alleged that Schofield and Willoughby had ‘rehearsed [the episode] for days as to what they were going to say and do and who was going to hug who’.
‘Holly was very specific about where she sat, where Phillip sat, where Ruth sat, where I sat. It was all choreographed.’
It comes as former ITV producer Christo Foufas, who is now a presenter at TalkTV, reported that the young man had been removed off This Morning after ‘declaring his love for Phil’ at the National Television Awards in January 2020.
He said that the young man was then shunted to another programme on the daytime network.
Just ten days later Schofield wrote an emotional Instagram post revealing he was gay, moments before making the announcement live on air with Holmes, Langsford and Willoughby.
The series of allegations tonight from Holmes come as the Daily Mail was told that the young man had been given a payment following the end of his on-off relationship with Schofield.
Timeline of the Phillip Schofield scandal
September 2022 – Schofield and Willoughby are criticised for failing to queue for the Queen’s Lying in State.
April 2023 – Phillip is absent from This Morning for two weeks while his brother Timothy, 54, is tried at Exeter Crown Court for sexually abusing a teenage boy.
April 3 – Timothy is found guilty of ’emotionally blackmailing’ the teenager into performing sex acts and watching porn with him.
May 10 – Reports emerge Phillip and Holly are ‘barely speaking’, but a day later he issues a statement calling Holly ‘my rock’.
May 15 – The pair present a united front while presenting This Morning, but rumours of a feud continue. The pair are said to have fallen out due to Phillip’s failure to warn Holly of his brother’s trial.
May 20 – Schofield announces he is stepping down from This Morning with ‘immediate effect’.
May 22 – Stand-in presenters Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond pay tribute to their former colleague as ‘one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had’.
May 26 – Schofield releases a statement admitting he’d had an affair with a ‘much younger’ colleague but then lied about it.
May 27 – Holly blasts Phillip for lying to her.
May 28 – This Morning’s former resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh hits out at the show’s ‘toxic’ culture.
May 29 – Schofield releases a statement denying claims the show had a toxic culture, only for Eamonn Holmes to slam him as ‘delusional’ on Twitter.
Holmes later takes to GB News accusing ITV of a ‘total cover up’ of Schofield’s affair.
ITV have repeatedly declined to comment on the alleged settlement or deny it. No comment was made by representatives of the presenter regarding the allegation.
Insiders at the broadcaster said that bosses at some level must have known about any payment as a senior member of staff would have had to sign it off.
One source said: ‘There have been numerous pay-offs at ITV and they have always had to be arranged and sanctioned by people of some seniority.’
The claims add to increasing calls for the broadcaster’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall, director of television Kevin Lygo and head of daytime Emma Gormley to speak out about what they knew.
Today Mr Wootton revealed exclusively on MailOnline that he had obtained a ‘potentially significant email’ sent to Dame McCall and the managing director of ITV Studios Julian Bellamy, on February 10 2020.
Written by a former This Morning staff member who has since left the show, it demanded an investigation into what they feared was an abuse of power by Schofield.
Mr Wootton said the letter suggested that Schofield should be suspended from the programme while a series of allegations were looked into.
The email to McCall and Bellamy read in part: ‘With the current rumours and accusations swirling around about Phillip Schofield…why is he still on our screens? Why have ITV not suspended him pending an internal inquiry?
‘I would have thought in this day and age that a mainstream broadcaster such as ITV ought to be seen to be doing all it can to deal with issues like this, find out where the truth lies and, in the meantime, suspend those who the rumours concern?’
Attached to the email sent by the colleague, who has not been named, was a link to a YouTube video that detailed the history of Schofield’s relationship with his younger colleague.
The video now has more than two million views and showed photographs of the pair together socially and working at ITV.
The former staff member, who said they have no animosity towards Schofield and he did not impact their decision to leave, pleaded in the email’s conclusion: ‘Come on ITV – it’s time to take action and do the responsible thing.’
