Fans expressed concern for Holly Willoughby on Wednesday’s episode of This Morning because she looked like she’d been “up and crying all night”.
Both the 41-year-old and 60-year-old Phillip Schofield have faced criticism from the public after they were accused of “skipping the line” to see the Queen lying at Westminster Palace.
And Holly’s good friend Piers Morgan, 57, confirmed on his show on Tuesday that Holly was devastated by the backlash.
After seeing how she looked on the show with her swollen eyes, viewers tweeted, “Holly looks like she’s been crying all night #ThisMorning.”
“Will someone mention #queuejumpers #ThisMorning? They’re both on the verge of tears – we’re watching, we all know what you’re up to @holly @Schofe.
“Is Holly okay? You are not looking for yourself? #This morning.’
‘Holly has never been so quiet. I don’t envy anyone in public #ThisMorning.’
While she and Phillip smiled throughout the show, they seemed nervous as Phillip wrung his hands and Holly wrapped her arms around her body protectively.
And MailOnline can reveal that Holly and Phillip have been concerned and devastated by the recent backlash.
Holly herself has never had to deal with anger and spite in her life – with a petition now reaching 33,000 public signatures demanding they be fired from their This Morning hosting jobs.
The TV duo shared an emotional SOS call about the queue gate crisis on Saturday, speaking for “more than an hour” before deciding to do something urgently.
After the call, ITV issued a statement to set the record straight – but the move spectacularly backfired.
And after Tuesday’s marathon talks ended with Holly vowing she would stay, the pair are said to remain “devastated”.
A source said: “Phil and Holly started to get really concerned about the situation on Friday night. They spoke at length and decided they had to do something to protect themselves and the show’s reputation.
“They hoped the declaration would stand the heat but were utterly devastated to realize it had only made things worse.
“At one point they considered putting out their own message to set things straight, but in the end they decided to wait until the show so they could speak directly to viewers.”
Sources close to Holly say she was close to deleting her Instagram account at some point, which has seen hundreds of viewers leave toxic messages.
Hate-filled notes were placed under a picture Holly posted showing her children’s tributes to the Queen.
The source added, “Holly has never had to deal with anger and spite like this in her life. It has made her so upset and unable to look at social media for the past few days.
“What was meant to be a beautiful tribute to Her Majesty on her Instagram account has been trolled. One thing that has remained intact is the friendship between Phil and Holly. You are closer than ever ‘
Piers Morgan has since called for an end to the “public flogging”.
The 57-year-old broadcaster insisted the reaction had been “exaggerated” when it called for the petition for her sacking – which has now garnered more than 33,000 signatures – to be scrapped.
He told Piers Morgan Uncensored: “Hell broke loose, they’ve been the subject of what I think is a ridiculously over the top campaign. Of course they shouldn’t be fired, that’s ridiculous.
“Maybe it was a misjudgment. I said myself on that show, I don’t think anyone should have skipped the line, whoever you are, unless you’re a world leader and there’s a time issue.