Former Loose Women star Carol McGiffin has claimed a runner on the show was sacked to make room for Phillip Schofield’s ‘much younger’ lover.
The former This Morning presenter, 61, sat down with Amol Rajan on Thursday to discuss the revelation that he had engaged in an extramarital relationship with a young runner on the ITV magazine show and his subsequent departure.
A host of ITV staff members have spoken out in the wake of the news, which saw Phillip admit that he met the runner when he was 15, after which he got him a role at ITV – before he was moved from This Morning to Loose Women after the fling.
While these allegations have been denied by Phillip, Carol remained defiant as she appeared on GB News saying: ‘Everybody was really quite upset about it because you know everybody loved him and he was a great runner…
‘One day I got a text message and it was from the young man in question and he said ‘I’m the new productions secretary at Loose Women’.
Happy days: Former Loose Women star Carol McGiffin has claimed a runner on the show was sacked to make room for Phillip Schofield’s ‘much younger’ lover
Opening up: The former This Morning presenter, 61, sat down with Amol Rajan to discuss the revelation that he had engaged in an extramarital relationship with a young runner on the ITV magazine show and his subsequent departure
‘I thought, ‘hang on a minute what’s happened here’. I didn’t even know that he had gone at the time. He was a great guy [and then] he disappeared.’
Phillip has revealed that his affair with a young studio runner began with a kiss in a dressing room before ‘five or six’ sexual encounters. The former This Morning host said the encounter happened at the ITV studios when the man was 20.
Asked directly by Amol he had any kind of sexual relationship when his former lover was underage, he said: ‘God no. In my statement, it says ”consensual relationship, fully legal”, I mean, that [the statement] was approved by both sides.’
Recalling how the affair began, he said: ‘He’d been working at the show for a few months and we’d become mates, we were mates.
‘Around the studios we’d hang out together, chat to each other, that sort of stuff. And then in my dressing room one day something happened which obviously, I will regret forever for him and for me – mostly him.
‘That happened maybe four or five times over the next few months, and I know it’s unforgivable but we weren’t boyfriends, we weren’t in a relationship. I was really in a mess with my sexuality at the time and it just happened.’
Schofield said he first started following his former lover on Twitter when he was aged 15 after he was asked to do so by a friend.
The broadcaster explained he was invited by a friend to go to a school, something he said he has done ‘thousands of times’.
Tough times: Phillip has revealed that his affair with a young studio runner began with a kiss in a dressing room before ‘five or six’ sexual encounters
He claimed he was later asked to follow ‘a fan’ back on Twitter, who was aged 15 at the time – to which the presenter agreed.
Recounting the first time they met, Schofield told Rajan: ‘I was invited by a friend of mine to go to open a drama school…
‘But whether it was immediately or sometime after, he said, ‘will you follow him on Twitter, because he’s a fan’. So I said, ‘yeah, sure, no problem’, which I did.’
Rajan added: ‘And he was what, 15 at the time?’.
Schofield said: ‘I follow 11,300 people, and in all the time I’ve been on Twitter, there has never been any whiff of impropriety.’
He went on to say the pair were ‘hardly’ in touch, but the young man had later gotten in contact to ask ‘if he could visit the studios, work experience-type of thing. I said come down and have a look, for sure, which he did.’
He told Rajan the man was 19 when he had first expressed interest in a television career, and when asked by Rajan if, looking back on their messages, there was ‘any sense in which you were flirting with him?’, Schofield said: ‘No it was work stuff’.
He added: ‘I’ve been in television for 41 years. Nothing like this before. No accusations.’
He strongly denied ‘grooming’ his former lover or sending him any sexual messages before the start of their relationship.
The presenter said he had not fallen in love with the man and did not feel that there was an imbalance of power because ‘we’d become mates’.
Asked what ended their relationship, he said: ‘I was at the time beginning to get into a very poor mental state with my own sexuality. And it just sort of drifted. We stayed mates, we’re still mates.
‘And I got him work and runners jobs on other shows that I did because he was a very good runner and a mate. It’s always nice to have a team around you that you know.
Phil said the last time he interacted with his former lover was a ‘couple of weeks’ ago when he organised a lawyer for him because he needed ‘independent’ support.
Speaking out: Phil said the last time he interacted with his former lover was a ‘couple of weeks’ ago when he organised a lawyer for him because he needed ‘independent’ support