Saira Khan has surprised fans by announcing she has left Loose Women. The 50-year-old, who has been a regular face on the ITV daytime show since September 2015, confirmed she will not return for a farewell episode.
Announcing her departure in her column for the Sunday Mirror over the weekend, the TV star explained the coronavirus pandemic had forced her to re-evaluate her priorities.
"It wasn't an easy decision, but one that I needed to make in order to grow myself in other ways," she later wrote on Instagram. "I came to the show a troubled soul and I will eternally be grateful for the platform @loosewomen gave me to share, speak up and out.
WATCH: Saira Khan gives us an exclusive tour of her incredible garden
"I will miss the great women who have become my very close friends. I feel honoured and privileged to have sat alongside them and learnt from them."
On what the future holds for her, Saira continued: "I leave the show feeling I've dealt with the baggage and now can enjoy moving forward to grow and enjoy new life opportunities, which includes growing my skincare business @sairaskinuk and exploring other Media projects."
The mum-of-two also urged Loose Women show bosses to replace her on the panel with someone who is gay, trangender or non-binary. "I'd love my @loosewomen seat to be given to either a gay, transgender or non-binary person - that will help the show to be more reflective of the world we live in," she said. "That's what I would do if I was in charge."
The TV star has left Loose Women after five years
Saira then noted: "I don't like formal goodbyes, so I won't be on the show to look back at my 'best bits'. That's not how I want to say goodbye."
Thanking her fans for their support, the presenter concluded: "You have given me so much love and self-confidence, more than you will ever know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Since confirming her news, Saira has further explained her decision to not do a "final" episode. "I am not doing a big goodbye show because I don't like 'big goodbyes'. I have used the press and social media to say it, in my way, my words and manner.
"Thank you to every single person who has taken time to send me such wonderful, kind, heartfelt messages. I've teared up for most of today. Thank you for your kindness, I am so humbled and touched."
The presenter shares two children with husband Steve
Saira first rose to fame when she finished as runner-up on the first series of The Apprentice in 2005. Her surprise exit follows fellow Loose Woman star Andrea McLean, who left the series in December after 13 years on the panel.
Co-star Ruth Langsford was one of the first to comment, writing: "You have been and always will be an AMAZING Loose Woman! Missing you already my friend." Andrea remarked: "You’re an incredible woman Saira. I wish you so much luck, love and great things in 2021." Denise Welch added: "Will miss you Saira but hopefully not in real life."
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