Holly Willoughby’s fears: ‘I’ll never be free of him’

She’s worried what could be dragged up

holly willoughby

by heat staff |
Published on

He’s spent a whole year laying low, but finally it looks like Phillip Schofield could be making his TV comeback. And, a source tells heat, it’s leaving his former co-host Holly Willoughby, 43 – who’s currently in Costa Rica filming her new Netflix show Bear Hunt – feeling a little nervous.

The 62-year-old disgraced presenter broke his social media silence last week with a simple snap of his dog Alfie watching the Formula 1 on Instagram – his first post since May 2023. Garnering over 40,000 likes, it came a few days after he was spotted out and about laughing with I’m A Celebrity… presenter Declan Donnelly, 48, and his wife Ali. Far from it being a quick catch-up, it’s thought that the trio spent around four hours together over dinner – leading many to speculate that Phil’s TV comeback could be coming sooner than people think.

holly willoughby and phillip schofield
they were the tv power couple for over a decade ©Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

But, we’re told Phil’s rekindled friendship with Dec – who shares his own lucrative production company with Ant McPartlin – has left former best friend Holly feeling concerned.

Our source says, “Holly was upset when she saw the pictures. She’s understandably nervous about what a comeback could mean for her own reputation and career, and she feels that it could cause some unnecessary awkwardness between her and Dec.

“Phil knew exactly what he was doing and it’s all clearly part of his comeback plan – Holly knew he wouldn’t stay hidden away for long. She accepts that Dec and Phil go way back, and Ali used to work at his management company, but she can’t help feeling disappointed, what with her doing her new show and trying to move on from everything with Phil and This Morning.”

And with Phil and Holly finding their inner circles blurring, we’re told Holly is concerned that bumping into her former co-host could become a regular occurrence once she returns home from Costa Rica.

“Holly, [her husband] Dan and their kids are all close to Dec and Ali, and their kids – they all have homes near each other,” says our source.

“So, now Phil is back on friendly terms with Dec, of course Holly is concerned she may bump into him on nights out in London or when she spends the summer in Portugal [Holly, Phil and Dec all have holiday homes in the same area]. Last year, that wasn’t a risk, but with Phil planning a possible comeback, he’s going to want to be seen in the right places, with the right people.”

holly willoughby and dec donnelly
©James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock

The TV world was rocked last May after former golden boy Phillip stepped back from his long-term gig as presenter of This Morning following revelations of an affair with a much younger colleague. Months after his departure, Holly also departed the show, saying she was stepping back to focus on her family. After taking time off, the star returned to screens earlier this year for Dancing On Ice. Plus Holly’s new Netflix gig is also a sign of a fresh start for the star.

But, while she should be enjoying her time in Costa Rica, the ghost of her friendship with Phil looms large.

“Holly feels like she’ll never be free of his influence,” we’re told. “She and Phil were so close for years, and although they are on speaking terms, things are still strained and they are far from friends.

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“Unlike some, she was quick to distance herself from him, and she knows Phil feels hurt over how she seemed to wash her hands of him. A comeback will mean lots of press interviews and publicity, not only to promote whatever he does, but to try to repair his damaged reputation.”

And alongside her concerns over past dramas, we’re told Holly is also worried about what else may come to the surface in regard to the duo’s 17-year friendship.

The insider says, “Knowing that Phil is cosying up to close friends like Dec has made Holly more anxious, especially since she doesn’t know what’s been said. She’s worried he may want to talk about their fall out in some way – it’s left her head spinning.”

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