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15th Nov 2022

A Place In The Sun’s Jonnie Irwin hasn’t told his children he has terminal cancer

Tobi Akingbade

Father-of-three Jonnie Irwin has spoken about keeping his terminal cancer diagnosis from his eldest child.

The presenter, 48 – who is best known for fronting A Place in the Sun and Escape to the Country – announced this week that he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer

Jonnie revealed lung cancer has spread to his brain, with him having initially been given by doctors just six months to live. He said the diagnosis came after experiencing blurred vision in 2020.

Jonnie and wife Jessica chose to keep the diagnosis private until recently, and has said he can’t bear to tell his three-year-old who is poking fun at his hair loss as he doesn’t want to “shatter his innocence”.

He spoke about their children – Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac – whilst discussing the family’s life since his diagnosis with Hello! magazine recently.

The presenter explained eldest child Rex in particular isn’t aware of the diagnosis as he said: “He doesn’t need to know yet.”

Jonnie further commented: “We make fun of my hair – he calls it my ‘spiky head’ – but as far as he’s concerned, his dad is normal and why would I shatter that innocence?”

The father-of-three said that at some point his cancer is going to “catch up” with him but he is doing everything he can to “hold that day off for as long as possible”.

Meanwhile, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! contestant Scarlette Douglas has “no indication” about her Place in the Sun co-star Jonnie Irwin’s terminal cancer diagnosis, and won’t be told until she leaves the jungle.

Although she was aware of that Irwin was unwell, she did not know how serious his condition was, and has no idea he has only months to live.

Scarlette presented the Channel 4 lifestyle series for seven years, and spent six of them with Jonnie on the show.

But I’m A Celeb rules mean that contestants are not updated about anything in the outside world unless it involves direct family members.

Her friend told MailOnline: “Scarlette will be absolutely devastated. She knew Jonnie had not been well but had no indication he’s only got months to live.”

They added: “They’re good mates and have known each other for years, it’s just so sad. As soon as she’s out and is told, Scarlette will be straight on the phone to him.”

Jonnie first became concerned about his health whilst filming for A Place in the Sun in Italy in August 2020. Medical tests later confirmed that he had lung cancer, and he later discovered the disease had spread to his brain.

He shared that when he learned he had cancer, he found breaking the news to his wife that she was “on her own” as “devastating”.

“Within a week of flying back from filming, I was being given six months to live,” he said.

“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,” he told Hello! magazine.

He is currently undergoing chemotherapy and other drug treatments.

Jonnie shared photos from the Hello Magazine shoot on Instagram, and was met with support in the comments section.

His co-host Jasmine Harman wrote: “Words can’t fix much, but what lovely words of support you have had here Jonnie. I know you know this already, but I am here for you my dear friend, and Jess and the boys. So, so brave. Sending lots of love, speak soon.”

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