Phillip Schofield has given his first interviews since it was revealed he had an affair with a much younger colleague.
The TV presenter, who resigned from ITV last month after it emerged he had the relationship while the pair worked on This Morning, spoke to The Sun about the scandal.
In a subsequent television interview released on Friday, he told the BBC’s Amol Rajan that he had lost everything in the wake of the revelations.
Schofield reveals suicidal thoughts
During the BBC interview, an emotional Schofield spoke about the pressures he is now facing in the wake of criticism levelled at him over the affair.
He revealed he had been having suicidal thoughts and thanked his daughters for their support during the past few days as he faced “relentless” pressure.
“Last week, if my daughters hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “They’ve been by my side every moment because they’re scared to let me out of their sight.
“If my girls hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here. Because I don’t see a future. And so how much do you want a man to take? And are you truly only happy when he’s dead?”
The former ITV star, who admitted previously to the “unwise but not illegal” relationship, also urged the media to leave his former lover “alone now” and said the pressure he now faced was “day after day”.
“If you don’t think that that is going to have the most catastrophic effect on someone’s mind… do want me to die? Because that’s where I am. I have lost everything,” he said.
‘Heartbroken’ TV star believes his career is over
Schofield, who presented This Morning for 20 years before stepping down last Saturday, said he now has to talk of his career “in the past tense”.
The prospect of no longer working in television “breaks my heart”, he told the BBC, as he said a friend telling him he was being treated “like Jack the Ripper”.
“What am I going to do with my days?” he continued. “I see nothing ahead of me but blackness, and sadness, and regret, and remorse, and guilt.
“I did something very wrong, and then I lied about it consistently and you can’t live with that. How do you live with that?”
Earlier this week, Schofield was dropped as an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust in light of the controversy, which he said “broke my heart”.
Sexual relationship started when his partner was 20, says Schofield
Speaking about the start of the relationship when his former lover was about 20, he said he would “regret it forever”.
Schofield said the relationship was “consensual” with five or six romantic encounters over a few months, but denied allegations he had groomed the man.
He denied having a relationship with him when he was underage or exchanging any photos or flirting with him in text exchanges.
Schofield said he had followed him on Twitter when he was 15 after a friend asked him to, as the teenager was a fan of the ITV presenter, but communications between them were “completely innocent backwards and forwards over a period of time about a job, about careers”.
The sexual relationship started a few months after the young man started working on the This Morning show, with the first encounter taking place in Schofield’s dressing room.
“Obviously I will regret [that] forever, for him and for me, mostly for him,” said Schofield, who said that happened four or five times over the next few months.
“I know it’s unforgivable. We weren’t boyfriends, we weren’t in a relationship. I was really in a mess over my own sexuality at the time and it just happened.”
Asked if he loved his former colleague, Schofield said “No, we were just mates,” later adding: “We weren’t boyfriends, we weren’t in a relationship.”
Schofield also denied allegations that his former partner had signed an Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to keep him silent, or requesting he did so.
He said the pair had last spoken when Schofield “engaged a lawyer for him”.
Dismissed claims by GB News presenter Dan Wootton
Schofield dismissed claims by GB News presenter Dan Wootton that he had been responsible for him being fired as a contributor on ITV show Lorraine.
He said the accusations stemmed from Wootton’s “utter, total hatred” for him.
“There is no way that any presenter on one show can get a contributor fired from another because they don’t like the fact they’re in the building,” he said.
“I don’t know where this came from… that I have more power than anybody else. Bless Dan, there is a lot of things that I think he said out of hatred for me.”
Schofield also denied claims that The Sun didn’t write a story about the affair in return for the exclusive story that he was coming out in an arrangement prompted by the then-This Morning host.
WhatsApped Holly Willoughby after statement about scandal
Schofield denied that Holly Willoughby, his co-presenter on the This Morning couch, knew anything about the affair.
And he rejected claims that ITV bosses had allowed a “culture of toxicity” to permeate the show in order to keep him and Willoughby happy.
The last time he contacted his former fellow host was last week when he sent her a WhatsApp message on the same day be released a statement addressing the scandal.
“I said to her I know you can’t reply, you’re probably not allowed to. But please know that I am so desperately, desperately sorry,” said Schofield.
“I adore Holly, I’ve always adored Holly. She’s my TV, sister. And I from my point of view, no, I don’t have a problem with Holly at all.
“I would say to everyone I would say to my family, my friends, my work colleagues, public to ITV to my management company, to everyone that I lied to.
“I am desperately, desperately sorry but principally, I would like to apologise to him. Because it may have been consensual, it may have been fully legal. But I shouldn’t have allowed that to happen.
“And that was a grave, grave error on my part and I know that because of that an absolutely innocent person is being persecuted.”
He also denied as “utterly untrue” suggestions from ex-ITV presenter Eammon Holmes that taxis had been provided from Schofield’s home to the studios for the young man and that they were probably paid for by the TV channel.