Jonnie Irwin has revealed he kept his terminal cancer battle a secret for two years in order to keep working to provide for his family.

The A Place In The Sun host, 49, was given six months to live when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020, which has since spread to his brain.

After going public with his diagnosis last year, he was let go from the property programme because they were no longer able to insure him when he was filming abroad.

In a frank new interview on the OneChat podcast with AIG life, the father-of-three 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.

Heartbreaking: Jonnie Irwin has revealed he kept his terminal cancer battle a secret for two years in order to keep working to provide for his family

Heartbreaking: Jonnie Irwin has revealed he kept his terminal cancer battle a secret for two years in order to keep working to provide for his family

Heartbreaking: Jonnie Irwin has revealed he kept his terminal cancer battle a secret for two years in order to keep working to provide for his family

Devastating: The A Place In The Sun host, 49, was given six months to live when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020, which has since spread to his brain

Devastating: The A Place In The Sun host, 49, was given six months to live when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020, which has since spread to his brain

Devastating: The A Place In The Sun host, 49, was given six months to live when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020, which has since spread to his brain

‘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. Unfortunately, one of the companies claimed they couldn’t insure and didn’t renew my contract. It left a massive hole in my income.’

He continued: ‘I felt like I’d been thrown on the scrapheap. They’d recruited within a week and then I could see some else doing my job.’

Jonnie said it was when he was hiding from photo shots and taking selfies with fans that he decided to speak out about his terminal diagnosis.  

He said: ‘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.

‘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.

‘I started being Jonnie Irwin again. I actually feel alive.’

Elsewhere in the candid chat, Jonnie broke down in tears as he revealed he has been at ‘death’s door at least twice’ in his fight against terminal cancer. 

He said the terrifying health scares are some of the only times he and his beloved wife Jessica, 40, have spoken about the harsh reality of his prognosis. 

Jonnie said: ‘The programme is to try and remain positive. Positive for me is burying my head in the sand a bit.

‘Jess and I don’t talk about it much and we’ve been close to death’s door a few times now. Twice at least. 

Awful: He said the terrifying health scares are some of the only times he and his beloved wife Jessica, 40, have spoken about the harsh reality of his prognosis.

Awful: He said the terrifying health scares are some of the only times he and his beloved wife Jessica, 40, have spoken about the harsh reality of his prognosis.

Awful: He said the terrifying health scares are some of the only times he and his beloved wife Jessica, 40, have spoken about the harsh reality of his prognosis.

‘Apart from those times we’ve not really talked about it. Financially we’re slowly getting stuff in place, transferring account details and putting stuff in her name but being positive such an important factor. I do that by not talking about it too much.’  

In the interview, Jonnie cried as he recalled the ‘brutal’ day he walked home to tell his wife ‘I’m not going to be here anymore’.

The television presenter had been filming A Place In The Sun in Italy when he began to see ‘weird gold spots’ when he was driving. 

A crew member with him in the car was concerned at the time and took him straight to hospital where he was told he had nodules around his brain. 

Jonnie got a flight straight back to the U.K and went to hospital. 

He said: ‘Within a few hours I got told I had cancer. And I was like “right”.

‘Then a few hours later, my good friend Rahul was sat with me when they said it is terminal cancer and I had six months to live.

‘Do you ever hear the phrase it knocked the wind out of you? Nothing had ever done that to me and that it did it.

‘I was just battered.’

Emotional: In the interview, Jonnie cried as he recalled the 'brutal' day he walked home to tell his wife 'I'm not going to be here anymore'

Emotional: In the interview, Jonnie cried as he recalled the 'brutal' day he walked home to tell his wife 'I'm not going to be here anymore'

Emotional: In the interview, Jonnie cried as he recalled the ‘brutal’ day he walked home to tell his wife ‘I’m not going to be here anymore’

The father-of-three walked home in a dazed state as he struggled to comprehend the diagnosis and the daunting prospect of telling Jessica.

Jessica had only given birth to their twins, Rafa and Cormac, now two, two months prior. The couple are also parents to Rex, four. 

