Andrea McLean has said her emailed resignation to Loose Women came as a total shock to her bosses and co-stars who had no idea she was planning on quitting.
She said: "I emailed my bosses. I just said I needed to follow my heart... I was sat in the car! I had it all written and ready to go. I just felt like, now the next part of my life begins.
"It was like I’d pressed the start button. But it felt really right and now I’m happier than ever."
McLean added that it had been an unwelcome surprise to her co-stars, including good friend Brenda Edwards.
She said: "I didn't breathe a word to anybody because I felt like it was such a personal decision. The hardest person to tell was Brenda Edwards, because we’ve become so close. She just burst into tears and ran out of the room.”
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McLean’s exit was closely followed by co-star Saira Khan’s, who controversially said that she had had to “tolerate” some of the other panel members on Loose Women.
Although she said that Khan’s decision hadn’t surprised her as they had often talked about the pressures of balancing running a business with appearing on TV, she said she hadn’t known about Khan’s departure either.
The pair have stayed friends and McLean said that she thought the decision to leave Loose Women had probably been influenced by the coronavirus pandemic for both of them, saying it had made her reflect on life and think about whether she was doing what she loved.
Watch: Andrea McLean announces she’s leaving Loose Women after 13 years