Holly 'hits back' at Eamonn Holmes' claims over Alison friendship
Holly Willoughby ‘hits back’ at Eamonn Holmes’ claims that her friendship with This Morning co-star Alison Hammond is ‘fake’ after he claimed that she is ‘using her’
- READ MORE: Eamonn Holmes doubts presenter will return to This Morning and claims she doesn’t know staff names
Holly Willoughby has seemingly hit back at Eamonn Holmes’ assertions that her friendship with Alison Hammond is fake.
Eamonn, 63, had accused Holly, 42, of using Alison, 48, and said that their friendship would never have happened two years ago, as the ladies put on a united front in the wake of the recent Phillip Schofield scandal.
Holly hosted the ITV daytime show alongside Craig Doyle on Wednesday, as he took over from Josie Gibson, 38, who co-hosted on Monday and Tuesday.
Josie appeared on the show in a link filmed by the Kennet and Avon canal.
She said: ‘Stick with us over the next few days because I’m going to be on my own canal boat adventure and tomorrow is Best Friends Day, so my friends better be ready! Got a canal boat waiting for you…’
Sassy! Holly Willoughby ‘hit back’ at Eamonn Holmes’ claims that her friendship with This Morning co-star Alison Hammond is ‘fake’ on This Morning on Wednesday a
Brutal! Eamonn recently claimed that Holly is ‘using’ Alison as he insisted their unexpected friendship would ‘never have happened two years ago’
Something to say: Holly and Alison presented the show together last month and Holly said Alison will be coming round to her house on Wednesday night
Holly responded: ‘Aw, enjoy that! Think of all the friends getting on the canal with her. The canals are about to get even more dangerous, Craig!’
Craig asked: ‘How many of you are going, Jose?’
Josie replied: ‘Well, I’ve been trying to round them out but Alison can’t make it, Holly’s obviously in the studio, so I’ve got one or two.’
Holly interrupted with a grin: ‘Alison can’t come because she’s at mine tonight! That’s what I do know!’
Her words came after Eamonn claimed that Holly is ‘using’ Alison as he insisted their unexpected friendship would ‘never have happened two years ago.’
In a bombshell interview for GB News, the former This Morning host slammed the impression that the pair are suddenly close pals, insisting that for over a decade there was ‘never any contact between them.’
It comes as Eamonn also accused ITV of a ‘total cover up’ over Phillip’s affair with a This Morning colleague, which he admitted to on Friday in a shocking statement.
Speaking to Dan Wootton, Eamonn insisted that the idea that Holly is friends with Alison is ‘nonsense,’ claiming that the presenter ‘liked mixing in circles, which she thought would open doors for her.’
He added: ‘And they’re always seen I mean, this nonsense that goes on that Holly Willoughby now has Alison Hammond as her best friend, and it’s Alison Hammond’s birthday party and Alison Hammond goes to Holly Willoughby’s select night out with her friends.
‘This wouldn’t have happened two years ago. You kidding? Alison has been on that programme 13 years.
‘And I’m sure there was very little contact between her and the presenters. But then it all changed. They use people, just use other people. It’s disgusting. And it’s tolerated.
Alison and Holly co-hosted This Morning together for the first time last month, and were lauded by viewers for their chemistry.
The Big Brother star, is tipped as the favourite to take over from Phillip as This Morning’s main host, having presented the show on Fridays and during the school holidays since 2020.
In his interview, Eamonn accused ITV of a ‘total cover up’ over Phillip’s affair, claiming that ‘those in authority had to know’ about the secret relationship because the man would be ferried between Phil’s flat and studios in taxis ‘paid for by ITV’.
He told Dan that he had decided to stand up for ‘people who hadn’t got a voice’. He revealed that Schofield’s lover, who MailOnline has decided not to name, had been badly hurt by Phil and suggested he was a victim of the man he branded a ‘chief narcissist’.
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.
Savage: Eamonn insisted that the idea that Holly is friends with Alison is ‘nonsense,’ claiming that the presenter ‘liked mixing in circles, which she thought would open doors for her’
Besties! Alison and Holly co-hosted This Morning together for the first time last month, and were lauded by viewers for their chemistry
He said: ‘Unless Phillip paid the bills separately, but it would still have to go through the Accounts Office. They would have seen that and known’.
