Holly Willoughby opens up about ‘shameful’ childhood struggle with dyslexia

The TV presenter spoke candidly about how she came to love her dyslexia

Holly Willoughby
(Image credit: Getty Images)

TV personality Holly Willoughby has opened up about her ‘shameful’ struggles with dyslexia as a child and revealed how she came to terms with the diagnosis in later life. 

Holly Willoughby's prominent role as one of daytime TV's most recognisable faces has led some to wonder why she quit This Morning. Amid the shocking news, the star is still opening up about a variety of personal topics, each time helping to normalise the struggles many others tend to keep private and maintaining the admiration of her fan base. 

After speaking candidly about balancing her work with her tentative plans to have a fourth child earlier this year, the This Morning presenter has now opened up about her childhood struggle with dyslexia, a common learning difficulty that affects around 6.3 million people in the UK and causes problems with a person's reading, writing and spelling.

Other celebrities who have opened up about their dyslexia include BBC's Boiling Point star Stephen Graham and even Princess Beatrice, who has previously said she thinks her children would be lucky' to have dyslexia

Speaking on This Morning, Hello! Magazine reports that Holly said, "For me, because I'm not very good at spelling, for years I felt shameful about that.

"Dyslexia is such a broad spectrum, people have so many different forms of it. Yes, I'm dyslexic also and I had to find my own tool kit and for me it was finding somebody who understood this who could teach me how to access those tools because at school it wasn't really that well known then."

Holly Willoughby

(Image credit: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Garnier)

Holly finally came to terms with her dyslexia after starting college where she found teachers who knew how to bring out the best in her and gave her the tools to learn in the way that was best for her. 

She touched on her journey to acceptance last year on This Morning when speaking with Sir Richard Branson who also struggles with the learning difficulty. The pair spoke about being 'proud' to be dyslexic and dissected the ways in which it makes them who they are.

She revealed, "I think it makes me who I am. I don't see it as a disability at all, I see it as a real feather in my cap. I'm very proud of being dyslexic, I think it makes me who I am. I think half of the things I think that I'm actually quite good at in life are because I'm dyslexic." 

With her own feelings about dyslexia finally at peace, Holly is now focusing on how she may handle the diagnosis if her own children also struggle with the common symptoms. She admitted that it is a 'concern' for her but that her worries are not too strong as 'schools are so much more advanced' now than they were when she needed a helping hand. 

In an interview with Glasgow's Sunday Post, she said "I do bear it in mind quite a lot. Although my mum hasn't been officially tested she has very similar tendencies to me. I don't know whether that's [dyslexia is] hereditary or not, but I do think about that. Schools are so much more advanced in looking out for it than when I was at school."

Holly Willoughby

(Image credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images)

Holly was diagnosed with dyslexia just before she sat her GCSE's at school, but she wonders if her struggles could have been minimised with an earlier diagnosis.

She revealed on This Morning, " I was a child at school and I got diagnosed just before my GCSEs which was brilliant and helped me then. I do wonder if I had an earlier diagnosis I could have had my learning tailored which may have helped me.

"Later on, once I knew, I got tailored support which was a huge difference to me. Things were put in place, learning support, and I think that is why I am probably OK reading the autocue now and I have the job I do now."

Diagnosing dyslexia has proved to be a difficult task with Healthline reporting that the condition can go 'undiagnosed for years or even decades' despite the fact that the 'earliest signs of dyslexia emerge around 1 to 2 years of age when children first learn to make sounds.' 

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for Goodto.com. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.