Jonnie Irwin has admitted not all his colleagues have been so supportive after he revealed his terminal cancer diagnosis.
The A Place In The Sun presenter went public with his cancer last November after being told he could have months to live as a tumour in his lung had spread to his brain.
Jonnie, 49, has since been making the most of time with his family, as he shares three young sons with his wife Jess.
He’s had a lot of ups and downs over recent months, having had a stint in hospital to monitor a change in his pain management regime.
However, he’s grateful to have had the support of his colleagues, despite no longer being on our TV screens.
The property expert told The Sun during a rare outing to the TRIC Awards that his Escape To The Country co-stars in particular have been by his side – but not everyone has.
‘It means everything to me, I consider these people my family,’ he said of Nicki Chapman, Sonali Shah and Jules Hudson.
‘The people I thought would be supportive weren’t.
‘But these guys in this game have done what I hoped they would do and more.’
He added: ‘This is my boss and she’s been with me every step of the day, personally and professionally and I couldn’t be more grateful to have her in my life.’
Jonnie’s comments come after he claimed he was ‘pushed aside for someone healthier’ by Channel 4, saying he was left heartbroken when his contract wasn’t renewed for A Place In The Sun.
‘I told them I wanted to work. When I said I can get you doctor’s notes and assurances from my oncologist that I am fit to work, I was told, verbatim, “Oh, you really don’t want to go down that route, do you?”,’ he recently recalled.
‘They said, “We don’t think we can get the insurance”, not “We can’t get the insurance”, but, “We don’t think…” That broke my heart and affected my mental health.’
He claimed that the show paid him for the rest of the season but ask him back for another series.
Jonnie added to The Sun earlier this year: ‘Within two weeks, someone else was on TV doing my job. I just feel I earned a bit more from them after 18 years.’
In response, Channel 4 and Freeform told the outlet in a statement: ‘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.
‘We, of course, understand how frustrating this must be for him at this incredibly difficult time.’
Jonnie has also spoken about keeping his cancer a secret for a long time out of fear he wouldn’t be able to provide for his family.
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.’
Macmillan cancer support
If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, Macmillan can offer support and information.
You can contact their helpline on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week from 8am to 8pm), use their webchat service, or visit their site for more information.
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