EXCLUSIVE It’s over! After 15 years, Holly Willoughby ‘cuts ties’ with co-host Phillip Schofield

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Holly Willoughby has made the devastating decision to cut ties with Phillip Schofield as the rift between the TV presenters deepens, The Mail on Sunday understands.

Until recently, she has put their growing differences aside because she felt strong loyalty towards her co-host, who was key to her landing the This Morning job in 2009.

But Mr Schofield’s release last week of a statement about their friendship without first consulting her has hit her hard, friends say, and now Ms Willoughby, 42, thinks it is time to go it alone.

Those close to her are also aware Mr Schofield’s popularity is plummeting, and say their 15-year friendship is effectively over.

Holly Willoughby has made the devastating decision to cut ties with Phillip Schofield, The Mail on Sunday understands (Holly Willoughby seen out in Hampshire today)

Holly Willoughby has made the devastating decision to cut ties with Phillip Schofield, The Mail on Sunday understands (Holly Willoughby seen out in Hampshire today)

Pensive: Holly Willoughby was seen looking glum as she stepped out on Saturday amid her rumoured 'feud' with This Morning co-host Phillip Schofield

Pensive: Holly Willoughby was seen looking glum as she stepped out on Saturday amid her rumoured ‘feud’ with This Morning co-host Phillip Schofield

The Mail on Sunday first revealed cracks were showing in their relationship last month, with the strains beginning with the fallout from allegations the pair ‘queue-jumped’ at the Queen’s lying-in-state.

Sources have told this newspaper that the pair no longer speak to each other when the cameras on This Morning stop rolling. They are due to appear together tomorrow, but ITV bosses fear Ms Willoughby will be too upset to go on air.

The broadcaster has refused to say whether either she or Mr Schofield will be on air, with a decision expected today.

However it looks increasingly certain Mr Schofield, 61, will leave the show. His contract is up in September and This Morning’s editor Martin Frizell – formerly one of Mr Schofield’s biggest backers – is said to be ‘fed up of clearing up Phillip’s mess’. However, he still has high-level support elsewhere in ITV.

Ms Willoughby was photographed yesterday looking glum behind her dark glasses as she visited Hampshire. She was dressed in a £1,890 Chloe jacket, a Gucci Horsebit 1955 mini shoulder bag worth £2,480 and £99 Hoff Montreal trainers. 

Crisis: ITV bosses were in crisis talks over Phillip Schofield ‘s future on This Morning last night, after he was said to have ‘confronted’ Holly in a tense phone call

A close source said: 'Nobody ever thought it would end like this. They were part of one another's families and they spent a lot of their weekends socialising'

A close source said: ‘Nobody ever thought it would end like this. They were part of one another’s families and they spent a lot of their weekends socialising’

The rift seems to mark the end of a friendship in which they would enjoy regular dinner dates at one another's homes and go on holiday together

The rift seems to mark the end of a friendship in which they would enjoy regular dinner dates at one another’s homes and go on holiday together

The rift seems to mark the end of a friendship in which they would enjoy regular dinner dates at one another’s homes and go on holiday together. 

A source close to Ms Willoughby said: ‘Don’t be surprised if you never see them together again, apart from on camera. This has all been so heartbreaking for Holly, but she knows she has to stand on her own two feet and cut the strings.

‘Nobody ever thought it would end like this. They were part of one another’s families and they spent a lot of their weekends socialising. She has tried so hard.’

Insiders say the most likely outcome is that Ms Willoughby will front This Morning with her new friend Alison Hammond – who co-hosts the show on Fridays – or solo.

Step aside Holly and Phil… there have been a whole host breakfast TV duo rifts from Eamonn Holmes and Anthea Turner’s split to Denise van Outen and Johnny Vaughan’s row over pay

Holly and Phil are far from the first breakfast television presenting duos to fall out.

In the mid-90s, Eamonn Holmes’ and Anthea Turner’s smiles on GMTV turned out to be a front when their rift was revealed.

Holmes referred to her as ‘Princess Tippytoes’, and it was claimed that he forced Ms Turner to quit the ITV daytime show in 1996.

And then there was Selina Scott and Frank Bough on BBC’s Breakfast Time show in 1983. She says he undermined her by interrupting mid-question, insisted on getting the last word in, and repeatedly told her how well endowed he was.

In the mid-90s, Eamonn Holmes’ and Anthea Turner’s smiles on GMTV turned out to be a front when their rift was revealed.

Selina Scott says Frank Bough undermined her by interrupting mid-question on BBC's Breakfast Time show in 1983

Selina Scott says Frank Bough undermined her by interrupting mid-question on BBC’s Breakfast Time show in 1983

When Ms Scott, now 72, didn’t respond positively, Bough claimed she must be frigid or a lesbian.

He said of her: ‘Even when she rides a bike she keeps her knees together.’ She left in 1986 – and a year later he went, too. Channel 4 Big Breakfast hosts Denise van Outen and Johnny Vaughan rowed over pay. She quit and they didn’t speak for seven years.

Ms Van Outen said: ‘The relationship fell apart when we started to renegotiate contracts. I always felt we worked together as a team and that’s how it should be.’

Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid were often said to fall out. She would raise her eyebrows at him, and he claimed she was soft on guests.



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