Escape to the Country and A Place in the Sun star Jonnie Irwin has spoken out on his and his wife Jess’s decision not to tell their three children about his ongoing cancer battle.
The 50-year-old was told he had a matter of months to live when he was first diagnosed with lung cancer back in 2020 but three years on, he admits he feel “privileged” to be able to celebrate the milestone birthday with his sons in Spain.
Irwin’s battle with the illness hasn’t been without its obstacles, including of late a hospital stay with jaundice as well as a nasty chest infection bout.
He’s also undergone chemotherapy and a number of hospice trips since his 2020 diagnosis after the illness spread to his brain and liver.
But he remains in high spirits as he continues to defy the odds set by doctors, culminating in his family’s recent getaway to Spain to celebrate his 50th.
Accompanied by sons Rex, four, and three-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac as well as his wife, Irwin has reflected in a new interview about the “valuable” time he spends with his family and why he won’t let it be marred by them knowing about his illness.
Jonnie Irwin alongside his wife Jess and their three children
Irwin told Hello! that his children know “absolutely nothing” about his illness before he delved into why they want to keep it that way.
The Escape to the Country star explained: “They’ve got bad news coming so I want them to have as blissful a childhood as possible.”
Irwin’s wife, 41, weighed in: “When I was told Jonnie might not live to see the twins’ third birthday I was a mess. I didn’t know what to do and nobody can help you with what is going to happen and how you are going to feel.
“It was important to get away for Jonnie’s birthday because we honestly didn’t expect him to be here, so it’s really special.
“It’s lovely to see him with the boys around the pool and outside in the warm weather.
“It’s not just celebrating his birthday; it’s celebrating that we’re on holiday, we managed to get on a plane, and he’s still here, which we weren’t necessarily expecting.”
Irwin and his other half haven’t only been celebrating his 50th birthday this year, either.
The pair enjoyed their seven-year wedding anniversary back in October with Irwin penning an adorable tribute to his wife.
“7 years married to this Angel,” Irwin wrote on Instagram. “I use this term because the love she shows to others is beyond comparison.
“Last night was just us; chatting, planning and gossiping. So good. Amazing food and staff at @lovagejesmond made our evening perfect. #anniversary.”
Irwin’s determination and resilience have shone through over the past few years and show no signs of slowing down any time soon.
He’s still undertaking the mammoth task of renovating his family’s Newcastle home while he’s also teased a number of new on-screen work projects in the pipeline in recent weeks.