Sarah Willingham with family

Dragons Den star Sarah Willingham reveals why she quit show

Emmy Griffiths

Dragons' Den star Sarah Willingham has revealed exclusively to HELLO! magazine that she decided to quit the hit show after her husband suffered a life-threatening cancer scare.

The entire experience made the family determined that they would live life to the fullest. "Life is short," Sarah says. "You've got to grab it and live it and create memories that matter to you."

The businesswoman was just a few weeks into her round-the-world trip with husband Michael Toxvaerd and their four children when he fell ill and was initially diagnosed with colon cancer. After getting a further opinion, however, doctors discovered he was actually suffering from diverticulitis, a fairly common condition in which pockets develop in the lining of the intestine and become inflamed.

Hello-Sarah-Willingham

"I can't even put into words how I felt," Sarah says of discovering Michael didn't have cancer. "I'd had no control over the situation, none, and that was a completely new sensation for me. And I've never wanted anything as much as that outcome in my life, ever.

"We completely dodged a bullet and it left me with a sense of calm inside, which I hope never goes. It also showed me how precious time is, how you've got to live for the moment and really enjoy it."

She also told HELLO! that filming a third series of the BBC2 show would have meant taking a break from the family's once-in-a-lifetime trip.

"I was asked to go back months ago and I would have loved to have done another series, as it was one of the most brilliant things I've done in my life," Sarah said, explaining that she, Michael and children Minnie, ten, Monti, eight, Nelly, six, and five-year-old Marly would have had to relocate to Manchester for two months for filming.

"But we had made this promise to ourselves, to each other and to the kids, that we would take a year to go off and see the world together and make the most amazing memories. As much as I love Dragons' Den, I love my family more."

Read the full article in HELLO! out now

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