Scarlette Douglas says she is ‘devastated’ after learning of her A Place In The Sun co-star Jonnie Irwin‘s terminal cancer diagnosis.
The I’m A Celeb contestant, 35, who became the second campmate to be voted out of the jungle on Sunday, was told of the heartbreaking development minutes after her exit from the show, as she reflected on her working relationship with the TV presenter.
In her first interview since leaving the Australian jungle, Scarlette revealed that Jonnie has always been an ‘inspiration’ to her, and she would often watch his shows back after growing to love his hosting style.
EXCLUSIVE ‘I didn’t know it was terminal’: I’m A Celeb’s Scarlette Douglas has revealed the ‘devastation’ after learning about A Place In The Sun co-star Jonnie Irwin’s cancer prognosis
She also took a moment to recognise how difficult this must be for Jonnie’s wife, Jessica, and their family, saying: ‘He’s got three young kids and a beautiful wife… he’s an amazing person.’
Scarlette said: ‘I did know he wasn’t well, but I didn’t know this. I didn’t realise it was terminal, which makes it sound like it’s imminent.
‘I have come out and been told but I didn’t know the true extent of it so of course I’m going to drop him a message because that’s devastating.’
Last week, Escape To The Country host Jonnie revealed his terminal cancer diagnosis in a moving magazine interview, saying: ‘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.’
Distress: Scarlette said: ‘I did know he wasn’t well, but I didn’t know this. I didn’t realise it was terminal, which makes it sound like it’s imminent (stock image)
Something to say: Jonnie recently shared this picture to social media to thank fans for their kind messages
The TV presenter said he wanted to continue making memories and capturing moments with his wife, Jessica, 40, with whom he shares son Rex, and two-year-old twins, Rafa and Cormac.
Scarlett praised Jonnie for his professionalism and admits he’s a huge asset to the Channel 4 property show, adding: ‘When I did my screen test I watched a lot of his shows because he was confident with the house hunters and on it, he knew everything and you never questioned Jonnie, he was so knowledgeable, any questions the house hunters had, he knew the answers.
‘I remember taking a lot of inspiration from him when I first did the screen test and even still doing the shows, still watching his episodes and saying Jonnie has done it like that and I love how he’s done that, so I want to add a bit into that with how I present.’
‘Love to you and your family’: Jasmine Harman, 46, recently paid tribute to co-host Jonnie after revealed his terminal cancer diagnosis
The TV presenter’s jungle stint came to an end on Sunday night, leaving her ‘gutted.’
Her exit came 48 hours after ITV newsreader Charlene White, 42, was voted off, meaning two of the show’s three black campmates were the first to leave, sparking accusations of racism from viewers.
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.
Asked if racism was a factor in her exit, Scarlett sidestepped the topic, but did say her small social media following – compared to her co-stars – was a factor.
She explained: ‘I always came onto the show as an underdog.
‘I have the least profile to anybody else. Not everybody knows who I am – hopefully they do now but not everybody did before.
‘I was never going to get the most amount of votes even if you’re just looking at something like Instagram, I had the least amount of followers. If I go by something like that, I’m not going to get all the votes.
‘I have to be true to me, be authentic and enjoy the experience and when my time comes, it comes, I’m second, it would have been great if I had got further but that didn’t happen so I can’t take it as a negative, I have to take it a positive that I’ve had an amazing experience and met some incredible people.’
Scarlette wasn’t afraid to ask her campmates probing questions during her time on the show, even risking the wrath of Boy George by digging into his criminal past.
George was in prison for four-months after handcuffing a man to a wall in 2007 and previously blamed the attack on being high on cocaine and having a psychotic episode.
Scarlette naively said, ‘What happened with you BG and some guy in handcuffs and a radiator?’ with George later calling the TV star ‘inappropriate’ for ‘blatantly bringing up his court case.’
She’s now admits to wishing she tread more carefully when asking George about the personal topic.
‘I didn’t know! Oh, my goodness, she said.
‘If I had known I would have trodden a bit more carefully. I didn’t know and was naive to it – thank goodness he didn’t have my head for it because I did not mean for that to have been the case at all but now, I know the true story.’
She also admits to forgiving ex-Health Secretary Matt Hancock, 44, who was a late arrival in camp, for the ‘big mistakes’ he made.
Scarlette said: ‘He is a person and people make mistakes.
‘Every human being makes mistakes, and he made a very big one and he knows that – he’s apologetic for it and it’s for him to deal with it.
‘I said in the Bush Telegraph that people have to deal with their mistakes their own way. I had to take him for what he was showing me right now and that is someone that wants to get stuck in, wants to help, wants to win stars and make sure the camp is fed and be involved in everything.’
Family support: Scarlette pictured with her brother Stuart at her hotel after being evicted from camp on Sunday
Enjoying the sunshine: She posed for a beach shoot after being evicted from the ITV show
While she’s sympathetic towards Matt in many ways, Scarlette isn’t able to excuse the politician of his ‘shocking’ dance moves after she attempted to teach him the Electric Slide.
She added: ‘Honestly, Matt cannot dance. It’s not hard work if you’ve got a groove but Matt has no groove. I told him ‘I said Matt; listen the most important thing is you tried, and God loves a trier.
‘He gave it a go and that’s the one thing about Matt he just puts himself up for everything, you can’t knock someone that at least tries and yes his dance moves were shocking, and I don’t ever want to see them again.’
Heartbreaking: Jonnie on the trip to Italy for A Place in the Sun where he would revealed he suffered a dizzy spell and blurred vision that would lead to a terminal cancer diagnosis
Six months ago: Jonnie shared a trailer for a new episode of Escape to the Country. Fans and viewers expressed their concern for his health – but the presenter was secretly ill and undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments