Richard Wilkins fought back tears as he spoke of his shock coronavirus diagnosis on the Today show on Monday while at home in self-isolation.
The 65-year-old entertainment reporter told hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon that he felt ‘guilty and embarrassed’ by the fact he may have passed the deadly virus on to others.
Richard, who was speaking via FaceTime, said he was feeling ‘surprisingly very well’ and hadn’t yet experienced any symptoms.
‘It is a terrifying thought’: Richard Wilkins fought back tears as he spoke of his coronavirus diagnosis on the Today show on Monday while at home in self-isolation
‘I’m surprisingly very well. Look, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I [found out]. It took me a couple of minutes to reel from the news,’ he said.
‘I don’t have a sore throat, I don’t have a runny nose and I don’t have a headache. Maybe I’m going to get sick tomorrow? I’m almost waiting for something to happen. If I can say anything to anybody, it’s that if this is what it’s like, so far so good.’
While it’s impossible to know with 100 per cent certainty where Richard caught the virus from, he did ‘briefly’ meet singer Rita Wilson last week.
Rita and her husband, actor Tom Hanks, tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
‘It could be from anyone, anywhere, any time. It is a terrifying thought,’ Richard said.
‘I don’t have a sore throat, I don’t have a runny nose’: Richard, who was speaking via FaceTime, said he was feeling ‘surprisingly very well’ and hadn’t yet experienced any symptoms
Richard became emotional as he spoke of telling his family about his diagnosis.
He said: ‘Last night, having to call my kids and tell them wasn’t much fun,’ he said, fighting back tears.
‘The weird thing is, all you want to do at a time like this, more than anything in the world, is to hug your kids. But it’s the last thing I can do.’
Richard has five children, but the only one he had close contact with recently is his 24-year-old son Christian, who is currently competing on Dancing with the Stars.
Embarrassed: The 65-year-old entertainment reporter said he felt ‘guilty and embarrassed’ by the fact he may have passed the deadly virus on to others. Pictured with his ex-girlfriend Virginia Burmeister and son Christian
The show may not go on: Richard has five children, but had only seen son Christian recently, who is currently on Dancing With The Stars and was tested for coronavirus on Monday morning. Pictured: Christian and dance partner Lily McManus, who has also been tested
‘I called him after his show last night and he was very upset, he’s going to get tested in an hour. Fingers crossed he’ll be okay, which I’m sure he will be,’ he added.
Christian spent Sunday night self-isolating with his dance partner, Lily McManus. They were both tested for coronavirus on Monday morning.
‘You feel guilty and embarrassed almost. I went and did a piece with [Nova FM radio show] Fitzy and Wippa last Thursday morning and they’re off air today. I had to phone them last night,’ Richard added.
‘The ripple effect of this thing is enormous. I pray to God I can get rid of this thing and I pray to God nobody else gets it because of me.’
‘The ripple effect’: Richard was with Nova’s Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald and Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli and Angela Bishop (pictured) last week. Fitzy and Wippa were off-air on Monday as a result
‘I pray to god nobody else gets it because of me’: Richard shared a photograph with Olivia Newton-John and actor Paul Hogan (pictured) last Tuesday, who are both now at risk
As well as visiting Fitzy and Wippa’s studios, Richard also spent time with Olivia Newton-John, 71, last Tuesday and actor Paul Hogan, 80, last Tuesday.
The Grease star’s history with cancer – she has been diagnosed three times since 1992 – puts her at an increased risk of being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Richard met Rita backstage at her Sydney Opera House concert on March 7, where it’s suspected he may have caught the virus.
‘It could be from anyone’: Richard explained that although it’s likely he caught the virus from Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson (pictured) after meeting her last week, it’s impossible to know
On home soil: In Australia, there have been a total of 298 confirmed cases of coronavirus