Schofield took to social media yesterday to defend himself and the show he presented for more than 20 years, posting on Instagram: ‘Now I no longer work on This Morning I am free to say this.
‘I hope you have noticed that it is the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice. This Morning is the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there, there was no toxicity’.
Appearing on Wootton’s show on Monday, Holmes hit back at the statement. ‘[Schofield] was so rude,’ he said. ‘This nonsense that he wrote today about toxicity, it’s a happy place and whatever… what planet does this man live on? He created an atmosphere where people hated him, that people would avoid them in the corridor, he didn’t look at anybody, he didn’t know anybody’s names.
‘Holly doesn’t know people’s names either. This is legendary within the production team, how distant they are, and how they just don’t care’.
READ MORE: Phillip’s ‘Playtime Thursdays’ with his young lover: Schofield ferried show runner between his £1m flat and This Morning studio
He added: ‘Not only should Phillip go, but [co-host] Holly [Willoughby] should follow him out the door. I don’t think you’ll ever see Holly back on the couch again.’
Holmes also claimed Schofield would take his former lover back to his £1 million flat in an exclusive block within the studios at White City, in West London. The pair would enter through an adjacent hotel to avoid any suspicions of their secret trysts, the paper reported.
On Friday, Phillip admitted that he had lied about his relationship with the man, plunging ITV into meltdown and losing millions of pounds of sponsorship deals in the aftermath.
He also told how his wife Ruth Langsford is still in touch with Phil’s ex-lover, who he described as a ‘lovely fella’, but ‘life is tough’ for him.
Speaking of the scandal engulfing ITV, Eamonn said: ‘It’s a total cover up. Those in authority had to know.
‘They had to know what was going on and they thought they would dodge the bullet which they did and they do constantly.
‘All I’m here to do is to speak for people who hadn’t got a voice… I’m speaking on behalf of them,’ he added.
Holmes claimed that Phillip and his young lover would go out and enjoy ‘playtime’ on Thursdays, with the man staying overnight at his £1million London flat.
The following day, the pair would arrive at ITV Studios in separate cars from Schofield’s home, he added.
Holmes said: ‘Usually on a Friday morning, because 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.’
MailOnline has approached ITV for comment.
Explosive: It comes as Eamonn also accused ITV of a ‘total cover up’ over Phillip Schofield’s affair with a This Morning colleage, which he admitted to on Friday in a shocking statement
Revelation: Holmes claimed that Phillip and his young lover would go out and enjoy ‘playtime’ on Thursdays, with the man staying overnight at his £1million London flat
Last night sources close to Schofield said of the interview: ‘Phillip is not in a great place right now. If Eamonn Holmes wants to be that cruel to someone in Phillip’s position then that I think says more about Eamonn than Phillip.’
ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo refused to answer questions about Schofield after being pursued on the street by a GB News producer.
He was asked outside a station whether there had been a ‘cover up’ of the affair, but Mr Lygo walked away, telling the producer: ‘We really have no more to say.’
ITV has continued to insist that it carried out an investigation in 2020, after rumours of Schofield’s affair with a younger male employee began to circulate.
But last night, while ITV maintains both parties were interviewed, sources close to his former lover said he was never quizzed on the matter.
Ahead of the interview, Holmes and Wootton, who also used to work for ITV, pledged to tell ‘the real story’ behind Schofield’s affair.
Holmes tweeted: ‘A lie unchallenged becomes the truth. Not on my watch it doesn’t Pip.
Timeline of the Phillip Schofield scandal
September 2022 – Schofield and 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 is found guilty of ’emotionally blackmailing’ the teenager into performing sex acts and watching porn with him.
May 10 – Reports emerge Phillip and Holly are ‘barely speaking’, but a day later he issues a statement calling Holly ‘my rock’.
May 15 – The pair present a united front while presenting This Morning, but rumours of a feud continue. The pair are said to have fallen out due to Phillip’s failure to warn Holly 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 – Holly blasts Phillip 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.
‘Tonight is for all my workmates over the years who were frightened and ignored by you and your controlling, coercive behaviour.
‘All you who no one listened to. I’m here for you.’
He also added that he was ‘just telling the truth in the face of a coercive controller’.
