Holly Willoughby is said to have told friends how she was “made” to not wear a bra by television bosses.
The misogyny controversy centres on the This Morning host during her time on ITV’s Saturday morning kids’ show Ministry Of Mayhem.
The 42-year-old fronted the programme from 2004 to 2006 and was often seen in risque outfits.
The mother-is-three is said to have been told by executives that “the shows weren’t actually for children”.
A “close associate” of Holly’s is said to have raised concerns at the time with a senior member of staff working on one of the programmes.
The friend told the Mail on Sunday: “Before I knew who Holly even was, I saw her without a bra on and asked a director who she was and why she was dressed like that.
“I said she needs to get a bra on, it was children’s television.”
They continued: “I reminded Holly of it sometime later and she said they made her not wear a bra, that the shows weren’t actually for children.
“It was pretty staggering that this was going on.”
Another pal added: “It’s pretty awful, it doesn’t even seem that long ago.”
Express.co.uk has contacted an ITV spokesperson and Holly Willoughby for comment.
During her time on Ministry Of Mayhem, Holly’s costumes included a short maid outfit, a festive Mrs Christmas look as well as low-cut looks.
Due to the nature of the offering, she was often later covered in water or gunge.
She appeared alongside Stephen Mulhern, and the show later became known as Holly & Stephen’s Saturday Showdown.
Previous to this, Holly had appeared in other kids’ shows including S Club 7: Artistic Differences, Xchange and CBBC at the Fame Academy.
Her career has gone from strength to strength ever since, with her fronting Dancing On Ice with Phillip Schofield from 2006.
Three years later she took over from Fern Britton on This Morning.