HOLLY WILLOUGHBY has confirmed she has quit as presenter of one of ITV’s biggest shows, taking to her social media pages to explain her decision after standing in the role for over a decade.
Holly Willoughby, 39, is best known for hosting ITV Daytime show This Morning on a weekday basis alongside co-star, Phillip Schofield, 59. However, she is also known for showing her more comedic side as a team captain on ITV2 panel show Celebrity Juice and has starred on the show for a staggering 12 years. However, the presenter has announced she is quitting the programme hosted by comedian and Keith Lemon star, Leigh Francis, 47.
The game show has run of the broadcasters sister channel since 2008, with Holly being one of the original members of the show.
She joined Leigh as Keith and friend Fearne Cotton, 38, to front the late-night quiz programme and over the years, has captained her team to numerous victories.
Whilst she taken maternity leave over the past 12 years, with the presenter being replaced by the likes of Gino DAcampo, 43, the mother-of-three has always returned to the panel.
Now, after source reports claimed the presenter was leaving the show, Holly has confirmed the news via her social media channels.
A TV insider told The Sun: “Holly has absolutely loved her time on the show — its been a huge part of her life and has really helped to expand her fanbase over the years.
“But she feels now is the right time to bow out and wants to free up a bit more of her busy schedule to spend with her family.”
In light of the reports, Holly took to Instagram on Sunday and told her 6.6 million followers: “Thank you @celebjuiceofficial for 12 years of fantastic chaos… I cant quite believe what weve done and how quick that time has gone.
“Thank you to you all for watching..weve always had the loudest and best audiences.
“Also a huge thank you to @itv2 for believing in the show in the first place and for all of your support…Over the years the production team has changed, however to anyone lucky enough to have worked on the show, they will know that we really do have the best time, its never felt like work and always been to me like a night out.”
The presenter continued: “Thank you for all your ingenious ideas and hard work…all good things must come to an end and nothing lasts forever…Its time for me to hand over my team captain seat to some lucky lucky person… whoever that is, know you are about to get one of the best jobs in telly working with one of comedies finest…@keithlemon.”
Holly then ended the post by thanking Leigh and Fearne for making her experience so memorable, adding she would be returning in a guest capacity sometime in the future.
It was Holly who kept Celebrity Juice on-air as Leigh almost called time as host after their co-star decided to step down in 2018.
Speaking with Digital Spy, the comedian said: “I thought, If Holly leaves because Fearne is then that really is the end, Im not doing it without them both.
“But then I spoke to Holly and the first thing she said was, Who are we going to get then? I said, So youre still up for it then? and she said, Of course!.
According to the Keith Lemon star, the This Morning presenter admitted she thought he would be the first of the three to leave.
Taking to social media, viewers of the ITV quiz show voiced their reaction to Hollys departure.
One wrote on Twitter: “Holly Willoughby quits celebrity juice. Dont see how that show can continue.
Another added on the micro-blogging site: “Ok can I cry in so sad that @hollywills has quit @CelebJuice I understand why but omg she makes me smile on the show poor @lemontwittor if it continues what an incredible show will turn out to be unless it shelved which I hope it doesnt.”
Whilst a third commented: “Holly Willoughby has quit Celebrity Juice,” followed by a couple of crying face emojis.
It seems there is already interest on who could be stepping in to replace Holly as a team captain, going up against Fearnes replacement, Mel B, 44.
According to Ladbrokes bookmakers, Our Girl star and former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan, 32, is the frontrunner to join the show.
The actresses odds currently stand at 4/1 to replace the This Morning star, with Fearnes chances of making a return at 5/1.
Ladbrokes spokesperson Alex Apati said: “Michelle Keegan’s no stranger to Celebrity Juice and she could soon become a permanent fixture if the latest odds are anything to go by.”
Having recently hung up her shoes on the role of Georgie Lane on BBC drama Our Girl, could she consider filling Hollys role?
As well as focussing on spending more time with her family, it seems Holly will continue with her duties on This Morning.
The presenter is also the face of Dancing on Ice, which she hosts with Phillip, and it seems she will be carrying on with this role if the reality show is renewed.
On one of the most recent editions of Celebrity Juice, the popular television star was joined by her fellow ITV colleagues Eamonn Holmes, 60, and Ruth Langsford, 60.
All three This Morning stars took part in a very special lockdown edition of the quiz programme, all joining in with the antics via video.