Jonnie Irwin is opening up about how his terminal cancer diagnosis has impacted his life.
After he revealed his terminal lung cancer diagnosis in 2020, the British TV personality, 49, claimed to The Sun that his contract was terminated with Channel 4's home improvement show A Place in the Sun, which he hosted on-air since 2004.
Channel 4 did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
In a joint statement to the BBC, Freeform Productions and Channel 4 said, "Jonnie has been a hugely important part of the A Place in The Sun family for over 18 years and all of us were deeply saddened by his diagnosis. Much loved by everyone on the production, no stone was left unturned in trying to enable Jonnie to continue his international filming with us during Covid, but the production company was unable to secure adequate insurance cover for him."
"As soon as people find out you've got cancer, they write you off," he explained. "Yes, I have stage four, and it's terminal — but not yet, so let me live my life while I can."
"As soon as I told A Place In The Sun about my diagnosis, they paid me for the rest of the season, but didn't renew my contract. They knew I wanted to carry on. That hurt. That broke my heart. I feel hugely let down. I can't even watch the show now," Irwin added.
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He was given six months to live when he was first diagnosed in Aug. 2020, as doctors told him the lung cancer spread to his brain. Irwin has since survived on medication, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Irwin said he kept his diagnosis a secret for two years after the show allegedly let him go, out of concern he would lose more work. He's since found work on Escape to the Country, despite looking "thinner" and "without hair."
"But I didn't get that support from A Place In The Sun. I told them I wanted to work," he recounted. "When I said I can get you doctor notes and assurances from my oncologist that I am fit to work, I was told, verbatim, 'Oh, you really don't want to go down that route, do you?'"
He said it "affected my mental health" when the show's bosses said they "don't think" they could get insurance.
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"Within two weeks, someone else was on TV doing my job. I just feel I earned a bit more from them after 18 years. That was my first job in TV, and it was special to me," Irwin added.
Irwin also opened up about his need to "put a roof over our heads and food on the table" for wife Jessica Holmes, 40, and their three sons — Rex, 3, and 2-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac. "I want to go knowing that Jess and the boys are looked after," he said.