Holly Willoughby marks 40th birthday with cake, champagne and a ‘beach party’

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·3-min read

An emotional Holly Willoughby celebrated her 40th birthday live on This Morning with champagne, cake and an indoor beach party.

The TV star was surprised by her colleagues, led by co-host and close friend Phillip Schofield, 58, as she arrived at the studio on Wednesday ahead of the ITV show.

They greeted her with a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday and a round of applause, before setting off indoor pyrotechnics hidden behind the ITV show’s sofa.

“I’m going to spend all day in tears,” she said.

Viewers were also met with a clip of Willoughby’s dressing room, which was full of gifts including several bouquets of flowers, champagne and a hamper.

The presenter enjoyed a large bite of a Colin the Caterpillar cake before Schofield unveiled an indoor beach party featuring sand, a cocktail bar and Gok Wan as DJ.

Willoughby and Schofield were later led through a Margarita tutorial at their beach bar.

To mark the milestone, Willoughby slipped into the dress her mother had worn at her own 40th birthday party.

She wore the blue floral print piece in a tribute to her mother, Linda, who she has been unable to see in recent months due to coronavirus restrictions.

After kicking off the show, she explained why she had wanted to wear an outfit belonging to her mother.

She said: “I knew it would feel nice to wear something she had worn on her day, when it was the same day.

“But there was a bit of a moment this morning as I was zipping it up.

“I was thinking, ‘This is quite weird. My mum did this on her 40th birthday and now I am doing it on my 40th birthday’. It was quite special.

“And it seems more special because I can’t be with her today, obviously. It is nice to have this and feel a little closer.”

Willoughby also shared a throwback picture of Linda wearing the dress on Instagram, prompting compliments from famous friends including Piers Morgan and Emma Bunton.

She added: “I can’t be with my Mum or Dad today but wearing this in her honour makes me feel closer to them… love you Mumma!”

Later in the show, three of her schoolfriends – Hannah, Sarah and Alice – appeared via video call to share their memories of Willoughby as a teenager.

In a video message, presenting duo Ant and Dec revealed they had bought her a pair of cushions with their faces on them, and joked that they planned to drop them off outside her home later in the day.

Bradley Walsh, Keith Lemon, Stephen Mulhern and the stars of Midsomer Murders also shared birthday messages on the show.

Fellow TV star Fearne Cotton was among those sharing their congratulations online.

Posting a throwback photo of them together on a beach, she wrote on Instagram: “How has time flown by so quickly. Your birthday today gave me the perfect excuse to delve back into our early twenties.

“So much fun and freedom and laughter and gin. Wishing you the best day Holly! Here’s to 40 darling.”

Finishing the show, Willoughby told viewers: “Thank you everybody. It means the world.”