Holly Willoughby on This Morning / Phillip Schofield on This Morning

Holly Willoughby warned over building close friendship with This Morning co-presenters following Schofield drama

Holly hasn't had a regular co-host since Phillip left

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This Morning star Holly Willoughby has faced a warning over building a close friendship with her fellow co-presenters following the Schofield scandal.

The warning came after Holly spent a week hosting the show alongside Dermot O’Leary earlier this summer. He was her third different co-host since Phillip’s exit in May.

Holly Willoughby speaking on This Morning
Holly has been issued with a warning (Credit: ITV)

This Morning star Holly Willoughby issued warning

Speaking exclusively to ED!, Zoe Clews, a Friendship Therapist and the founder of Zoe Clews & Associates, believes Holly will have “plenty of opportunity” to build a close bond with a new co-star like the one she had with Phillip. However, she has also issued the 42-year-old star with a warning.

“There is always an opportunity to build new friendships, the ending of one friendship, no matter how dramatic, certainly doesn’t have to dictate the quality and direction of new friendships,” she told us.

“But I believe Holly would need to be careful to be seen not to be latching onto other presenters too quickly now when she was reportedly aloof and uninterested in them previously,” she then said.

“The world of TV is notoriously fickle and what is presented on screen can be an entirely different story behind the scenes, whilst outwardly Holly may appear to make new strong friendships with her co-presenters the reality may be quite different.”

Holly Willoughby and Dermot O'Leary on This Morning
Holly and Dermot have been hosting together following Phillip’s exit (Credit: ITV)

Will Holly Willoughby make strong bonds with fellow This Morning stars?

Zoe then continued. She said: “Speculation is rife that Holly must have known about Philip’s affair, so there will be a lack of trust in her from the general public, trust always needs to be rebuilt and slowly, so any new friendships that Holly builds with her co-presenters should be taken slowly both for herself and for the public to rebuild trust.”

She then added: “Any turbo-bonding with new presenters will likely feel artificial to viewers.”

When asked how long it could take for Holly to build a new bond, Zoe said there is “no set timeline”. However, jumping into a new friendship with a co-presenter may well feel like a “lifeboat” after all that has happened.

“But its wise to remember that good things happen slowly, especially where there has been toxicity, hurt, pain, and grief to heal from,” she then added.

Zoe then said that Holly will “really need to put the work in” to forge “genuine” friendships.

Phillip Schofield on This Morning
Phillip is receiving counselling (Credit: ITV)

ITV paying for Phillip Schofield’s counselling

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that ITV are currently paying for Phillip’s counselling after his exit from the broadcaster. They are also reportedly paying for counselling for his ex-lover too.

Speaking in Parliament, Dame Carolyn revealed that Phillip had been “receiving counselling” since his departure from ITV. She also said that she is “very concerned” about his welfare.

“We have remained in touch with Phillip, as you would expect, and he is receiving counselling which ITV are funding. He asked for that and we’re very happy to do that,” she said.

Carolyn also confirmed Phillip’s ex-lover is also receiving counselling as part of a “package of support”.

Read more: Now This Morning viewers are expressing concern for Holly Willoughby

A message to you, from Holly | This Morning

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Robert Emlyn Slater
Senior Writer