This Morning's Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield left fans "cringing" after sharing a kiss and a hug on today's show amid ongoing reports of a "feud" brewing between them.
The popular ITV morning show has faced much scrutiny in recent days amid claims that former best friends and long time colleagues Holly Willoughby, 42, and Phillip Schofield, 61, have had a falling out.
Viewers have dissected every interaction between the pair on social media, while former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes has even weighed in on the Holly and Phil "witch hunt".
During today's show, Holly revealed she wouldn't be sticking around for the duration and would have to leave the ITV studio at 12pm, half an hour before the show finishes, in order to head to Buckingham Palace to join King Charles to congratulate the winners of the Prince's Trust Awards.
The lauded annual event aims to recognise young people who've succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life, and had a positive impact on their local community.
Explaining, Holly said: "I put my posh dress on today because later on this afternoon I am heading to Buckingham Palace and there the King will be, and we get to introduce the award winners to the King so he can say well done, which is all quite exciting isn't it?"
Phil replied: "So you are off mid day-ish and I am holding the fort," which prompted Holly to offer a "thank you". When it came time for mum-of-three Holly to leave, she leaned in to Phil and pecked him on the cheek.
Viewers took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the "awkward" exchange.
One viewer said: "This is awkward". Another said: "Still laughing at how Holly couldn't get away quick enough blink and you'd miss her leave".
A third fan quipped: "It was really kind of HM The King to save Holly Willoughby from having to endure more time with Phillip Schofield", adding a crying laughing emoji.
A fourth commented: "That hug and kiss – oh wow that takes the title for the definition of cringe". And another added: "Two little cheek kisses. Absolutely Oscar performances. The best acting moment yet."
The duo have worked together on This Morning since 2009 after first meeting on Dancing on Ice back in 2006, and they were known for their authentic close bond.
Phil has referred to Holly as his "rock", with the pair often holidaying together with their families over the years. Now, it is said the pair are barely speaking off camera.
After reports of the pair’s relationship coming under strain, last week, Phillip said in a statement to The Sun: “We’re the best of friends – as always, she is an incredible support on screen, behind the scenes and on the phone.
“Holly has always been there for me, through thick and thin. And I’ve been there for her. The last few weeks haven’t been easy for either of us.”
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