There are big changes happening at ITV’s This Morning next month, as Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary take over presenting duties from Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes on Fridays. And fellow presenter Holly Willoughby, who co-hosts Mondays to Thursdays with Phillip Schofield, is making changes of her own.
The 39-year-old star has previously confessed she found juggling a career and motherhood a struggle, especially when her children Harry, 11, Belle, nine, and six-year-old Chester were younger.
She said, ‘Becoming a mum was the only thing I knew I definitely wanted when I was growing up, but the image I had never involved me being a working mum. That’s the biggest challenge. I’ve been riddled with guilt about getting that part wrong. You love them so much and you don’t want to mess them up.’
It seems, after spending time with her TV producer husband Dan Baldwin, 45, and kids in lockdown, Holly is taking back control of her career, and making big changes to her work-life balance.
Going it alone
In September, Holly cut ties with her agent YMU Entertainment after 13 years of working together, and launched her own talent company Roxy Management, with an all- female team.
It came a few months after she quit Celebrity Juice following 12 years as a team captain, and an insider revealed her decisions were down to spending lockdown reflecting on her hugely successful career so far and deciding it was time for a change.
They said, ‘Lockdown has given her time to reflect and think about her future. In many ways, it has become the perfect opportunity to start afresh, and it was just time for a change.
‘She is really excited about managing herself and having more say over decisions on a day-to-day basis.’
The insider continued, ‘She has always had such incredible business sense and is proud to be a working mum and career woman. Her taking control back does not surprise me.’
Family comes first
Holly had already started trying to free up more of her time in 2018, when she pulled out of her lifestyle brand Truly – worth a predicted £10 million a year – just days before it was meant to launch with the help of her Dragons’ Den friend Peter Jones.
At the time, she said, ‘To launch a brand needs total dedication and, at the moment, with so many other commitments, this is not something I feel I can do without it starting to affect my family time at home. I wish Truly all the success for the future.’
She added, ‘You cannot have it all. I’ve had the most incredible opportunities this year, but it’s also overwhelming.
‘Truly was something I was very passionate about, but my husband has a really high-pressured, busy job and I have three kids and other projects. My son Harry has really got into football, and I want to be able to take him there so he can do what he loves.
‘I didn’t want to be in a position where I was working in the evenings and couldn’t be with them. It’s not just about me having my dream and everyone fitting round it, it’s about putting family first.’
At the beginning of last year, Holly gave up her £450,000 role as ambassador for Diet Coke, too, to prioritise spending time with her family.
Here’s to getting the balance right!