Neither of the ITV bosses responded to the email and further messages sent by the staff member.
When asked about the email, ITV press office referred Mr Wootton to a previous statement released: ‘ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020 ITV investigated.’
It comes as a series of photos of emerged of Schofield’s younger lover giving his co-host Holly Willoughby, 42, a kiss on the cheek at the National Television Awards (NTAs) at the O2 Arena in 2020.
This was where Schofield’s ex-lover declared his lover for the former presenter, according to Mr Foufas.
He described an ‘incident’ at the awards on January 28, 2020 when Schofield’s lover stunned his colleagues by ‘declaring his love for Phil’.
The photos show the man approaching Holly and her husband Daniel Baldwin, sharing a few words, before jumping in a waiting cab.
Schofield does not take part in the conversation and is seen vaping nearby with his then wife Stephanie Lowe.
In more footage that has emerged, an extraordinary Snapchat video shows the former broadcaster partying with the young man 34 years his junior and his best friend Simon Schofield.
In the clip from March 2017, Schofield begins by sharing a snap of his pint of beer before dragging on a shisha. He then giggles: ‘I can’t get a tune out of these bagpipes’.
Schofield reportedly met his future lover while he was at stage school in 2012.
In 2016, he was around 18 or 19, he landed a job on This Morning. The shisha video was filmed a year later when the young man is believed to be around 20 while Schofield was 55.
It is thought they were in a relationship at the time the video was recorded.
Last night in the first part of his interview Holmes spoke to the ‘lovely’ younger man who he said was a ‘really good talented fella’ but added that life had been ‘tough’ for him.
The bombshell interview came after Schofield had taken to social media that morning to defend himself and deny claims that This Morning had a ‘toxic’ culture behind the scenes.
The presenter of more than 20 years wrote on Instagram: ‘Now I no longer work on This Morning I am free to say this. I hope you have noticed that it is the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice. This Morning is the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there, there was no toxicity’.
Holmes went on to hit back at the statement, calling Schofield ‘delusional’ and told Dan Wootton’s show last night that ‘[Schofield] was so rude’.
‘This nonsense that he wrote today about toxicity, it’s a happy place and whatever… what planet does this man live on?’ he said.
‘He created an atmosphere where people hated him, that people would avoid them in the corridor, he didn’t look at anybody, he didn’t know anybody’s names. Holly doesn’t know people’s names either. This is legendary within the production team, how distant they are, and how they just don’t care’.
He went on to claim that the former presenter would take his ex-lover back to his £1million flat in White City in west London – close to the ITV studio.
Holmes’ interventions raise serious questions for Mr Lygo, director of television at ITV, ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall, head of Daytime, Ms Gormley and This Morning editor Martin Frizzell.
This evening Schofield was dropped as an ambassador for King Charles’ prestigious charity, the Prince’s Trust, which was set up in 1976 to help disadvantaged young people under the age of 30.
The trust said it was ‘no longer appropriate’ to work with the ex-presenter after he admitted lying about his relationship with his younger colleague.
References have also been cut from Schofield’s personal website, which used to state that ‘outside of work’ he dedicated his ‘time to the work of supporting vulnerable young people in the UK’.
The page which details information ‘about’ the presenter is currently unavailable due to a website ‘error’.
The used car firm We Buy Any Car also removed all adverts featuring the shammed presenter from its YouTube channel.
Schofield had been used in the company’s campaigns for six years but was dropped when he and his co-presenter came under fire for queue-jumping while the Queen was lying in state.
We Buy Any Car declined to MailOnline’s request for comment today. It is unclear what specifically prompted the firm to now remove the adverts – months after the partnership with Schofield ended.
Willoughby is due to return to the show on Monday in what will be her first appearance since Schofield was ousted. She is expected to be joined by her friend Alison Hammond.
ITV have been contacted for a statement by MailOnline this evening.