‘I didn’t think I was shakable like that,’ Jonnie said through tears. 

‘I was really shaken up. I had to go home and I had to tell my wife and that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

‘How do you tell a woman who only two month before has had twins? How do you tell them that you’re not going to be there anymore?

‘I can remember it like it was yesterday. I’ve got no memory since I’ve had brain therapy but that b****y memory stays in my head and it is brutal.

‘All I can remember is hugging her and just saying sorry and I still feel sorry now.’ 

Jonnie had weeks of tests and bad news, but was given a two to three year lifeline when doctors found his cancer had a mutation. 

He said: ‘The word mutation is normally terrifying but for this it was the best possible news.

‘That mutation meant that they had a drug that could target some defect in the cancer and that could buy me and extra two or three years.

‘I remember driving out and just bursting into tears. That was the first bit of positive news I had in weeks and I felt I’d got a break.

‘This miracle drug Osimertinib is going to give me two to three years.

‘It didn’t. And so six months later, the lesions have grown again.’

The two to three years doctors had given him ‘suddenly evaporated’ and within six months of getting his diagnosis, Jonnie was having brain therapy, which he described as ‘brutal’. 

‘You lose all your barnet, you lose your memory and you lose patience,’ he said, 

‘I’ve got a very short temper, it’s not made me a better person that’s for sure.

Horrible: 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 (pictured with co-host Jasmine Harman)

Horrible: 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 (pictured with co-host Jasmine Harman)

Horrible: 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 (pictured with co-host Jasmine Harman)

‘Every day is a challenge but I maintain to be as positive as I can. If that means burying my head in the sand that’s exactly what I’m going to do.’

Jonnie said he has made a number of changes to his lifestyle from his diet to ensuring he gets enough sleep at night. 

But he has stopped exercising after his health took a ‘massive downturn’ a few months ago. 

He said: ‘Up until three months ago I was exercising regularly, then my health took a sudden downturn.

‘I went from doing 40 press ups in the morning to I can’t do one now. I just stopped because it reminded me I can’t do it.’

Jonnie has now bought some gym equipment in the hope of getting back to what he loves. 

He also plans on seeking help from a therapist. 

Jonnie said: ‘I’ve probably only cried five times. I need to speak to someone and open Pandora’s box.’ 

From Lutterworth to Lanzarote: How former estate agent Jonnie Irwin’s TV career took off after he beat hundreds to present A Place in the Sun

TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has revealed he is suffering with terminal cancer, saying he hopes sharing his terminal cancer diagnosis will inspire others to 'make the most of every day'

TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has revealed he is suffering with terminal cancer, saying he hopes sharing his terminal cancer diagnosis will inspire others to 'make the most of every day'

TV presenter Jonnie Irwin has revealed he is suffering with terminal cancer, saying he hopes sharing his terminal cancer diagnosis will inspire others to ‘make the most of every day’

Born in 1973, Jonnie Irwin grew up in Bitteswell, Leicestershire, and attended Lutterworth Grammar School and Community College before becoming an estate agent.

In 2004, Irwin was selected from hundreds of applicants alongside co-presenter Jasmine Harman to present Channel 4’s show A Place In The Sun – Home Or Away. The property programme was a surprise hit and syndicated widely. Irwin also regularly presents the BBC’s Escape To The Country and To Buy Or Not To Buy.

In January 2011, Sky 1 broadcast Irwin’s own show called Dream Lives for Sale, in which he helped people leave their lives in the UK in order buy their dream business. 

Later that year, he started a new series The Renovation Game which aired on weekday mornings on Channel 4. 

Outside of presenting, he is also a commercial director for Judicare, which describes itself as a ‘specialist law firm providing clients with legal advice on all matters related to overseas property’.

Irwin married Jessica Holmes in September 2016. Together they have three sons and lived in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire before moving to Newcastle.

On November 13, Irwin was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He told Hello magazine: ‘I don’t know how long I have left, but I try to stay positive and my attitude is that I’m living with cancer, not dying from it.’

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