This Morning stand-in hosts Rochelle Humes and Craig Doyle today paid tribute to Holly Willoughby following her shock exit from the show – saying her decision was ‘heartbreaking’ but she was ‘quite rightly putting her family first’.
The TV host, 42, announced her decision to step down from the show after an alleged ‘kidnap and murder plot’ emerged last week. She said yesterday that she was quitting the ITV daytime programme ‘for me and my family’.
Stand-in host Rochelle Humes opened today’s show by sending her ‘love, best wishes, and respect’ to Holly, before adding that she was ‘recent events, especially in the past week, have been hard to deal with’.
She told viewers: ‘Holly loved her job here and was really looking forward to the future of the show, but recent events especially in the past week have been hard to deal with and she’s quite rightly putting her family first.’
Craig added that her decision to leave was ‘heartbreaking’ but ‘as Holly knows only too well, the show must go on.’
‘On behalf of everyone here. In front and behind the camera we just loved working with Holly she made coming to work so much fun. We are really, really sad and we’re really going to miss her,’ he added.
Emotional opening credits included messages for the outgoing host, which said ‘we will miss you’, ‘family comes first’ and ‘goodbye Holly’.
Holly pictured alongside Josie Gibson in her last appearance on This Morning last Wednesday
Holly Willoughby’s former colleagues wish their best to her in today’s show, following her departure from hosting This Morning after 14 years
Holly’s first appearance on This Morning alongside Philip Schofield, 14 years ago
Today, Rochelle Humes and Craig Doyle opened the show by wishing the former This Morning presenter their best
Holly last appeared on the show last Wednesday, alongside Josie Gibson – at the time viewers did not know it would be her last.
An ITV executive said she will be ‘missed enormously’ as she posted an emotional statement to her eight million Instagram followers.
This Morning boss Kevin Lygo dropped a huge hint about the presenter’s future as he wished her well in a statement following her exit.
In her post to Instagram, Holly said it was an ‘honour to just be part of its story’ over the last 14 years but that she feels ‘I have to make this decision for me and my family’.
However, Managing Director of Media and Entertainment at ITV, Kevin suggested that Holly’s relationship with ITV isn’t over forever.
In his statement, Kevin said that ITV look forward to working with Holly in the future as he suggested it won’t be the last viewers see of her on the channel.
He said: ‘We are sad that Holly is leaving This Morning, but respect her decision which we know will have been extremely difficult for her to make.
‘Holly is one of the best loved, respected and most accomplished broadcasters in the UK.
‘She has been at the heart of This Morning for the past 14 years, and she is adored by our viewers.
‘Holly has brought her unique brand of warmth, energy, humour and fun to one of the country’s most popular daytime shows, and everyone on the programme will miss her enormously.
Goodbye: Holly Willoughby will be ‘missed enormously’ following her departure from hosting This Morning, an ITV executive said today
It’s over: It has been claimed that Holly quit the show because the show ‘wasn’t the same’ after her co-host Phillip Schofield left but was finally ‘tipped over the edge’ by an alleged ‘kidnap and murder plot’
Co-host Craig Doyle (left) said: ‘Last night Holly made what we know would’ve been a heartbreaking decision to leave this morning after 14 years’
Statement: This Morning boss Kevin Lygo dropped a huge hint about the presenter’s future as he wished her well in a statement following her exit (pictured August 2023)
‘She remains a much loved member of the ITV family and we look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.’
Holly , acknowledging that leaving is ‘such a difficult goodbye’, thanked the network for ‘being supportive’.
She also expressed her gratitude to the ‘wonderful viewers’ that she says have been ‘loyal, so supportive and the very best company’ over the years.
Her exit from the show comes after a former Pizza Hut worker was remanded in custody last week charged over an alleged plot to kidnap and murder Ms Willoughby.
Gavin Plumb, 36, from Harlow, Essex, is accused of offences including soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap in relation to the broadcaster.
Insiders have now told MailOnline that the alleged plot pushed Ms Willoughby to quit, but added that it had been in chaos since Mr Schofield’s exit.
This Morning has due to be relaunched in January with Ms Willoughby and a new host, sources say. Good Morning Britain‘s Ben Shephard was believed to be the favourite to replace Mr Schofield.
As Rochelle and Craig paid tribute to Holly, visuals of her with her fellow co-presenters were shown including Alison Hammond (pictured)
Having her say: Holly, 42, announced last night that she ‘will not be returning’ to the show. She said it was an ‘honour to just be part of its story’ over the last 14 years but that she feels ‘I have to make this decision for me and my family’
Accused: Gavin Plumb, 36, appeared in the dock at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Friday accused of soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap
The TV presenter pulled out of hosting This Morning on Thursday and her London home was reportedly being guarded by police after Plumb was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of conspiracy to kidnap.
Holly’s full statement today said: ‘I have let ITV know today that after 14 years, I will not be returning to This Morning.
‘To everyone who has ever worked on the show over the years, thank you so so much. This is such a difficult goodbye, you are incredible and I forever will be proud of what we’ve done together.
‘Thank you to everyone at ITV for being supportive. To every guest who has sat on our sofa, thank you. Most of all, thank you to the wonderful viewers. You’ve been so loyal, so supportive and the very best company every day.
‘Richard and Judy said we only look after this show, it will always belong to the viewers’. It’s been an honour to just be part of it’s story and I know this story has many chapters left to go. Sadly, however, I now feel I have to make this decision for me and my family.
‘I will miss you all so much.’
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