‘I have brought myself down’: Phillip Schofield says his career is over

Former This Morning presenter tells BBC he ‘wouldn’t be here’ if daughters had not supported him

Phillip Schofield has said his career in television is over after he “brought [himself] down” by lying about his affair with a younger man.

The former This Morning presenter, 61, resigned from ITV last week after admitting to his “biggest, sorriest secret”, an “unwise but not illegal relationship” with a man who is now in his mid-20s.

In an interview with BBC News, his first since leaving ITV, Schofield said: “I have brought myself down. I am done. I have to talk about television in the past tense, which breaks my heart.”

He said that if his daughters had not supported him last week, he “wouldn’t be here”. “They’ve guarded me and won’t let me out of their sight,” he said.

Despite finding the interview distressing, he felt moved to speak “because there is an innocent person here who didn’t do anything wrong”.

He added: “I just have to say, ‘stop with him. OK with me. But stop with him, leave him alone now.’”

Schofield also said he is afraid to leave the house after the revelation of his affair with the younger male colleague. He told the Sun: “I do not know a time I will be able to walk out of the door.

“I don’t have any spirit. My friends tell me, ‘It will get better’. It won’t. Not now. Not this one.”

He added: “I am getting by hour by hour. I have got my girls and my friends.”

Schofield’s reference is to his former lover, whom he met when the man was a 15-year-old boy at drama school and whom he followed on Twitter “totally innocent[ly]” after a friend told him the boy was a fan.

He denied flirting with the boy and said he was “hardly” in touch which him other than to offer career advice and give him work experience at the studio, until the man was 20 or 21, and had begun working at ITV. Schofield was married at the time.

He said there was “absolutely not” a moment of initial sexual attraction, and replied “no, god, no” to the question of whether he had a sexual relationship when the boy was underage.

The affair began a few months after the man started working on the show, Schofield said. “We’d become mates. In my dressing room one day, something happened, which obviously I will regret forever, for him and for me – mostly him.”

He said nobody else on the team was aware of the affair, including his co-presenter, Holly Willoughby. “This has been the cataclysm of the lie. It starts in the denial and then the rumours started, you lie, you’ve had a workplace fling and you lie about it,” he said.

The affair was consensual, he said, and he did not consider it an abuse of power, but “a very grave error”. “It was my fault. I was older, I should have known better, I shouldn’t have done it.”

Schofield said his downfall was the result of the lie getting “too big for both of us”, and crossing over from online speculation to mainstream news. “All of that consistent bad press – it wouldn’t stop, it just carried on … It continues and it’s relentless and it’s day after day after day after day.

“If you don’t think that’s going to have the most catastrophic effect on someone’s mind, what do you – do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am. I have lost everything.”

Asked in the earlier BBC interview whether the fact an internal ITV investigation failed to uncover the affair meant it was a sham, Schofield replied: “If you have two people who are lying, then what can you do?”

But he acknowledged it was reasonable for people to surmise that ITV executives might have been aware of the affair since the pair were known to be close, and added that he intended to comply with a barrister’s external review of the facts.

Asked why anyone should believe him now, Schofield said: “Only my friends and family need to worry about that. You don’t have to worry about what I say any more.”

Asked what he would like to say to the man he had the affair with, Schofield said: “I’d say to everyone that I lied to, I am desperately sorry, but principally I’d like to apologise to him. I have caused you so much pain and I’ll never forgive myself.”

Contributor

Rachel Hall

The GuardianTramp

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