Jonnie Irwin of A Place in the Sun has spoken candidly about why he concealed his cancer diagnosis for so long.
The 49-year-old television personality disclosed in November 2022 that he may only have’months to live’ after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer that has spread to his brain.
Jonnie, who has three small sons, stated at the time that he was determined to maintain a positive outlook, but feared that his children would grow up without knowing who their father was.
In August 2020, while travelling, the presenter noticed that something wasn’t quite right for the first time.
Doctors informed him that he had only six months to live a week after he returned from filming in Italy.
Having initially chosen to keep his diagnosis private, he has now revealed that he was concerned about his ability to provide for his family.
It follows his dismissal from A Place in the Sun because the show’s producers could no longer insure him while he was working abroad.
Appearing on the OneChat podcast with AIG life, Jonnie – who has Rex, four, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac – explained: ‘The only reason I kept it secret is because I’ve got to earn, I’ve got to feed my babies, pay the bills.
‘And as soon as you say you’ve got cancer, people just write you off.’
He added: ‘I had to live with it as a secret.
‘It was really difficult living with such a massive cloud above me and pretending to everyone else.’
‘For the first year and a half, I could work,’ he said.
‘Unfortunately, one of the companies claimed they couldn’t insure and didn’t renew my contract. It left a massive hole in my income.’
Jonnie felt like he’d ‘been thrown on the scrap heap.’
‘They’d recruited within a week and then I could see someone else doing my job.’
When he realised he was refusing photographs from admirers and avoiding photoshoots, he realised he should make a public statement.
‘The day came when I decided I’m going to tell the world and I just thought as well I might get some money for the family,’ Jonnie explained.
‘It’s been a massive weight off my shoulders. The day I came out and told the world I have terminal cancer is the day I started living again.’
He added proudly: ‘I started being Jonnie Irwin again. I actually feel alive.’
Elsewhere in the interview, Jonnie recalled Jessica’s reaction to his diagnosis, which occurred just two months after she gave birth to their youngest children.
‘I can remember it like it was yesterday,’ he said frankly.
‘All I can remember is hugging her and just saying sorry and I still feel sorry now.’
Macmillan cancer support