Holly Willoughby 40th birthday – A look at the emotional stories that left her in floods of tears & crying with laughter

SHE'S delivered some of the most powerful and moving daytime TV moments of the last decade – with a lot of tears along the way.

And now, as Holly Willoughby celebrates her 40th birthday today, we're looking back over 40 of the most memorable ones – from the heartbreaking through to the heartwarming.

Whether it's her incredible support for co-host Phillip Schofield when he bravely revealed he was gay, or her breaking down on camera during difficult interviews, Holly has shared some truly moving moments with the nation.

Of course, among them there have been some hysterically funny points too.

To mark her special day, Phillip pulled off an incredible surprise backstage at This Morning, with hundreds of balloons and a giant 40th light up sign – leaving her speechless.

Here we break down Holly's top 40 tearful moments on This Morning…


A post shared by Holly Willoughby (@hollywilloughby)

Top 10 tear-jerking moments 😭😭😭

1. Heartbreaking call-in from grieving mum

Holly broke down in tears in 2017 when a lady called Angela shared her story about her disabled son's death.

She had set up a 'Do Not Resuscitate' order, as he was in "terrible pain", but claimed medics went against her wishes and intubated him. He later tragically passed away.

2. Widower recites poem about loneliness

Holly struggled to cope in June last year when widower Bob Lowe recited a stunning poem he'd written for his late wife Kath, who died in 2011 following a battle with Alzheimer’s.

3. Chat with parents of mentally ill teenager

Holly couldn't contain her emotions in 2016 when parents of a then 15-year-old, Matthew Garnett, joined her and Phil to talk about their battle to get their son out of a psychiatric unit.

4. Emotionally-charged chat with Simon Thomas

When star guest Simon Thomas – who lost his wife Gemma in November 2017 – described the heartbreaking moment he told his son she'd died, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

5. Mum's pain over her son's death from sepsis

When a mum opened up on her agony over her son's death from sepsis in 2017, there were tears right around the country.

6. Lockdown miscarriage heartbreak

Holly shared in the nation's heartbreak last April when a caller asked for advice after suffering a miscarriage.

7. Girl, 12, driven to self-harm over bullying

Holly was left fighting back tears in November last year when she chatted to a mum whose daughter had been driven to self-harm after being bullied over her ginger hair.

8. Interview with Manchester terror attack survivors

Holly and Phil led a lot of moving coverage around the Manchester terror attack in 2017, and one heartbreaking interview came when they met survivor Emily Orchard, who had been left contemplating suicide.

9. Meeting the man who tried to save hero policeman Keith Palmer

In 2017, Holly and Phil delivered a very powerful interview when they met a man who tried to help save the life of PC Keith Palmer – the hero policeman who was knifed to death in the Westminster terror attack.

10. Her own heartbreak

Appearing on TV every morning for years means a lot of Holly and Phil's personal lives have played out on screen too – and she struggled to keep her composure in 2016 after revealing her pet cat had sadly died.

Top 10 heartwarming moments 😢😢😢

1. Moving interview with nuns

Just weeks ago, Holly wiped away tears after a moving interview with nuns from The Poor Clares of Arundel, who assured her "it will all be okay".

2. Kids reuniting with grandparents

A video showing emotional reunions between grandparents and grandkids last year left Holly in floods.

3. Incredible music by dementia sufferer Paul Harvey

Music teacher Paul Harvey, who suffers with dementia, became an internet sensation last year thanks to his incredible performances – and his appearance on This Morning proved too much for Holly.

4. Family's Les Miserables rendition

Another major viral hit last year was a video of a family singing their own version of Les Miserables' One Day More amid lockdown – once again wowing a shocked Holly.

5. Disabled boy defies the odds

Perhaps one of the most heart-warming moments came in 2019, when four-year-old disabled boy Christian appeared on the show.

Christian, was born with severe brain damage and doctors feared he'd be unable to walk, talk or even smile. However, his big sister, Jade Kilduff, taught him to speak after her family fostered and later adopted Christian.

6. Accepting a little boy's proposal

Arthur, who appeared on The Secret Life Of 4 Year Olds, melted viewers' hearts in 2019 when he proposed to Holly live on air.

7. Tears over Harry and Meghan

There weren't many dry eyes around the UK when Prince Harry married Meghan – and to celebrate the couple's journey, This Morning aired a montage video of their sweetest moments last year.

Unsurprisingly, poor Holly was gone.

8. Meeting newborn babies on the ward

If there's one thing guaranteed to pull on Holly's heartstrings, it's a newborn baby – and she had the chance to spend the morning with them during a special episode of This Morning in 2016.

