The TV star shared that he could have just months to live after the cancer in his lung spread to his brain, but he’s trying his best to maintain a positive attitude.
Jonnie, 48, chose to keep his diagnosis private up until now, admitting he wants to ‘get the monkey off my back’ and speak openly about it.
A keen sportsman, the star married wife Jessica Holmes, 40, in 2016 and they share three sons – Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac.
Opening up about his cancer to Hello!, Jonnie began: ‘I don’t know how long I have left, but I try to stay positive and my attitude is that I’m living with cancer, not dying from it.
‘I set little markers – things I want to be around for. I got into the habit of saying, “Don’t plan ahead because I might not be well enough.” But now I want to make plans. I want to make memories and capture these moments with my family because the reality is, my boys are going to grow up not knowing their dad and that breaks my heart.’
He first got a warning sign that something wasn’t quite right in August 2020, when he was in Italy, filming for A Place in the Sun.
His vision became blurred while driving, and he had tests as soon as he arrived home.
‘Within a week of flying back from filming, I was being given six months to live,’ he said. ‘I had to go home and tell my wife, who was looking after our babies, that she was on her own pretty much. That was devastating. All I could do was apologise to her. I felt so responsible.’
Jonnie has been undergoing chemotherapy and he’s continued to work throughout, with cancer drugs helping to prolong his prognosis.
Speaking about why he wants to announce his cancer to the world, he admitted it felt like he was ‘carrying a dirty secret’ and he wants to now ‘inspire people who are living with life-limiting prospects to make the most of every day.’
‘One day, this is going to catch up with me,’ he added. ‘But, I’m doing everything I can to hold that day off for as long as possible. I owe that to Jess and our boys. Some people in my position have bucket lists, but I just want us to do as much as we can as a family.’
Macmillan cancer support