TV presenter Phillip Schofield has left This Morning after more than 20 years.
The 61-year-old joined the ITV morning show in 2002. He presented his last show on Thursday.
In a statement, Schofield said he was stepping back because the programme “has become the story” and “I want to do what I can to protect the show I love”.
It comes after reports that his relationship with long-term co-presenter Holly Willoughby had come under strain.
He recently returned to This Morning after taking pre-planned leave around his brother’s sex abuse trial last month and The Sun reported the absence had contributed to a “cooling” of their friendship.
The statement said: “I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning.
“But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.
“Throughout my career in TV- including the very difficult last days – I have always done my best to be honourable and kind.
“I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.”
He continued: “So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future.”
Schofield thanked his fans for their support over the years, he added: “I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me – especially This Morning’s amazing viewers – and I’ll see you all for the Soap Awards next month.”