Paul Hollywood has revealed that he chose to stay on The Great British Bake Off out of loyalty - and is still friends with Mary Berry.
Viewers branded Paul a traitor after he failed to join Mary and presenters Mel and Sue in quitting Bake Off over its exit from the BBC.
Now the 50-year-old has confirmed that he chose to return on Channel 4 out of loyalty to show maker Love Productions for making him a household name.
The Mirror quoted him as saying at a BBC Good Food show this week: "I’m still doing what I’ve always done. I think for me, when they picked me to do the job seven years ago, I was really shocked that I was given the chance.
"I just couldn’t walk away from my job. I love evangelising about baking and passing the word on and I will carry on doing that."
Paul added that there's no animosity between him and Mary - revealing they'd been pals for years before Bake Off began.
"I’ve known Mary for 12 years and I’ll always be mates with her," he commented.
"In fact, she phoned me up yesterday saying, ‘Where are you?’, because normally I pop in to see her and I haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks."
C4 bosses have reportedly quadrupled Paul's fee to convince him to stay put. However, it remains unclear who will join him in the famous Bake Off tent at its new home.
This week, show winner Nadiya Hussain appeared to rule herself out, signing a deal to make the BBC her "home".
Comedy duo French and Saunders have also rubbished rumours that they would take the hosting role.
The Beeb's last series of Bake Off continues on Wednesday at 8.00pm with its semi-final.