Holly Willoughby has said she feels “shaken, troubled and let down” as she returned to ITV’s This Morning.
The presenter’s appearance on Monday’s show was her first since the departure of her co-host Phillip Schofield.
Willoughby addressed viewers directly and said it felt “very strange indeed sitting here without Phil”.
She added recent events had been “a lot to process” and thanked viewers for their messages of support.
Schofield left his role on This Morning last month following reports of a rift with Willoughby.
The 61-year-old later exited ITV altogether after he admitted lying about an affair he had with a young male colleague while he was still married.
Willoughby asked viewers: “Are you OK? I hope so, it feels very strange indeed sitting here without Phil. I imagine you might be feeling a lot like I have, shaken, troubled, let down, worried for the wellbeing of people on all sides of what’s going on, and full of questions.
“You, me and all of us at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth, who acted in a way that they themselves felt they had to resign from ITV and step down from a career that they loved.”
“That is a lot to process, and it’s equally hard to see the toll that it’s taken on their own mental health.Willoughby continued: “I think what unites us all now is a desire to heal, for the health and wellbeing of everyone. I hope that as we start this new chapter and get back to a place of warmth and magic that this show holds for all of us, we can find strength in each other.
“And from my heart, can I just say thank you for all of your kind messages, and thank you for being here this morning. Every single person that works on this show will continue to work hard every single day to bring you the show that we love.”
In an interview with BBC News last week, Schofield said he had accepted his career was over following the affair, describing it as a “grave error”.
Willoughby is presenting Monday’s episode of This Morning with Josie Gibson, a former Big Brother winner who regularly guests presents the ITV daytime show.
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