Leigh Francis reveals he hasn't seen Holly Willoughby in five months
EXCLUSIVE: Leigh Francis reveals he hasn’t seen Holly Willoughby since his birthday in April but reached out to Phil Schofield in midst of This Morning drama
Leigh Francis has revealed he has not seen Holly Willoughby since his birthday party in April.
The pair, who formed a close friendship during Holly’s 12-year stint on ITV2’s Celebrity Juice, have not met up in the last five months in what has been a turbulent time for the This Morning star.
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, Leigh, who is best known for his alter ego Keith Lemon, said he reached out to both Holly, 42, and Phillip Schofield, 61, when the This Morning drama unfolded.
Phil stepped down from presenting the daytime show after 21 years when he admitted he repeatedly lied to bosses about having an affair with a runner.
It left his friendship with Holly in tatters, with the host recently unfollowing his ex BFF on Instagram.
‘I haven’t seen her since the telly drama’: Leigh Francis has revealed he has not seen Holly Willoughby since his birthday party in April
Thoughtful: Leigh said he reached out to both Holly, 42, and Phillip Schofield , 61, when the This Morning drama unfolded
Leigh told MailOnline: ‘The last time I saw Holly was on my birthday. I haven’t seen her since all the telly drama.
‘April was the last time I saw her in real life. Throughout all the telly drama, I just text people and go, “Are you ok?”.’
‘I reached out to everyone.’
After Phil’s departure in May, This Morning faced an uncertain future with questions asked if Holly would continue to host after the scandal.
However, the presenter returned to front the show and played her part in the inquiry amid her insistence she knew nothing of Phillip’s affair, with her pals allegedly insisting that she has ‘nothing to hide’.
Leigh spoke about why he thought his friend Holly decided to stay on in the wake of the backlash.
He joked: ‘They pay well, don’t they?’ before adding: ‘I’m guessing she still enjoys it, so I think you should leave a show when you don’t enjoy it anymore.’
Leigh also gave an insight into his friendship with Fearne Cotton, who was team captain on his show Celebrity Juice from 2008 – 2018.
He said: ‘We talk about clothes mostly, but now and again she’ll just text me and say, “How’s it going?” She’s very busy with her Happy Place festival, which I’ve never been to.’
Let’s go party! Holly attended Leigh’s birthday dressed as Barbie alongside her husband Dan Baldwin in April
Friends: The pair, who formed a close friendship during Holly’s 12-year stint on ITV2 ‘s Celebrity Juice, have not met up in the last five months (pictured with Fearne Cotton)
This Morning suffered a blow when it lost its Daytime TV gong to the BBC’s Repair Shop at the NTA’s earlier this month, with Holly also missing out on a nomination in the Best Presenter category.
But despite all this, the presenter is said to be in talks to front a string of primetime shows and ‘is not going anywhere’ from This Morning.
A source told The Mirror: ‘Holly loves This Morning, sees her future very much on the sofa and is not going anywhere.
‘But she is always keen to listen about any new ideas, and opportunities, particularly in primetime, to co-exist along her daytime role.’
The source added Holly has ‘fully moved on’ from Phillip’s scandal, which saw him quit ITV after admitting he had an affair with a younger This Morning colleague.
The source continued: ‘It was a tough time, but Holly didn’t do anything wrong, and she has always been really upfront and honest. In fact the fall-out has only made her mentally stronger, in many respects.’
Holly addressed the toxic culture claims that have engulfed the show on the red carpet at the NTAs.
She said: ‘We are very blessed, we have a great team of people, we really do.
‘I know there’s been a lot of talk about things and for me personally, I don’t want to speak on behalf of other people, it’s a world I don’t recognise.
‘For me, I look around and see the team getting ready and giving it all. I just want to come to work and have more of that.’
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