Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas left Holly Willoughby, as well as viewers across the nation, in tears during his first interview since his wife Gemma died in November.
Simon appeared on ITV’s This Morning to talk about how he’s coping with his loss, while bringing up his young son, Ethan.
His wife Gemma died just three days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at the end of November, leaving behind her husband and their eight-year-old child.
Watch a clip of the interview here:
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The 45-year-old was recalling the moment he had to break the tragic news to Ethan. Tears started rolling down Holly’s cheeks as he told them how his son ‘fell to the floor’.
Her voice cracked as she tried to ask Simon more questions about his loss, apologising for crying and praising Simon for being brave.
Thank you so much for your incredible honesty. @SimonThomasSky lots of love to you and Ethan
— Phillip Schofield (@Schofe) February 27, 2018
Simon has spoken openly and honestly about his struggles since losing Gemma and has been sharing his story with his followers on social media – and through his blog, A Grief Shared.
It wasn’t just Holly struggling to keep her emotions under control, Simon’s story had viewers in bits as well:
Heartbreaking watching Simon Thomas on @thismorning. I sadly found my father passed away in December & it's been hard to get over the trauma & grief, esp as I'm expecting my first child. I have great support though which is important @Schofe @hollywills
— Rachel Blair (@Rachylou1981) February 27, 2018
How amazing is Simon Thomas on @thismorning I’m crying so much you are so brave all my love too you and your son ?
— Carly Mawer (@clasycarly) February 27, 2018
#ThisMorning …In absolute bits watching Simon Thomas, could happen to any of us. So much respect ❤️
— Bella Beauty (@bella_beauty_x) February 27, 2018
@SimonThomasSky hope you’ve recorded @thismorning for Ethan coz if he wasn’t proud of his dad already he bloody well will be now . . love and light on your journey together fella ?? #ThisMorning #bloodwise #simonthomas
— Andy May (@andycx75) February 27, 2018
@thismorning Heartbreaking segment on berievement with Simon Thomas. My heart goes out to everyone, that has experienced such a devastating & life altering loss. @Schofe @hollywills you two are simply amazing ❤
— Ria (@RiaMundy) February 27, 2018
@thismorning Oh my goodness, Simon Thomas’ interview. How utterly heartbreaking. Sending him and Ethan love and strength for when they can begin to think about plan B. Holly and Phil, I can understand why you got upset too ❤️
— Shelain Horswell (@coppernob69) February 27, 2018
oh god the whole of #ThisMorning has broken down cos of the Simon Thomas interview ? n who can blame them. but when Philip and holly go… it's not long before you do to. ❤ love to Simon and Ethan. x
— Mrs B ?✌ (@C_bahri14216) February 27, 2018
@thismorning A beautifully dealt with story of the normal responses of grief, bereavement and devastation. Well done Simon Thomas. I’m a nurse and seeing death and bereavement discussed openly is so important to me.
— Nurse Sooz (@nurseysooz) February 27, 2018
Well Phil crying and the way his voice broke has absolutely ruined me, Holly trying to comfort him and hold it together ?? what a heartbreaking story, Simon Thomas's strength is incredible #ThisMorning
— katie (@Kaaaaatie_x) February 27, 2018
Where the tissues at because Simon Thomas talking about his wife is emotional? #ThisMorning
— Abby Pearson (@_AbbyPearson) February 27, 2018
Watching Simon Thomas is heart breakibg. Im sat with my two grandchildren and wouldnt know how we could cope with such a sad story. Crying like most of your viewers ??#ThisMorning
— Jackie Tickle (@JackieTickle2) February 27, 2018
Simon wants to raise awareness of the disease and wants to inspire people who’ve suffered a loss, by sharing his story.
One thing Simon has been doing is sharing photos of ‘snack notes’ he’s been writing for Ethan.
The snack notes are inspirational and motivational messages which Ethan takes to school to ‘keep him going’.
— Simon Thomas (@SimonThomasSky) January 11, 2018
Now, a stranger has taken it upon himself to write a note for every single day of 2018 for Simon, too.
In his latest post, Simon wrote:
Today’s #snacknote is a bit different.
Since Gemma went I have been so moved by the support and messages I get from people on here, people I haven’t even met, yet people who care about me and what I’m going through.
A guy called Dan Ritchie, who I have yet to meet (but will) had seen my notes for Ethan and felt I needed some too, to encourage me and help me keep going when I feel like giving up.
So he’s written me a daily note too – for every single day of the coming year! That’s #lightinthedarkness right there.
Wow. Wow. Wow.
From @SimonThomasSky’s Insta. The kindness out there can be completely humbling.
Dan. Whoever you are, wherever you are…we need a whole world of Dans.
— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) January 23, 2018
Fellow sports broadcaster Jake Humphrey tweeted:
Wow. Wow. Wow.
The kindness out there can be completely humbling. Dan. Whoever you are, wherever you are…We need a whole world of Dans.
Could not agree more.
Simon and Ethan endured both Christmas and New Year in a few weeks after losing Gemma.
On Christmas Eve, Simon posted:
A time for each other. A time for holding that person you cherish that bit closer. A time to say I love you that bit more intensely.
A time to eat drink and be brilliantly merry. I will remember those times with my wife Gemma tomorrow & miss her so very much.
Happy Christmas xx
Eight weeks ago I lost the love of my life. Gemma was everything – my soul mate, my rock, the wind beneath my wings and a beautiful mum. The pain of life without her is at times too much to bear but out of this heartbreak the light will shine again. Life is so precious. God Bless pic.twitter.com/wmwDmkQipM
— Simon Thomas (@SimonThomasSky) January 19, 2018
After New Year, Simon shared a heartbreaking message saying he was returning to the family home for the first time since Gemma had passed away.
So tomorrow it’s home time. Except it’s not the home I want to be in anymore. Since Gemma went I’ve managed 30 seconds in our bedroom before breaking down. The room where we slept and held each other, now a room of pain.
Now is not the time for snap decisions and new starts, but how on Earth do I deal with a house that has her creative touch woven into its very being? A house that sings Gemma?
Our friends have been beyond amazing, yet I now feel not just in a different place to them, but in a different universe. The meals, the play dates, the fun is now achingly different. As their family life continues and for some, new babies arrive, I feel like an alien.
It’s like my life has been put back into reverse. In three horrible days I’m back to being single. Back to having no idea how to really cook. Back to the place I never really enjoyed. Career suddenly in reverse. The massive difference now is I have my precious boy to look after. I pray to God that if nothing else, I can do this last bit.
You can read Simon’s blog, A Grief Shared, here.