Inside Jonnie Irwin’s whirlwind romance with wife as A Place in the Stun star reveals tough decision after cancer shock | The Sun

TV PRESENTER Jonnie Irwin has described his love for wife Jess as they prepare for what could possibly be their last Christmas together.

Jonnie, 48, diagnosed with terminal cancer, says he and Jess are the “perfect partnership” as he revealed their whirlwind relationship – which saw them marry within a year of meeting.

He said: “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that Christmas will be tricky. I’m not saying this will be my last one because I don’t know for certain. I want to be here as long as I can but it could be.  “And I want to enjoy it and just spend time with Jess and the kids.

Jonny made the heartbreaking decision to sell his dream home in Hertfordshire to live in Newcastle so native Jess will be surrounded by her family and friends when he’s gone.

Jonnie, who was diagnosed with non-smokers lung cancer in 2020, says he was desperate to make sure Jess and his boys Rex, three, and twins Rafa and Cormac, were well cared for.

The twins were just a month old when he was diagnosed with lung cancer, which has spread to his brain. Doctors say he has “months, not years” left.


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“I couldn’t believe it was happening,” he said.

“Initially this thing just happens to you but as soon as your mind gets over the shock, it’s ‘what about my wife and kids’ and that stays with you. It doesn’t go away.

“That’s when you think right, what can I do? You want to take control so I changed my diet and lifestyle and put things in place, like selling my property portfolio.

“I was renovating our dream home in Hertfordshire and we were renting in Newcastle when I was diagnosed so I just bought up here. I want Jess to have that support network around her when I’m gone.”

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Jonnie said Jess, 40, was “born to be a mum.

He said: “ I meant that in the best possible way , I think she’s like her mum.

“She’s brilliant with the kids and she’s got so much love to give. I’m lucky to have her.

“I know she’ll be fine when I’m gone. She’ll need support but I think she’ll pour all her love into the kids and it will be good for her and good for them.

“They are hard work, like all kids, so you can’t do anything but envelop yourself in that world.”

With a lump in his throat, he adds: “But there will be times she wants to moan and I’m not going to be there.”

He said he and Jess, who has an economics degree, are the “perfect partnership.”

He said: “She’s very clever with numbers. I’m rubbish. I can value a hotel in a snap, but when it comes to organising accounts I shout ‘Jess’!”

The couple met and married within 12 months after Jonnie encouraged Jess to give up her job in finance and go travelling with him.

He said: “We met through a friend I used to live with and he’s now married to Jess’ friend. We were supposed to hook up a few times and I was always working away.

“Within a few months, I'd encouraged her to leave work and go travelling with me round the world.

“We went away for three months, came back to London, then did another three months away.”

He asked Jess to marry him in Jaipur in India but jokes: “I made her work for it by walking to the top of this peak, the Red Fort, where I proposed.

“We came home in the spring and were married by the October.

“I asked Jess to marry me because not only is she very pretty but classically so, but she was fun. That’s not to say anyone else I’ve dated wasn’t fun, but she was just on my wavelength. She has a great spirit of adventure and we didn’t have one argument until the kids came along, and all parents fall out don’t they?

After a wedding in a barn in Northumberland in 2016 the couple tried for children straight away and Jess had son Rex on Christmas Day two years later.

Twins Cormac and Rafa, now two, soon followed.

Jonnie said: “Although it wasn’t a long time for Jess to get pregnant with Rex it felt like it. We knew we wanted more children so took the gloves off.

“Then the twins bowled along and spoiled the party.” he jokes.

The couple were left stunned because there were no twins on either side of the family. Jonnie says they just got “lucky” laughing: “I wish I’d known you could take out insurance for twins!”

After selling property, Jonnie and Jess are now renovating their new home in Newcastle.

“Builders, cancer and three kids are a bit stressful,” he admits. “But we never do anything by halves in this family!”

Jonnie, who describes Jess as an “angel” surprised Jess with a trip to Paris last weekend and the family enjoyed a late summer holiday in Cyprus.

He said: “Jess is just an angle, she puts up with my moods when I’m feeling low and is such a caring person. I love her more each day.”

The Sun exclusively revealed how Jonnie was axed from his presenting job.

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Producers at Freeform TV, which makes the show, paid him off mid-series and failed to renew his contract.

Jonnie said he felt he had been replaced by someone fitter and healthier but Freeform say it was too hard to get insurance for him to travel.

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