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Why celebrity parents like Holly Willoughby, Helen Skelton and Joe Wicks are putting family first

From Holly's decision to leave This Morning and Ellie Harrison stepping down from Countryfile, here's why being at home with their children is so important to these stars

Holly Willoughby, Joe Wicks and Helen Skelton
Sophie Hamilton
Sophie HamiltonParenting Editor
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Now that the post-pandemic work-from-home ethos is the norm, many of us are choosing to spend more time with our families over the office and commuting - and celebrities are no different.  

For years we’ve been told we can ‘have it all’, but parents are increasingly finding that such a busy work-life balance isn’t really a balance at all and much more of a struggle – which leads us to decide on priorities.

In recent weeks, Countryfile presenters Ellie Harrison and Helen Skelton, and This Morning’s Holly Willoughby have all taken a step back from their careers to put their children first. PE With Joe star Joe Wicks also has a big life change move on the cards.

WATCH: Joe Wicks' kids are adorable making breakfast with dad

Indicative of the national mood, these stars are spearheading an inspiring and welcome trend: spending more time with the people closest to their hearts.

See the celebrities putting their families first…

Ellie Harrison

In October, Countryfile star Ellie Harrison, 45, announced that she was stepping down from the popular BBC show after 13 years, revealing the news in her final Countryfile magazine column.

"After 13 years, my final column is a fond farewell to Countryfile - I'll miss the people, places and stories," she wrote.

Ellie Harrison on Countryfile© Pete Dadds
Ellie Harrison on Countryfile

Explaining the reasons behind her departure, the star continued: "There are many things I'll miss. I've come to realise that I don't need to navigate to a whole new ocean or even a new sea, but to chart a new course somewhere in these waters, raising my three wonderful children, growing our family business and following my own creative calling to produce art of my own making.

"The winds of change are blowing, my hands turn the tiller and I close my eyes to take comfort from Invictus: 'I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.'"

Ellie lives in the Cotswolds with her partner Matthew Goodman and their three children: two daughters and a son.

Ellie began her broadcasting career at Channel 5 before working as a stand-in presenter on Michaela's Wild Challenge. From there, Ellie worked as a freelance presenter, appearing on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and the Discovery Channel.

Ellie Harrison on Countryfile© Pete Dadds
Ellie Harrison is focusing on her family

Helen Skelton

Helen Skelton surprised audiences recently when the popular radio presenter revealed that she would be leaving her BBC Radio 5 job in order to spend more time with her family of young children.

Helen, 40, got a little bit emotional as she confirmed her departure, explaining to her co-host, Lloyd Griffith: "I am not all right about it but, you know, needs must. The juggle is real. There is an eight-year-old with a sideline who needs me. I've loved every minute of the past year... thank you to all the team and thank you to all of you. It’s hard to know what to say without getting emotional."

Helen Skelton attends the ITV Palooza 2019 at The Royal Festival Hall© Karwai Tang
Helen Skelton attends the ITV Palooza 2019 at The Royal Festival Hall

Dan backed the mum-of-three's decision to focus on her family and praised her during an appearance on The Jeremy Vine Show.

"She is an incredibly dedicated mum to her three children and she would say if she were here this morning – she's not, she is with her kids this morning – she would say that parents are making compromises all the time," he explained.

"Of her three children, two of them play football on a Sunday morning and she's made the decision that practically, she would much rather watch them play football and encourage them to do that than be on the radio at that time. And I think that is a decision that parents are making all the time. And anyone who ever spends any time with Helen or watches her on her programmes, all she does is speak about her kids."

Helen playing with her three children© Instagram
The presenter is a doting mother

Helen co-parents her children with her ex-husband, Richie Myler, after splitting from him in 2022.

While Helen might no longer be lighting up the radio studio, she is still on television screens, presenting Dan & Helen's Pennine Adventure. The new Channel 5 series sees the stars head from Dan's Yorkshire home all the way to Helen's home in Cumbria, discovering life for residents along the Pennines.

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Holly Willoughby

Holly Willoughby shocked fans when she announced her resignation from This Morning, the popular ITV daytime show she has co-hosted for the last 14 years.

Following news of a terrifying plot to kidnap and murder the famous mother-of-three, Holly, 42, took time off from the programme and subsequently stepped down from the role.

Holly Willoughby wearing a white sleeveless dress whilst presenting This Morning© Shutterstock
Holly Willoughby has stepped down from This Morning

In her statement, the mum-of-three said: "I have let ITV know today that after 14 years, I will not be returning to This Morning. To everyone who has ever worked on the show over the years, thank you so so much. This is such a difficult goodbye, you are incredible and I forever will be proud of what we've done together."

She added: “It's been an honour to just be part of its story and I know this story has many chapters left to go. Sadly, however, I now feel I have to make this decision for me and my family. I will miss you all so much. Holly."

ITV gave Holly permission to stay off air for as long as she needed to recover from the ordeal, but the TV host and devoted mum decided to put her family first.

Holly Willoughby kissing Dan Baldwin's cheek© Instagram
Holly shared a sweet moment with her husband

The Dancing on Ice host shares her son Harry, 14, daughter Belle, 12, and son Chester, eight, with her TV producer husband Dan Baldwin.

Speaking about how much she adores motherhood, the presenter previously told HELLO!: "All I ever wanted to do was to be a mum. It wasn't like when I was at school I thought, 'Oh, I'm going to be this big career girl'. Being a mummy is definitely my most favourite job of all, without a shadow of a doubt."

 MORE:  Prince Harry carries Princess Lilibet on his shoulders during family outing 

Joe Wicks

The Body Coach Joe Wicks recently opened up about his and wife Rosie's decision to take their eldest child, Indie, five, out of school for at least a year and home educate her.

Joe, 37, Rosie and their three children, Indie, Marley, three, and Leni, eleven months are temporarily relocating to Santa Monica in the US, where the family have an apartment.

joe wicks family© Photo: Instagram
Joe with his wife Rosie and their children

The fitness star told The Times, that he wants to try and have an impact in the States and it suits their lifestyle to take Indie out of school for the near future.

"I just love being with my kids," Joe explained: "It’s not a permanent thing, but we want to have another year together.” 

"I don’t want to be someone who isn’t present in my children’s life . . . what I try and give my children is stability and love, and I want them to know I’m always there for them.”

Joe first told fans of his and Rosie's plans for Indie back in July, posting on his Instagram page: "There's really nothing more to the decision than we just love being together as a family and want to spend more time with the kids while we can."

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