Andrea McLean, 55, has opened up on her decision to walk away from Loose Women as she left colleagues in “absolute shock” after keeping her plans a secret.
The TV star shared it was “scary” to consider walking away from the chat show, but it felt like the right time to begin the “next chapter” in her life.
Opening up on handing in her notice, Andrea 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.”
Andrea did not tell her co-stars about her decision until after she had sent the email to bosses.
She then told them in person of her desire to walk away from the programme.
Andrea noted that her colleagues including Coleen Nolan and Stacey Solomon were ‘in absolute shock” over the news.
The star added to Sunday Mirror’s Notebook magazine: “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.
“I know her well enough to know not to follow her. So I let her have her moment and she came back about five times. It was quite funny, actually.”
However, since quitting the show, Andrea has kept in touch with both Brenda and Saira Khan, who also left the programme shortly after.
Saira quit Loose Women after five years on the show after lockdown gave her time to assess her priorities.
The impact of the pandemic on people’s livelihoods made the former Apprentice star realise what was “truly important”, as she now hopes to spend more time with her family.
Saira explained: “There’s no doubt that the restrictions caused by the pandemic created a catalyst for change.
“Many people, including myself, have rediscovered the importance of putting our lives into perspective. We’ve been able to look at what’s really important to us.
“It has certainly made me assess my priorities, values and how I want to move forward with my life.
“So I start this new year by saying goodbye to Loose Women. After five years of being a regular panellist, I’ve decided to give up my seat to another woman who will benefit from the platform as I did,” she added in her Mirror column.
Although it was a “difficult decision”, Saira has now chosen to focus on new business ventures including her own skincare brand.
Meanwhile former GMTV weather presenter Andrea began appearing on Loose Women in 2007 before her departure.
Since the pair both stepped down earlier this year they have been replaced by new panellist Charlene White.
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