Phillip Schofield has said he is “utterly broken and ashamed” over the affair he had with a younger male colleague, but denies grooming the man.
He 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.
In his first interview since leaving the broadcaster and This Morning, the 61-year-old presenter told The Sun: “I did not, I did not (groom him).
“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.”
Schofield stepped back from ITV’s flagship morning show This Morning having presented his last episode on Thursday, May 18.
The presenter, 61, faced a number of controversies before leaving the talk show after more than 20 years.
Schofield added his “greatest apology” over the fallout from the affair was to his former lover.
He said: “It has brought the greatest misery into his totally innocent life, his totally innocent family, his totally innocent friends. It has brought the greatest grief to them.”
He added: “I am deeply sorry and I apologise to him because I should have known better. I should have acted the way I have always acted. I should not have done it.
“I’m sorry. And I will forever be sorry. I will die sorry. I am so deeply mortified.”
Phillip Schofield said he thought it “looked shocking” when an old photograph, featuring both him and the man who would later become his lover, emerged online.
Schofield had reportedly first met the man when he was 15 years old, but said the affair did not begin until he was much older and had begun working at ITV.
Schofield told The Sun: “At the time I did not think about it possibly ruining my career. I really probably only thought about it when I saw the rumour mill, and saw it growing.
“Then I saw the link with the drama school photo all those years before, and thought, ‘This looks shocking’.
“But I didn’t lie to protect my career, he didn’t want his name in public. He wanted his own life.”
The Prince’s Trust, founded by the King, said it was “no longer appropriate” for it to work with the broadcaster.
A spokesperson for charity said: “In light of Phillip’s recent admissions, we have agreed with him that it is no longer appropriate to work together.”
The former This Morning co-host admitted having an “unwise but not illegal” affair with an employee with ITV.
The veteran broadcaster’s relationship with the ITV employee took place before he publicly came out as gay on This Morning in 2020.
After Schofield’s resignation, a number of media figures and former employees of the show including Eamonn Holmes and Dr Ranj Singh have made allegations.
Holly Willoughby has said her former co-host lied to her about his affair with a much younger colleague.
Holmes, who said he was “tossed out the door” when he was given the boot from the ITV show, told GB News on Monday that Schofield “created an atmosphere” on This Morning “where people hated him”.