Leigh Francis has revealed he hasn’t seen his former best friend Holly Willoughby since his birthday party in April.
The pair, who developed a close friendship during Holly’s 12-year stint on ITV2’s Celebrity Juice, have not met for the past five months, which has been a turbulent time for the This Morning star.
In an exclusive interview with Web, Leigh, best known for his alter ego Keith Lemon, said he reached out to both Holly, 42, and Phillip Schofield, 61, as the This Morning drama unfolded .
Phil stepped down from presenting the daytime show after 21 years as he admitted he had repeatedly lied to his bosses about having an affair with a runner.
This left his friendship with Holly in tatters as the presenter recently unfollowed his ex-girlfriend on Instagram.
‘I haven’t seen her since the TV drama’: Leigh Francis has revealed he hasn’t seen his former best friend Holly Willoughby since his birthday party in April
Thoughtful: Leigh said he reached out to both Holly, 42, and Phillip Schofield, 61, as the This Morning drama unfolded
Leigh told Web: “The last time I saw Holly was on my birthday. “I haven’t seen her since all the TV drama.
“The last time I saw her in real life was in April. During all the TV drama, I just text people and ask, “Are you okay?”
“I reached out to everyone.”
Following Phil’s departure in May, This Morning faced an uncertain future and wondered whether Holly would continue to host following the scandal.
However, the presenter returned to host the show and played her part in the investigation by insisting she knew nothing about Phillip’s affair, while her friends reportedly insisted she had “nothing to hide”.
Leigh spoke about why he thinks his girlfriend Holly decided to move on after the backlash.
He joked: “They pay well, don’t they?” before adding: “I suspect she still enjoys it, so I think you should leave a show when you’re no longer enjoying it.”
Leigh also gave an insight into his friendship with Fearne Cotton, who was team captain on his show Celebrity Juice from 2008 to 2018.
He said: “We mostly talk about clothes, but every now and then she just texts me and says, ‘How are you?’ She’s really busy with her Happy Place Festival, which I’ve never been to.”
Come on, let’s go party! Holly attended Leigh’s birthday dressed as Barbie with her husband Dan Baldwin in April
Friends: The pair, who developed a close friendship during Holly’s 12-year stint on Celebrity Juice on ITV2, have not met in the last five months (pictured with Fearne Cotton)
This Morning suffered a setback when it lost its daytime TV gong to the BBC’s Repair Shop at NTA’s earlier this month, and Holly also missed out on a nomination in the Best Presenter category.
But despite all this, the presenter is said to be in talks to host a number of primetime shows and he’s “not going anywhere” from This Morning.
A source told The Mirror: “Holly loves This Morning, sees her future on the sofa and isn’t going anywhere.”
“But she is always open to all new ideas and opportunities, especially in prime time, to exist alongside her daytime role.”
The source added that Holly has “completely moved on” from the Phillip scandal, which led to him quiting ITV after admitting he had an affair with a younger This Morning colleague.
The source continued: “It was a difficult time but Holly did nothing wrong and was always very open and honest. “In fact, in many ways the conflict has only strengthened her spiritually.”
Holly addressed the claims of toxic culture that have engulfed the show on the NTAs red carpet.
She said: “We are very blessed, we have a great team, it really is.”
“I know there’s been a lot of talk about things and I personally don’t want to speak on behalf of other people, it’s a world I don’t recognize.”
“I look around and see the team preparing and giving it their all. ‘I just want to come to work and get more out of it.’