Phillip Schofield said he has “lost everything” in the wake of his affair with a younger male colleague and told of a “catastrophic effect” on his mind.
The former This Morning presenter, 61, said the fallout from the revelations had been “relentless” and urged the media to leave his former lover “alone now”.
Speaking to the BBC’s Amol Rajan, he told of the criticism he has faced since admitting to the affair, saying: “Do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am.”
He said he saw “nothing ahead” of him and he had to talk about his career in television “in the past tense”.
He said: “It is relentless, and it is day after day, after day after day.
“If you don’t think that that is going to have the most catastrophic effect on someone’s mind – do you want me to die? Because that’s where I am.
“I have lost everything.”
Referring to the Love Island host who took her own life in February 2020, he added: “I think I understand how Caroline Flack felt.”
Schofield resigned from ITV last week and was dropped by his talent agency YMU after admitting to the “unwise but not illegal” relationship.
In his first interviews since leaving the broadcaster and This Morning, he said he was “utterly broken and ashamed” but denied claims he had “groomed” the man.
In the BBC interview Schofield praised his daughters Ruby and Molly for “guarding him”, telling Rajan: “Last week, if my daughters hadn’t been there then I wouldn’t be here. And they’ve guarded me and won’t let me out of their sight, it’s like a weird numbness.
“I know that’s a selfish point of view. But you come to a point where you just think, how much are you supposed to take? If all of those people that write all that stuff, do they ever think that there’s actually a person at the other end?”
Asked by Rajan, the BBC’s media editor, if he was strong enough to do the interview, Schofield replied: “I have to.”
When pressed as to why, Schofield said in reference to his former colleague: “Because there is an innocent person here who didn’t do anything wrong, who is vulnerable and probably feels like I do.
“And I just have to say stop with him, ok with me, but stop with him. Leave him alone now.”
Schofield told the BBC that the first time he had any “kind of sexual contact” with his former This Morning colleague, the younger man was 20.
He said the pair had last spoken when Schofield “engaged a lawyer for him”, adding: “He needed independent support. So that was the last time.”
Recounting the first time they met, he said: “I was invited by a friend of mine to go to open a drama school. But whether it was immediately or sometime after, he said, ‘will you follow him on Twitter, because he’s a fan’. So I said, ‘yeah, sure, no problem’, which I did.”
Rajan added: “And he was what, 15 at the time?”
Schofield said: “I follow 11,300 people, and in all the time I’ve been on Twitter, there has never been any whiff of impropriety.”
He told Rajan the man was 19 when he had first expressed interest in a television career, and when asked by Rajan if, looking back on their messages, there was “any sense in which you were flirting with him?”, Schofield said: “No, I’ve been 41 years in television. Nothing like this before. No accusations. I mean, this is all accusations.”
During the interview, Schofield also spoke about his friend and This Morning co-presenter Holly Willoughby, with reports in the weeks prior to him stepping down saying the pair had drifted apart.
Asked who on the team knew about the relationship, Schofield said: “To my knowledge, I mean, somebody has to know something for there to be a rumour later on. I didn’t believe that anybody knew.”
He said he had not told Willoughby of the relationship, saying: “No, God, no. That’s a bigger question. Because we have, our make-up room was like a sanctuary, has always been a sanctuary.
“So you tell everything in that room. Holly knows everything about me. I know everything about Holly, Holly did not know. Nobody knew.”
The pair had presented This Morning together since 2009, with Willoughby due to return to the show on Monday after the half-term break, having taken an early holiday after news of Schofield’s departure emerged.
Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary have been among the presenters hosting the programme in recent weeks.
Schofield went on to say that his “greatest apology” over the fallout from the affair was to his former lover and that he would “die sorry” for what he had done.
In a sign he believes his television career is over, he told Rajan: “I see nothing ahead of me but blackness and sadness and regret and remorse and guilt.”
He said: “I’m not in television any more, I don’t know what I am even remotely – if I get through this.
“I don’t know even remotely how I move forward – what am I going to do with my days?”
He went on: “I did something very wrong and then I lied about it consistently and you can’t live with that. How do you live with that?”
Schofield added being dropped as an ambassador by the Prince’s Trust charity “broke my heart”.
“I can’t remember how long I’ve been there,” he told the BBC.
It comes after ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall was called to a parliamentary committee on June 14 to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling following Schofield’s exit.
In a letter seen by the PA news agency on Wednesday, the chief executive revealed the broadcaster had instructed barrister Jane Mulcahy KC of Blackstone Chambers, to carry out an external review of the facts.
It also said the broadcaster had “reviewed” its records and said “when rumours of a relationship” between Schofield and an employee of ITV emerged, they “both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours”.