hillip Schofield has said he is “utterly broken and ashamed” over the affair he had with a younger male colleague, but denies grooming the man.
Schofield resigned from ITV last week and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a younger male colleague.
Speaking to the BBC’s Amol Rajan, he told of the criticism he has faced since admitting the affair, saying: “Do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am.”
He said: “It is relentless, and it is day after day, after 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 addressed his “innocent” younger colleague directly, adding: “To him, I am the most sorry. By getting involved with me I have caused you so much pain.
“And again I will never forgive myself that I made a bad judgement call.
“If only you knew in one moment if I had used the judgement I have had for 41 years at that moment then things would be very different for everybody.”
“There is an innocent person here who didn’t do anything wrong, who is vulnerable and probably feels like I do.
“And I just have to say stop with him, ok with me, but stop with him.
“Leave him alone now.”
In the wide ranging interview, the 61-year-old presenter described having to tell his daughters about the relationship. He was the “victim of hate” after the affair became public and now had “no future” left in television.
He said one “very prominent figure” had phoned him to offer support, telling Schofield: “I had never seen such homophobia- in my life.”
“If it was a heterosexual relationship it would be a nudge nudge wink wink”, he told the BBC.
“If it’s a gay relationship then suddenly it raises eyebrows – it’s wrong.
“People do find each other attractive in different age groups, it does happen. It’s the mere fact that it’s so gigantic – I appreciate the workplace and the work history I get that – but the fact it’s so massive is predominantly homophobia.”
“There are accusations of all sorts of things. It never came across that way because we’d become mates. I don’t know about that.
“But of course I understand that there will be a massive judgment, but bearing in mind, I have never exercised that anywhere else.”
He told the paper that he did not think about the possibility the affair, which he said began when the younger man was 20, could ruin his career.
He said: “But I didn’t lie to protect my career, he didn’t want his name in public. He wanted his own life.”
And he also denied there had ever been a “feud” between him and his former co-presenter and “TV sister” Holly Willoughby.
“I’ve lost my best friend. I let her down,” he told The Sun.
“Holly did not know. And she was one of the first texts that I sent, to say, ‘I am so, so sorry that I lied to you’.”
It comes as the head of ITV has been called to give evidence before MPs on the broadcaster’s handling of the affair.
ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall will be grilled on the network’s “approach to safeguarding” in the wake of Schofield’s relationship with the younger employee.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee said it had written to Dame Carolyn after she announced an external review into ITV’s handling of the affair. The session is set to take place on June 14.
In a letter to ITV, committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage said: “The Committee regards the media industry’s duty of care towards its staff a matter of the highest importance.
“Whilst the recent coverage focuses on the Schofield case, it also raises fundamental issues about safeguarding and complaint handling both at ITV and more widely across the media.
“These issues should, particularly in the case of Public Service Broadcasters, be open to scrutiny.”
On Wednesday, ITV announced an external review, led by a barrister, to “establish the facts” over the affair which Schofield has said was “unwise, but not illegal”.
The former This Morning presenter left the network last week after he admitted lying about his relationship with the younger man while still married to his wife.
ITV previously said it had investigated in 2020, but that both parties repeatedly denied the relationship.
The broadcaster said on Wednesday there had been “a lot of inaccuracy” in reporting, and that the former employee Schofield admitted to an affair with had been offered support by the broadcaster.
It said in a letter to MPs: “The ITV employee was aged 19 when he first did work experience at This Morning … and 20 years old when he applied and succeeded in securing a job as a runner on the show.”
Schofield resigned from ITV after admitting the relationship and that he had lied to colleagues, family and his agency about it.
The 61-year-old, who had been on This Morning for two decades, was swiftly dropped by his agent and as an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust in the wake of the revelations.
He will no longer present the British Soap Awards this weekend, which will instead be hosted by singer and presenter Jane McDonald.
He will also no longer front a new prime-time series which had been announced upon his departure from This Morning but prior to knowledge of the affair being made public.
ITV bosses are separately due to give evidence before MPs on the committee on Tuesday on the topic of proposed legislation governing broadcasters.