Eamonn Holmes’ decision to launch a full frontal attack on Phillip Schofield is the most explosive episode yet of the pair’s vicious feud.
The veteran presenter, 63, pulled no punches in his criticism of Phillip, 61, claiming in a TV interview that he would take his younger lover out for ‘playtime’ on Thursday nights followed by trysts at his £1million London bolthole.
Just as striking was the personal nature of the onslaught, with Eamonn describing Phillip in a TV interview as the ‘chief narcissist’ who didn’t know the names of any of his staff. It came hours after Eamonn branded his enemy ‘delusional’ and ‘a liar’.
None of this rancour will surprise long-term watchers of the pair, who have observed what appeared to be a friendly professional relationship break down in the most public way possible.
Eamonn Holmes – a broadcasting institution of over five decades – has known Phillip for most of his professional life. They are pictured together on This Morning in 2013
Yesterday Phillip issued a statement denying claims of a ‘toxic’ atmosphere at This Morning
Eamonn later described the statement as ‘delusional’, adding: ‘Believe me Pip if ur looking for a fight u have picked on the wrong person’
Eamonn – a broadcasting institution of over five decades – has known Phillip for most of his professional life. They began working together on This Morning in 2006 when Eamonn joined the programme four years after his rival.
The men were never close, but appreciated each other’s broadcasting styles and worked professionally alongside each other.
But all that changed in 2019, when Eamonn’s wife and This Morning co-host Ruth Langsford filed an official complaint against Phillip.
While working on Loose Women, Ruth was cut off mid-link by Phillip as she was explaining what was coming up on the show during a mini-segment on This Morning.
Phillip said: ‘Guys, we’re going to have to jump in there and stop you I’m afraid because we’re a bit tight for time at this end. Thank you, Ruth.’
A clearly unimpressed Ruth responded: ‘Well I only had about two more words to say,’ and looked away from the camera.
Speaking about the incident in the Daily Mail’s Weekend magazine in February 2022, Eamonn went public in his condemnation of Phillip, saying Ruth is one of many people in the industry to be “snubbed” by the presenter.
He said: ‘Phillip is renowned for snubbing people. He’s very passive-aggressive. It’s up to Ruth to say how she felt, but I was feeling hurt for her. No one would have snubbed me like that.’
He added. ‘I don’t go for presenters who think they have a special privilege or aura or influence.’
Despite obvious tension between the trio, the following month Eamonn and Ruth presented This Morning for a segment in 2020 which saw Phillip come out
Following a backlash at Eamonn’s ‘crass’ jokes, Phillip tweeted that he appreciated Holmes trying to lighten the mood, tweeting that Eamonn and Ruth had been ‘utterly magnificent with me’
The uncomfortable relationship between Eamonn, Ruth and Phillip spilled out in front of a live television audience during the 2020 NTAs, when Phillip passed a trophy won by This Morning to Ruth during an acceptance speech, giving her the chance to say a few words.
And in the press room afterwards when the This Morning team posed up with their trophy, Eamonn attempted to take the gong off Phillip, suggesting he was taking all the glory.
Timeline of the Phillip Schofield scandal
September 2022 – Schofield and Ms Willoughby are criticised for failing to queue for the Queen’s Lying in State. ITV insisted the pair were there to report from the venue.
April 2023 – Phillip is absent from This Morning for two weeks while his brother Timothy, 54, is tried at Exeter Crown Court for sexually abusing a teenage boy.
April 3 – Timothy Schofield is found guilty of ’emotionally blackmailing’ the teenager into performing sex acts and watching porn with him.
May 10 – Reports emerge that Schofield and Ms Willoughby are ‘barely speaking’. A day later he issues a statement calling her ‘my rock’.
May 15 – The pair present a united front while presenting This Morning, but rumours of a feud continue. They are said to have fallen out due to Schofield’s failure to warn her of his brother’s trial.
May 20 – Schofield announces he is stepping down from This Morning with ‘immediate effect’.
May 22 – Stand-in presenters Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond pay tribute to their former colleague as ‘one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had’.
May 26 – Schofield releases a statement admitting he’d had an affair with a ‘much younger’ colleague but then lied about it.
May 27 – Ms Willoughby blasts him for lying to her.
May 28 – This Morning’s former resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh hits out at the show’s ‘toxic’ culture.
May 29 – Schofield releases a statement denying claims the show had a toxic culture, only for Eamonn Holmes to slam him as ‘delusional’ on Twitter.
Despite obvious tension between the trio, the following month Eamonn and Ruth presented This Morning for a segment in 2020 which saw Phillip come out.
Phillip, sitting down alongside Holly on the sofa, hugged Ruth and Eamonn several times, saying “thank you” to his co-hosts over and over again.
After being commended for his bravery by Ruth, Eammon added: ‘Phillip, nobody should be embarrassed about their sexuality.
‘It’s fantastic that so many people will be strengthened by what you said.’
Despite the outward scenes of unity, Eammon made a number of poor-taste jokes that now appear telling.
He quipped: “I am disappointed in a couple of ways. First of all, I thought you were going to come in and announce you had resigned and I could have your job, but that wasn’t to be.”
He then jokingly complained that it had been a “great imponderable in life” that Phillip’s wife Steph and Holly husband Dan Baldwin never had “a problem” with the two hosts sharing a hot tub together.
Following a backlash, Phillip tweeted that he appreciated Holmes trying to lighten the mood, tweeting that Eamonn and Ruth had been ‘utterly magnificent with me’.
