The trust between Holly Willoughby, Phillip Schofield and their fans is ruined

The trust between Holly Willoughby, Phillip Schofield and their fans is ruined


‘As I have said before, Holly is my rock.

‘We’re the best of friends – as always, she is an incredible support on screen, behind the scenes and on the phone,’ stressed Phillip Schofield when murmurs of his reported fall out with Holly Willoughby began to emerge last week.

It’s been five days since he made the public declaration that, contrary to the headlines, his lucrative friendship with Holly – once thought to be one of the most unbreakable bonds on television – is still going strong.

Holly’s response? Well, we’re still waiting on it. It appears she is less keen to quash the rumours – and you can’t deny the impact it’s had on This Morning fans.

It seems harder to trust and relate to the pair than ever before.

While Schofe has tried to play down reports of a row, he hasn’t flat out denied that their friendship is going through a rough patch. 

She may still be his ‘rock’, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been tested by an argument of sorts.

Like all friendships, particularly ones as close as Holly and Phil’s, it’s not surprising that disagreements happen.

It happens to the best of friends, but hopefully you eventually realise that nothing is worth losing the love you have for each other – and then you move on. Wiser, stronger. 

Carrying on as if there is nothing happening behind the scenes or in the headlines is only pushing fans away

Perhaps Holly and Phil will do just that in time, and whatever tension there is said to be between them will pass.

Their friendship together may be repairable, but what about their relationship with This Morning fans?

After a weekend of endless headlines about their turmoil, it seemed inevitable they’d at least make some reference to the drama. 

Surely, they’d say something? They know the public can’t be so gullible to believe they’re not aware everyone tuning in is waiting for some acknowledgment that there has been constant speculation over their friendship.

Actually, no.

On Monday’s This Morning, Holly and Phil opened the show like they normally would – playfully teasing each other with the biggest grins on their faces; even if you could see the screams of ‘there’s nothing to see here’ without the words directly coming out of their mouths.

As if it was another typical Monday morning, they swiftly moved onto the day’s headlines, glossing over the fact that several newspapers had their faces plastered on the front pages.

Absolutely no one was buying it, and how could they? If anything, their silence only affirms that there is something to hide.

The problem Holly and Phil face, however, is unique to a This Morning host.

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While adding any more attention to the reports – which are still pouring in – is obviously a PR nightmare, the relationship they have with their fanbase is unlike any other television presenter has with theirs.

The foundation of This Morning is arguably having two best mates having a laugh and inviting fans into the living room set-up of its studio to join in on the joke.

Without being a huge This Morning fan, I have spent many hours watching Holly and Phil’s uncontrollable giggles on YouTube because – whether you’ve ever tuned into the show or not – it’s their priceless joy that gets everyone cackling along with them.

But those moments of genuine hysteria between them though have been noticeably missing for a while.

More than that, they’ve always been frank and refreshingly open with their fans, too.

When it was rumoured that Phil was gay, he came out on This Morning live, clinging onto his best friend Holly for support. Their embrace was so obviously genuine, it was the hug between two dear friends there for each other in their most terrifying moments. 

As Phil said last week, Holly has been his ‘rock’ and we’ve all been witness to that in such a monumental way it’s hard to remember another TV duo who really let their fans into their relationship quite so openly.

But if they’re not going to be honest with their extremely loyal fans, who have stood by them for the last 14 years, they risk losing that trust for good – if they haven’t already.

Since the now notorious ‘queue-gate’ scandal last year, where they somehow sparked relentless backlash for appearing to skip the lines to walk past the Queen’s coffin, many of their viewers struggled to forgive them.

Their biggest critics came out in force and, during a particularly sensitive time for many of their fans mourning over the Queen’s death, they were painted as self-important villains.

Personally, I never quite understood the furore, but it has felt as though their chemistry never quite returned to its hey-day since then.

However, at the next possible moment on This Morning, in a pre-recorded segment, they faced the backlash head on to address the criticism. Did it end the controversy? No. But it did help, and certainly made it clear to their fans that it was vital to keep their trust with a mutual respect.  

Realistically, at this point, when it’s so abundantly clear there is tension between them, it’s almost disrespectful to their audience not to at least address it.

How they move forward, well it seems there’s only two directions this can go…

First, they could admit that their friendship has been stronger, assure fans that they’re working through a bump in the road, but hope to get through it. 

Or they go their separate ways – leave This Morning and the exhausting scrutiny that comes with it behind.

Granted, neither sound appealing – the first seems totally unrealistic – but carrying on as if there is nothing happening behind the scenes or in the headlines is only pushing their fans away further.

Fall out or no fall out, the trust between Holly, Phil and their fans is in ruins.

This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV

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