It is unclear who exactly he was referring to as a ‘coercive controller’.
Earlier today, Schofield broke his silence slamming a ‘handful of people’ with ‘persistently loud voices’ and rejected claims that there was a ‘toxic’ on the show.
In a statement posted on his Instagram, the 61-year-old presenter said: ‘Now I no longer work on This Morning I am free to say this. I hope you have noticed that it’s the same handful of people with a grudge against me or the show who seem to have the loudest voice.
‘This Morning IS the best show to work on, with the best people. In all the years I worked there was no toxicity.
‘You can listen to those persistently loud voices if you like. But the thousands of guests over the years, thousands of staff and crew, hundreds of presenters and contributors all know it, it IS a family of wonderful, talented, kind, hard, working people.’
Shortly after the statement, Holmes, who has been a critic of Schofield for a number of years, released his own thoughts.
The 63-year-old 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!’
He and Schofield were never close but appreciated each other’s broadcasting styles and worked professionally alongside each other.
Yet in 2019, the pair fell out after Holmes’ wife Ruth Langsford filed an official complaint against Schofield after she was cut off mid-air by the presenter as she was explaining what was coming up on her mini section of This Morning.
Schofield 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 Langsford responded: ‘Well, I only had about two more words to say,’ and looked away from the camera.
In February 2022, Holmes publicly condemned Schofield on the matter, telling the Daily Mail’s Weekend magazine that his wife was one of many people within the television industry that had been ‘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.
EXCLUSIVE: ‘If I’m still getting away with it, I’ll be a happy man’: Phillip Schofield’s comments to his younger lover caught on video
‘I don’t go for presenters who think they have a special privilege or aura or influence.’
Last night’s interview comes a day after This Morning’s former resident doctor Dr Ranj Singh called out the programme for having a ‘toxic culture’.
He said he had raised concerns about ‘bullying and discrimination’ two years ago while he was still working on the programme but felt like he was ‘managed out’ for whistleblowing’.
Dr Ranj said he raised his concerns with senior executives at ITV because he had been heavily involved in ‘diversity, anti-bullying and mental health projects’ across the channel.
‘I then found myself being used less and less,’ he continued.
‘I even took my concerns directly to the top of ITV: the culture at This Morning had become toxic, no longer aligned with ITV values, and I felt like because I whistle-blew I was managed out.
‘But as history and experience have taught us, things like bullying and discrimination are very hard to prove, particularly in hindsight and when the ‘people in power’ control the narrative.
‘As we’ve seen, no review or investigation is foolproof.’
An ITV Spokesperson said in response to his post: ‘We are sorry to read Dr Ranj’s post today.
‘At ITV we are fully committed to providing every opportunity for anyone who works with us to raise any concern or comments they may have.
‘Following a complaint made by Dr Ranj, we appointed an external and independent advisor to carry out a review. This external review found no evidence of bullying or discrimination.’
This Morning has been the site of an ongoing scandal after Schofield admitted in a statement to the Daily Mail on Friday that he had lied about his relationship with a younger man to ITV, his lawyers, his talent agency and his co-star of 14 years.
On Monday the scandal showed no signs of easing with new photos emerging of a smiling Schofield with his former lover and Holly Willoughby in 2018 as they left a This Morning Live event.
In another blow to the ITV programme, with This Morning’s biggest sponsor Arnold Clark announcing it would be pulling out of its existing multi-million-pound deal with the channel this autumn as planned.
Open: Holmes also told how his wife Ruth Langsford (pictured) is still in touch with Phil’s ex-lover, who he described as a ‘lovely fella’, but ‘life is tough’ for him
And the Mail revealed that while ITV insists that it held an investigation into the men’s relationship when rumours began to circulate in 2020, the host’s former lover is reported to have never been quizzed over the matter.
Willoughby is understood to be battling to maintain her presenting role on the show and hopes to ride out the scandal.
She has been off-air since Schofield’s sudden departure, but this was due to a planned holiday for the school half term break.
The presenter, who has fronted the show for 14 years, is expected to make a return to the programme on Monday, June 5.
But Willoughby is facing calls for her to also leave the show, with former culture secretary Nadine Dorries who claimed the much loved presenter ‘has questions to answer’.
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