He added: “And for the record, @EamonnHolmes made me laugh, he lightened a very emotional moment and I’m very happy that he did.”
Eamonn liked that tweet, and also shared his own message of support on social media by writing: “A picture paints a thousand words.
“This is a man who was in pain, who today confided in Ruth and I and who knows we stand in support of him, his family and his sexuality…. Also unlike some, he appreciated a laugh to break the tension. @Schofe hoping you find happiness.”
Tensions between the pair bubbled on throughout 2020, with Eamonn reportedly left furious when Phillip misspelled his name in every single reference to him in his newly released memoir, Life Is What You Make It.
“Eamonn, with two n’s, is raging. How did no one pick up on this in 400 pages?” a source told The Sun. “If it’s a joke, Eamonn certainly wasn’t in on it and the error has ruffled feathers, yet again.”
A second source defended Phillip and called the mistake ‘a genuine typo’.
In November 2021, Eamonn and Ruth were controversially axed from This Morning after 15 years and replaced on the Friday show by Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond.
Eamonn was particularly aggrieved about being let go by ITV, claiming he was never given an accurate reason.
His culling was made even more frustrating by his belief Phillip had been given unwavering support by ITV, despite his behaviour off set, a belief shared by Phillip’s former co-host Fern Britton and Amanda Holden, who briefly hosted This Morning alongside him in 2015, while Holly was on maternity leave.
Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford, Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield used to be the faces of This Morning (pictured in 2020)
Eamonn, 63, co-hosted ITV’s Friday instalment of This Morning for 15 years with his wife Ruth, 63 and they covered for Phil and Holly during the holidays (pictured in 2013)
The incident confirmed Eamonn’s belief that Phillip had constantly been feted despite his poor behaviour behind the scenes, sources claimed.
“They’re two very different characters, Eamonn who knows everyone’s name from the tea lady upwards, remembers everyone,’ one insider told The Mirror.
“We have Phillip who didn’t know anyone’s name and would only talk to people if they were helpful to him or gave him a step up the ladder.
“Eamonn was never given a break, Phillip was the guy that could do ‘no wrong’, he had so much power, he had investment, many of the stars and acts were from Phillip’s old agency, YMU.’
Following a move to GB News, Eamonn appeared less restrained in his public criticism of Phillip and Holly, with the star liking a meme that mocked the pair for ‘jumping the queue’ at the Queen’s lying in state last year.
But his obvious disdain for Phillip cranked up several notches during his public fallout with Holly, which prompted his decision on May 20 to resign from This Morning with ‘immediate effect’.
Eamonn hit out at Phil and Holly in September, accusing them both of ‘lying’ about not skipping the queue to see the Queen lying in state
The presenters faced fury after images of them appearing to ‘skip the queue’ emerged while tens of thousands of mourners patiently waited
This prompted an Instagram post from Holly which described how the This Morning sofa wouldn’t ‘feel the same’ without him.
Afterwards, Eamonn laid into the terminology used in both their statements.
‘All this nonsense of ”I’ve decided to step down”. I’m sure you did – here’s your P45 now step down,’ he told GB News.
On Holly, he added: ‘And she says: “Oh, the couch will not be the same without him being there”. Well she wanted him not there. So what is she moaning about. They deserve each other I suppose.’
He continued: ‘Holly is being as false as he is and nobody is talking about the elephant in the room.
‘She says ‘I thank him for all his knowledge, experience and humour’. All the things that she didn’t have when she came to the show. Well it’s true! I would call that stabbing in the back.
‘I could give you a list of the lack of kindness and lack of awareness from both of them. How they would socialise, and the people around them.
‘You just have to look at my phone, full of people who are glad to see the back of the two of them.’
Eamonn criticised a statement in which Phillip claimed he had chosen to ‘step down’, describing the suggestion as ‘nonsense’
Yesterday, Eamonn was quick to attack a statement Phillip had put out denying claims the atmosphere at This Morning had become ‘toxic’, insisting it was ‘the best programme to work on’.
In response Eamonn tweeted: ‘Schofield has just put out a delusional statement. Like Holly he puts it on Insta Stories so if it goes wrong there is no record after 24 hrs.
‘I’m reluctant to give the liar any more publicity but believe me Pip if u r looking for a fight, u have picked on the wrong person!’
But none of this compares with Eamonn’s comments about Phillip during a sit-down interview last night, which saw the presenter unveil a series of damaging new claims about his affair with a younger colleague.
He told fellow GB News presenter Dan Wootton that he had decided to stand up for ‘people who hadn’t got a voice’, and revealed that the younger man, whom MailOnline has decided not to name, had been badly hurt by Phillip.
He said: ‘Thursday was playtime when he and Phillip would hit the town and then he obviously stayed overnight. There are records to show that he was brought in the next day separately in cars paid for by ITV.’
Calling the younger man ‘lovely’, and a ‘really good talented fella’, he said the taxi to work on a Friday morning was part of a ‘cover-up’ by ITV bosses.
Eamonn has not pulled his punches on social media. In this post, he backed calls for Phillip and Holly to be sacked
He said: ‘Unless Phillip paid the bills separately, it would still have to go through the accounts office. They would have seen that and known.’
A second interview will follow tonight, with Eamonn unlikely to be any more restrained in his attack on his former colleague.
Explaining his thinking, a source said earlier this month: ‘Eamonn thinks what’s happened to Phillip is karma.
‘If you’re good to people on your way up and at the top, usually people will fight your corner.
‘But because Phillip has never really believed in that mantra, he thinks he’s paying for it now.’