9. Blind boy’s joy at being made England mascot

When This Morning guest Declan, 10, was made a football mascot for England in 2019, Holly welled up as his excited reaction.

10. Young carer's sacrifice

In 2016, Holly and Phil surprised young carer Amy, 13, who looks after her mum and siblings, with a call and a table full of gifts.

Top 10 moments showing her love for her co-stars 🥲🥲🥲

1. Phillip revealing he's gay on air

It's clear to see how close Holly has become to her best friend and co-host Phil on air – but it was never so evident as when she sat by his side as he bravely opened up about coming out as gay to his family.

2. Phil's comment leaves her in tears

As the country struggled to come to terms with lockdown last April, Holly became emotional after Phil publicly thanked her for being there for him, saying: "Thank goodness we've got each other."

3. Comforting Eva Speakman as she relived horrendous ordeal

Holly's love for her co-stars stretches throughout the studio, and she proved a pillar of strength in 2019 when the show's life coach Eva Speakman recounted her harrowing domestic abuse ordeal.

4. Comforting Coleen Nolan

It's not just Holly's This Morning pals that always have her support either, and she helped Loose Women's Coleen Nolan through a difficult interview in 2018 too, following her 'bullying' row with Kim Woodburn.

5. Emotional caller admits Holly and Phil are 'her life'

Holly struggled to stop the tears flowing in July last year when an emotional This Morning viewer, 73, told her and Phil: "You are my life".

6. April Fools joke goes very wrong

In amongst the truly heart-wrenching moments though, there are some jokey ones too – and Phil decided to play the ultimate prank on his friend in 2019 for April Fools' Day.

He organised for a 'guest' to start crying after having a makeover on the show, pretending she hated it. It brought Holly to tears when she found out.

7. Rescue pups bring her to tears

In 2019, after spending time with some rescue dogs, Phil revealed his co-host had been overcome with emotion behind the scenes.

8. Last goodbye before maternity leave

When Holly took several months off for maternity leave in 2014, it proved very difficult for the star as she began crying on air.

9. Hugging Phil for first time mid-pandemic

Due to strict social distancing rules, Holly and Phil had to spend a lot of last year sat far apart.

But in September, they hugged for the first time on camera thanks to some clever plastic sheeting which ensured their safety – and it proved a very moving moment for both of them.

10. A paw-fect birthday gift from Phil

Few people know how to set Holly off as well as Phil, and he left her choked up when he presented her with a basket of puppies on her 38th birthday.

Guaranteed tears.

Top 10 crying with laughter moments 😂😂😂

1. Tears of laughter over rude drawings

It's not just the heartbreaking moments that have left Holly in tears, and she's known for her hysterical reactions to funny moments too.

One of the most memorable came when she was left struggling to speak and in tears after the show aired a series of naughty drawings by innocent kids in 2019.

2. Introducing her ‘festive sack’

Another guaranteed trigger for the hysterics is an accidental innuendo, and Holly sank to her knees after introducing her "festive sack" to viewers.

3. Laughter over a 'muff'

Both This Morning hosts were left in fits in 2019 over Alice Beer's innuendos on the show – especially when she referred to a microwavable hand warmer as a "muff".

4. Gino's 'bike' comment

Who could forget the moment Holly made the fatal mistake of telling Gino D'Acampo he'd almost made a British carbonara?

The disgruntled chef left the hosts hysterical when he replied: "If my grandma did have wheels she'd have been a bike!"

5. Phil's exciting 'inner city plot' story

A gardening segment left the hosts bent double with laughter when Phil said they'd be revealing, "the endless possibilities an inner city plot can provide". He admitted shortly after: "I think we could have sold that slightly better!"

6. Phobias of 'holes' and belly buttons

Viewers were once again laughing along with the pair in October last year when the Speakmans teased a segment on phobias of “clusters of holes and belly buttons".

7. THAT weird noise

In just about every compilation of Holly and Phil laughing, there sits the moment she shocked her co-host with a bizarre noise mid-laugh.

8. Pretending to flash during laughing yoga

Introducing 'laughing yoga' to Holly and Phil was only ever going to go one way – and they didn't disappoint when they tried it in 2019.

9. Cheeky 'gas' innuendo

In 2016, Holly was once again left in uncontrollable giggles when lifestyle reporter Steve Wilson mentioned a Dyson fan could help eliminate "household gases".

10. 'X-rated' milk frothing hack

When Holly and Phil were being taught the best way to froth milk to get a professional-tasting coffee, the show took a very rude turn.

"You want to pump it up and down, quite hard," they were told, before Holly joked: "You’ve gone for the deep plunge, while I’ve gone for a shallow plunge!"

Here's to the next 40!

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