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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Helen William and Dominique Hines

This Morning’s Phillip Schofield hails Holly Willoughby as his ‘rock’ amid rift rumours

Phillip Schofield has hailed his This Morning co-host Holly Willoughby as his “rock” amid reports the pair’s relationship has come under strain.

The presenter recently returned to the show after taking a pre-planned leave around his brother’s sex abuse trial at Exeter Crown Court last month.

The Sun previously reported the absence had contributed to a “cooling” of their friendship.

But in a statement, Schofield, 61, told the paper: “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 pair also host Dancing On Ice together (PA Wire)

“The last few weeks haven’t been easy for either of us.”

However, Willoughby is said to have been left blindsided by the declaration.

An insider reportedly said that the 42-year-old presenter had no idea Schofield was going to make a statement. She’s yet to publicly speak on the reports.

According to Daily Mail, the Willoughby first saw the gushing statement was when it was published online.

The pair has been hosting This Morning together for 14 years - first fronting the breakfast show together in 2009 - and are one of British TV’s most loved duos.

Last year, the pair won a string of awards for their work as co-hosts (PA Archive)

In April Schofield’s younger brother Timothy Schofield, 54, was convicted of 11 sexual offences involving a child between October 2016 and October 2019, including two of sexual activity with a child.

Willoughby, 42, was also ill and took time off This Morning.

Schofield explained: “My family went through a real ordeal, and Holly’s support throughout meant the world to me – as did the support of my bosses at ITV, my editor Martin Frizell and the whole This Morning family, including our amazing viewers.

“And of course Holly has herself been ill with shingles. Whatever happens, we still have each other to count on.”

The two, also present ITV’s Dancing On Ice together.

In October Schofield thanked viewers after This Morning took home the daytime prize at the National Television Awards, saying: “This means so much to us every year, especially this year.”

The co-hosts recently weathered the storm together over claims they skipped the queue for the Queen’s lying in state last September.

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