TV star Jonnie Irwin kept his cancer secret for two years fearful of losing work – but says gossips were keen to ‘out’ his illness.
L'ex A Place in the Sun presenter said he was worried work would dry up as ‘fans’ kept asking what was wrong with him on social media.
He told The Sun how he was axed from the show in August 2020 after telling producers he had cancer.
They paid him off mid-series and didn’t renew his contract – nonostante 18 loyal years.
Egli ha detto: “I told those close to me the truth but I was worried about losing work.
“I was able to tell people I’d lost my hair because I was in my 40s and that’s what happens when you have twins. But even with the hair loss, people were all over my Instagram saying ‘you don’t look well’. I mean who wants to hear that?
“I barked back at some people asking why they felt the need to tell me this. They’d come back with ‘oh, it’s because we care’, but they just wanted to gossip about me and out my cancer.
“I got really upset about it. Complete strangers would message me under the pretence of only wanting the best for me but how was highlighting my illness going to help me? It was only going to upset me.
“If felt like a witch hunt.”
Jonnie, whose non-smokers lung cancer has spread to his brain, said he stopped posting pictures of himself amid speculation.
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The dad-of-three, who is still presenting Escape to the Country, disse: “It really annoyed me. The more these comments were posted the more TV companies saw it and I worried because I wanted to work. I needed to work.
“I never said I was ill, but I never said I wasn’t. I just carried on being me, doing the same job.
“It was so upsetting and I don’t have any time for those people who hid behind fake care.
“One of the reasons I’m talking now is because I want to dispel the myth that people with cancer can’t carry on working. When you have cancer decisions are made for you and that’s not right.
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“People are scared of losing their jobs and they shouldn’t need to worry about that.”
Freeform Productions, which makes A Place in the Sun, said they had problems insuring Johnnie for travel abroad.