UK morning show host Holly Willoughby has accused her former co-star Phillip Schofield, who started his career in New Zealand, of lying to her about his affair with a younger colleague.
Speaking for the first time since her co-host admitted having an “unwise, but not illegal” affair, Willoughby wrote on Instagram: "It has taken time to process yesterday’s news.
"When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not. It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie."
On Friday, the veteran broadcaster quit ITV and admitted to having an affair with a colleague who worked on This Morning.
ITV said it had investigated - but both Schofield and the employee “repeatedly denied” the affair.
The scandal has rocked the popular daytime show.
Schofield and Willoughby had been presenting together since 2009 and had been open about their close friendship over the years.
The broadcaster said in a statement to UK media: “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.
"Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.
"In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.
"Phillip’s statement yesterday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.”
Schofield was born in Lancashire but moved to New Zealand with his family when he was 19. He hosted 1980s music show Shazam for three years, and was a Radio Hauraki DJ.
He moved back to the UK in 1985.
The 61-year-old said yesterday that he was "deeply sorry" for the hurt he had caused.
"I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.
"Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than just a friendship.
"That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over.
"In an effort to protect my ex-colleague I haven’t been truthful about the relationship.
"But my recent, unrelated, departure from This Morning fuelled speculation and raised questions which have been impacting him, so for his sake it is important for me to be honest now.
“I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family. I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife.
“I have therefore decided to step down from the British Soap Awards, my last public commitment, and am resigning from ITV with immediate effect expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.
"I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it."
Last week, the 61-year-old presenter said he had agreed to step down from the popular daytime show “in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future”.
His departure came amid reports of a feud with his Willoughby.