Beleaguered ITV presenter Holly Willoughby is said to have called in lawyers as the fallout from her alleged queue jumping to see the Queen lying in state escalates.
More than 29,000 people have signed a petition calling for Ms Willoughby, 41, and This Morning co-presenter Phillip Schofield, 60, to be sacked.
The couple are said to have abused their “positions” as celebrities to queue jump.
Many mourners – including David Beckham – queued for endless hours for the right to file past the Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall and pay their respects.
A source told The Sun:
“Holly had to get lawyers over the weekend over the presentation of this false, very damaging narrative following images emerging on Friday which appeared to show they ‘skipped the queue’ while tens of thousands of mourners patiently waited to pay their respects to Her Majesty.”
Ms Willoughby was said to be in “floods of tears” as she and Mr Schofield begged This Morning bosses to defend them as the protest gathered pace.
The couple – said to earn £600,000 a year for their four day-a-week programme – insisted their presence at Westminster was as “working journalists”.
The Sun source added:
“Holly has been devastated by all the negative reaction after she turned up to work at Westminster Hall with Phil on Friday.
“But she’s not going to resign.
“This Morning has been her life for more than a decade and the only way she’d consider quitting at this stage is if viewers really didn’t want her there.
“She’s tried to give their side of the story on the show today and they’re both hoping to move on from it now.
“Bosses know Holly is still a hit with viewers and are counting on her working her magic on the show for a good while yet.”
An ITV source said:
“We absolutely made it clear at the time that it was part of a broadcast due to air on Tuesday.
“This was communicated from the outset, and we gave this information at once.
“There have been no crisis discussions or talks about Holly not being part of This Morning moving forward.”
A Change.Org petition, titled ‘Axe Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby from TV’ gathered momentum as people criticised the pair.
The Sun source said:
“Holly would be the first to hold up her hands and quit if she disrespected the public.
“She was doing her job but has been portrayed as enemy No1, while Phil has been subject to embarrassing memes.
“She will not quit.
“She and Phil love This Morning.
“They do not want to lose their jobs over this, and just hope things will blow over.”
An ITV source told MailOnline:
“We absolutely made it clear that it was part of a broadcast due to air on Tuesday, from the outset.”