Holly Willoughby has always referred to Phillip Schofield as her big brother, and it’s clear the pair are closer than ever. This was never more obvious than last week, when Holly came to her friend’s defence when former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes openly had a dig at Phil.
In an interview, Eamonn, 62, called Phil “passive-aggressive”, adding that he is “known for snubbing people” in reference to an incident where he interrupted Ruth Langsford live on air. Just a couple of days later, to mark 40 years since Phil has been working in showbiz, Holly took to Instagram with a defiantly proud and gushing post about the 59-year-old presenter.
“Today the TV oracle marks his 40th year in the business,” she wrote. “For a long time, I watched you, and then for the last 15 years I have been lucky enough to sit alongside you. You have taught me so much; you have always been patient and generous with me… It’s been an honour to play a part in your TV story… love you to bits.”
An insider close to the 41 year old tells heat that she feels strongly about defending Phil.
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“Holly doesn’t usually like getting herself involved in any drama, but she puts her foot down when people come out and attack Phil,” we’re told. “Live television is always stressful and mistakes happen, but regardless, Holly feels what happens on the show should remain between the stars.
“She doesn’t feel the need to come out swinging in public, but privately she’s let it be known that she is not happy with what Eamonn has said and how he has conducted himself. Holly has pointed out that it was not her or Phil’s decision to shake up the Friday presenters, they have just been going with the flow and doing what’s asked of them.”
Eamonn has been quite outspoken since he and wife Ruth Langsford, 61, were dropped from their Friday morning slot on This Morningand replaced with Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond, and he often expresses his feelings through “liking” tweets. Last week, he liked one that read, “I stopped watching once you and Ruth went from TM. I knew someone who worked behind the scenes on TM. She said you were both so lovely. But Phillip Schofield was rude and had no time for them.”
But our source says Holly couldn’t disagree more with the sentiment that Eamonn is pushing about her co-host.
“Working closely with Phil over all these years, she’s seen what a consummate professional he is – he is kind and fair. She will not tolerate people attacking him – he doesn’t deserve it and she will always defend him and be grateful for how much he has supported her.”
Read more in the latest issue of heat magazine – OUT NOW.