Phillip Schofield has suggested that homophobia could be behind some of the backlash over his affair with a younger male colleague.
The presenter, 61, said age-gaps in reported heterosexual relationships of Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio were “accepted”.
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 interview since leaving the broadcaster and This Morning, he told The Sun that attraction was “no different in the gay world as it is in the heterosexual world”.
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He said that he and his former lover had met when he was “maybe” in his mid-50s and the person who went on to become his lover was 15, but added that the affair began after he had started working at ITV and the affair had been “consensual”.
Lawyers representing both Schofield and the man have previously confirmed these accounts.
Schofield reiterated that he had not “groomed” the man.
“Attraction is attraction. It’s no different in the gay world as it is in the heterosexual world or in the lesbian world,” he told The Sun.
“There shouldn’t be a difference. This is where homophobia comes in.
“We did first meet when he was 15, I visited the drama school (he attended).”
He added: “So yeah, there’s a difference. It’s accepted by Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s not accepted if it’s in the gay world.”
Titanic actor DiCaprio, 48, has reportedly had several relationships with women who are younger than him. The star has famously made a habit of never dating any woman over the age of 25.