Jonnie Irwin has revealed he’s ‘making memories’ for his children as they won’t be able to remember him once he dies.
The A Place In The Sun star, 49, has son Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica Holmes but has just months to live as he battles terminal cancer.
During an appearance on Thursday’s episode of Good Morning Britain, he revealed his plan to spend his final days with his loved ones, capturing the moments on film for his children to watch when they’re older.
Heartbreaking: Jonnie Irwin appeared on Thursday’s Good Morning Britain as he revealed he’s ‘making memories’ for his children as they won’t be able to remember him once he dies
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.’
Earlier this month, Jonnie revealed he was given just six months to live when he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, which had spread to his brain, in August 2020, just two months after the birth of his twin sons.
Family: The A Place In The Sun star, 49, has son Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica Holmes but has just months to live as he battles cancer
On GMB he detailed the struggles he and his wife have faced in handling his diagnosis around their children, saying: ‘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, a thinner version, there’s no need to tell them. I think it’ll be a lot for them to get their heads round.
‘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.’
He continued: ‘I was in fear of what’s happened to some extent, when people find out you have cancer it’s terrifying and I lose work through it, professionally I didn’t want to lose work, people treat you differently.
‘If I withheld that information, I could have lived a normal life. There are certain busy bodies on social media saying I look ill.’
Jonnie also spoke about losing his job on A Place In The Sun after he alleged he was paid off when he told them of his terminal diagnosis mid-season and his contract was not renewed.
Jonnie explained: ‘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’
He mused: ‘I could work on Escape to the Country, it’s the same show and I can travel away from home for three to four days.
‘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 anymore 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.’
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.
He alleged that Freeform Productions, the company behind Channel 4’s property show, stopped giving him work, leading to him keeping his illness a secret for more than two years.
Channel 4 and Freeform told The Sun they were ‘unable to secure adequate insurance cover’ for him to continue international filming amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Their joint statement read: ‘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.’
Illness: Earlier this month, Jonnie revealed he was given just six months to live when he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, which had spread to his brain, in August 2020
Jonnie alleged that somebody had replaced him as host on A Place In The Sun within two weeks and said he felt he ‘deserved more’ after working for 18 years on the show.
‘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,’ he added.
MailOnline has contacted Channel 4 and Freeform for further comment.
Earlier this month, MailOnline unearthed footage of Jonnie sipping Puglian olive oil on his last trip for A Place in the Sun in 2020, before he discovered he had terminal cancer. The episode was never broadcast.
Career: 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
Since his diagnosis and throughout his treatment, Jonnie has continued filming for the BBC’s home improvement show, Escape To The Country.
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 co-star Jasmine Harman, who is still with the show.
In 2010, he won more fans by becoming a regular host of Escape to the Country on BBC1.
Elsewhere in the interview, Jonnie spoke about his devastation at the thought of leaving behind his wife Jess Holmes, 40, and their children – Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac.
He tearfully admitted his fears that his children will be too young to remember him after his death, speaking about the prospect of ‘someone else bringing them up’.
Trip: Earlier this month, MailOnline unearthed footage of Jonnie sipping Puglian olive oil on his last trip for A Place in the Sun in 2020, before he discovered he had terminal cancer
Jonnie said the thought of leaving his wife Jess, who he met through mutual friends in 2016 and married soon after, to raise their children alone ‘crushes him’.
He said he wants his wife to find someone else to support her after his death but also admitted that the thought of her finding another partner also ‘breaks’ his heart.
Jonnie has been creating memories with his family and earlier this month, he and his wife both jetted off to Paris to enjoy a holiday together.
In snaps shared to Instagram, the couple posed at the Notre Dame Cathedral as they looked down the camera lens against the backdrop of the Seine.
In a caption, he confessed to fans that he has found the past week surreal after talking about his diagnosis publicly for the first time.
He told his followers: ‘Been a hell of a week. I’m bowled over by the lovely messages thank you all so much. As touching as it’s been, I’ve also found it quite surreal almost like we’re talking about some else.’
Job: Jonnie was A Place In The Sun’s longest-serving presenter, alongside co-star Jasmine Harman, who is still with the show
Paying tribute to his loving wife, Jonnie wrote: ‘By my side throughout this is my wife so thought I’d take us to Paris for the weekend.
‘We could only do this with the help from my family, in particular my amazing sisters who dropped everything and have driven up to the Toon to look after the boy band. We are having an amazing time. Thanks so much. xxx. #family #onelife #paris.’
Earlier this month, Jonnie revealed that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer which has spread to his brain.
The Escape to the Country presenter revealed that he has secretly been battling the terminal disease and was given six months to live two years ago.
As a married father of three children, he said he hoped sharing his diagnosis would inspire others to ‘make the most of every day’.
Holiday: Jonnie has been creating memories with his family and earlier this month, he and his wife both jetted off to Paris to enjoy a holiday together
Kind: In a post on his Instagram page, Jonny also admitted he was bowled over by the supportive messages he’s received
Announcing his diagnosis, he told Hello magazine: ‘I’m carrying a dirty secret – it’s become a monkey on my back. 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.
‘I set little markers – things I want to be around for. I got into the habit of saying, ‘Don’t plan ahead because I might not be well enough’.
‘But now I want to make plans. I want to make memories and capture these moments with my family because the reality is, my boys are going to grow up not knowing their dad and that breaks my heart.’
Jonnie was diagnosed with cancer while filming Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun in Italy in 2020.
He said: ‘Within a week of flying back from filming, I was being given six months to live. I had to go home and tell my wife, who was looking after our babies, that she was on her own pretty much. That was devastating. All I could do was apologise to her. I felt so responsible.’
The couple live with their three children in Newcastle, having moved there from Hertfordshire in 2020.
Inspiring: As a married father of three children, Jonnie recently said he hoped sharing his diagnosis would inspire others to ‘make the most of every day’
Jonnie said he had chosen to keep his illness private until now. His case is reminiscent of Dame Deborah James’ battle with bowel cancer, which she chose to make public to raise awareness and funds for research.
He said: ‘I might inspire people who are living with life-limiting prospects to make the most of every day, to help them see that you can live a positive life, even though you are dying. One day, this is going to catch up with me, but I’m doing everything I can to hold that day off for as long as possible.
‘I owe that to Jess and our boys. Some people in my position have bucket lists, but I just want us to do as much as we can as a family.’
He has also urged people to get life insurance, which he finally decided to do when his twins were born.
He told Hello: ‘That has helped so much and when I leave this planet, I’ll do so knowing Jess and the boys are in a house that is fully paid off and there’s a bit of money in the bank for them to live off.’
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’
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.’