Jonnie Irwin has said that there’s ‘no need’ to tell his children of his terminal cancer diagnosis as they’re ‘too young’ to understand.
The A Place In The Sun star, 49, shares sons Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica Holmes, 40 – but he has just months to live as he battles terminal cancer.
Speaking during an appearance on Thursday’s Good Morning Britain, Jonnie explained that he and Jessica had ‘considered’ telling their boys, but opted against it for now as ‘it’ll be a lot for them to get their heads round.’
Detailing his predicament to hosts Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard, Jonnie said: ‘It’s only been recently I’ve considered when we are going to tell them, they are so young.
‘At the moment I’m me, albeit a thinner version, there’s no need to tell them. I think it’ll be a lot for them to get their heads round.’
On how he’s coping with his diagnosis, he shared: ‘I try my best to put my head in the sand because what’s the point spending your days thinking about cancer when there’s gas bills to worry about.
‘The cost of living is a concern because I won’t witness it, but my family will.’
Fellow parent Susanna went on to suggest that children ‘live in the moment’, with Jonnie agreeing as he added: ‘For now, let the good times roll for as long as possible.’
During the same emotional interview, Jonnie revealed his hopes to spend his final days with his loved ones, capturing the moments on film for his children to watch when they’re older.
He explained: ‘I’m about making memories, I know my children are so young they won’t remember me.
‘I want to at least get it on camera or film to show them the early days were brilliant. I think our house for Christmas will be extravagant.’
Jonnie was given just six months to live when he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, which has spread to his brain, in August 2020 – just two months after the birth of his twin sons.
It comes as A Place In The Sun bosses expressed their sympathies to host Jonnie after he hit out at the show for axing him while he battles terminal cancer.
The presenter was given just six months to live when he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, which has spread to his brain, in August 2020.
After sharing his diagnosis with show bosses, his contract was not renewed, with Jonnie admitting the decision ‘broke my heart.’
Free Form Productions, who make the programme, said they were ‘unable to secure adequate insurance cover’ for him to continue international filming amid the Covid-19 crisis and said they understood his ‘frustration’ at the decision.
A statement released to MailOnline read: ‘Jonnie has been a hugely important part of the A Place In The Sun family for over 18 years and all of us were deeply saddened by his diagnosis.
‘Much loved by everyone on the production, no stone was left unturned in trying to enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during Covid but the production company were unable to secure adequate insurance cover for him.
‘Whilst we were unable to continue to film abroad with him, we’re delighted that he was able to remain as part of our team in the UK for exhibitions. We of course understand how frustrating this must be for him at this incredibly difficult time.
The former estate agent’s TV career began in 2004 when he was selected from hundreds of applicants to co-present Channel 4’s A Place in the Sun with Jasmine Harman.
He was the programme’s longest-serving presenter, alongside Jasmine, who is still with the show.
In 2010, he won more fans by becoming a regular host of Escape to the Country. He has continued filming for the BBC One show since his diagnosis and throughout his treatment.
Addressing the decision on Thursday’s episode of Good Morning Britain, he said: ‘When I was told I couldn’t do it they broke my heart, but I don’t think they thought of me. I’ve been bowled over by some people and the desire to help me and my family.
‘Not working on A Place In The Sun any more has affected my mental health. I’m a family man now but being a TV presenter defines you and not being able to travel and provide for my family.’
He added in a chat with The Sun: ‘Within two weeks someone else was on TV doing my job, I just feel I earned a bit more from them after 18 years. That was my first job in TV and it was special to me.’
Jonnie’s diagnosis came when he was filming Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun in Italy in 2020, after he had experienced blurred vision while driving.
Within a week of flying back home, doctors told him he was terminally ill and had just six months to live. Cancer drugs and chemotherapy have helped prolong his life.