Andrea McLean has tearfully announced she is leaving Loose Women after 13 years on the panel.
The presenter said she is leaving the ITV daytime show to focus on her website and lifestyle brand This Girl Is On Fire and will make her last appearance before Christmas.
Speaking to her fellow panellists Linda Robson, Brenda Edwards and Saira Khan, Andrea revealed how the pandemic had made her reflect on her life.
She explained: “Like so many people this has been a time to hugely reflect and think back. So many people have been talking about how they can’t wait for life to get back to normal. I, like many people, did that and thought, ‘Do I want my life to go back to the normal that it was before?’
“Obviously last year I had a nervous breakdown and what I felt is that this year collectively the world has had a breakdown. The experience that I had has meant that this year that I have actually been mentally really strong to deal with everything that the pandemic threw at all of us but it made me stop and think, ‘What do I actually want?’”
She continued: “You get one life, are you living it the way that you want? And are you doing everything that you want to do? Are you being brave? Are you taking chances? And I realised, no.”
Becoming emotional, Andrea added: “I didn’t think I was going to cry. I’ve told you ladies just before we came on air. I’m going to be leaving Loose Women because I want to be brave...all the incredible feedback that I had from my book and the support I was able to give them, I want to bring it to life.
“It was a really, really big decision to jump and see if I fall or if I fly. And I just thought, I will never know unless I try, so I am saying goodbye to Loose Women.”
Andrea insisted it was her decision to step away from the show, and said ITV had been “amazing” by actually offering to lighten her workload in order to keep her.
She said: “I have been anchoring Loose Women for 13 years now and I have been part of ITV daytime for 23 and actually the team have been so wonderful [saying] ‘Can we help, can we give you less days so you can focus on your business?’”
Linda Robson became choked up at the news, and said: “I am going to miss you so much, Andrea. Honestly you have been amazing and a real good friend to me. When I was going through my depression and everything, you were the one that was ringing all the time to see that I was okay.”
Loose Women editor Sally Shelford later thanked Andrea for her contribution to the show in a statement.
She said: “Andrea has been an important member of the Loose Women family for an incredible 13 years, sharing laughs, opinions, fun and friendship with our viewers. As well as being a much-loved anchor and friend, over the years she has been a passionate supporter of our award-winning Lighten the Load and Body Stories campaigns.
“We are very sad to say goodbye, but she will always be part of the Loose family and we wish her all the best for her exciting new chapter.”
Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.