Defiant Holly Willoughby: ‘I’m better off alone’

Insiders say Holly has sworn there’s no going back to her former TV co-host as she pursues a solo career

holly willoughby

by Closer staff |
Published on

She’s been thriving ever since her return to TV last month – and insiders say Holly Willoughby is determined to keep her star rising and re-establish herself as the golden girl of TV – but this time, focusing on more solo projects.

A source tells Closer, “Holly’s feeling amazing at the moment – returning to TV was a decision that she spent ages agonising over, but it’s been great and she wants to take on even more now that she’s finally got her confidence back.

“She’ll probably carry on doing Dancing On Ice in the future, but the talks she’s having with ITV are about new solo work and shows she can do on her own.”

holly willoughby
holly returned to dancing on ice ©Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock

The past 16 months have seen Holly – who shares children Harry, 14, Belle, 12, and nine-year-old Chester with husband Dan Baldwin – face her biggest hurdles and heartbreaks yet.

Following her “Queuegate” scandal in September 2022 – during which This Morning viewers accused Holly and former co-host Phillip Schofield of using their celebrity status to skip the line at the late Queen’s lying-in-state – Holly’s career spiralled as she was hit by several professional and personal challenges.

In May last year, Holly’s life changed irreversibly when her 17-year friendship with Phil sensationally came to end after he admitted to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a much younger male colleague.

holly willoughby and phillip schofield
the pair together on this morning ©SMeddle/ITV/Shutterstock

Their bitter rift played out under the glare of the spotlight as Phil quit the show and became estranged from Holly, who told This Morning viewers that she had been left feeling “shaken, troubled and let down” by the actions of her former best friend.

Holly then quit This Morning six months later, saying she was “making this decision for me and my family”.

But after a three-month hiatus, Holly came back on our screens for Dancing On Ice in January, which she now hosts alongside pal Stephen Mulhern. And while there’s nothing confirmed for when DOI finishes, last month reports claimed Holly has been tipped for the next season of BBC’s remake of Gladiators.

And insiders say that following her successful TV return, Holly is keen to cement her status as one of the UK’s top presenters on her own.

The source says, “Moving forward, Holly doesn’t want to be part of a double act when presenting. All through her career she’s been known as the third wheel with Ant and Dec or one half of Phil and Holly. Now she wants to front her own projects – she feels she’ll be better off going it alone.”

While Holly has made a comeback, Phil, 61, has stepped away from the spotlight, but rumours have swirled over the past few months that he could be planning to release a book or potentially attempt a TV comeback.

holly willoughby dan baldwin
with husband dan ©Getty Images: Ricky Vigil M/GC Images

Closer recently reported that the pair had been in touch after Holly, 43, wanted to send out an olive branch and make peace with Phil.

And a source says that, should Phil return to TV, Holly is adamant that there is no going back to how they were.

An insider tells Closer, “Phil is making his moves to return to the limelight – but Holly has no interest in working with him again. That ship has sailed and too much has happened for her to be able to work with Phillip in the future or to be associated with him.

“They were very close for a long time – best friends. But now they barely speak.

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“It has been tough for them both at times as they spent so much of their lives at each other’s side. But Holly sees it a bit like a break up – and it’s better to have a clean break than trying to play at being friends.”

The source adds, however, that should Holly take on more work, her priority would still be – and always will be – her family.

The source says, “Holly is really liking the balance between her home life and her work this time around. It has worked well with the extra time she now has, not being on This Morning, and she’d still be conscious not to take on too much.

“But she’s hungry to get out there and take on more projects. She wants to stand out on her own and front her own show and focus on her own projects. She feels like this year could be her big chance, and she doesn’t want to miss it.”

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