Andrea McLean reveals why she REALLY left Loose Women

Andrea McLean opens up about swapping Loose Women for life coaching, battling Covid and how she stays looking youthful

Andrea McLean

by Sophie Barton |
Updated on

Partway through our interview, Andrea Mclean, 52, rummages in her desk and holds up a red sign, emblazoned with the words “Do Not Disturb.” Laughing, she explains that it is one of two that she’s gathered since working from home. The second warns “Quiet please, meditation in progress” and comes in handy every day, to protect her sacred morning routine.

“I get up at 7am, pop in my headphones and stick the sign up on my door,” she tells Closer. “It reminds everyone to leave me alone while I meditate. I use a free app called Insight Timer, and spend a minimum of 10 minutes meditating each day. I do it first thing, and it gives me a good baseline of emotional calm before the day begins. It means you’re not flipping at the slightest thing.”

Andrea’s routine reflects her new lifestyle. After 13 years of hosting Loose Women, appearing daily on live television in front of over a million viewers, she packed it all in to follow her passion and retrain in life coaching. Together with her husband and “wingman” Nick Feeney, 50, they have thrown their energies into This Girl Is On Fire, an online community dedicated to empowering women through expert masterclasses. It was partly inspired by Andrea’s own experiences – she suffered a devastating breakdown in 2018. “I was so anxious and overwhelmed that I got into a spiral of negativity. I couldn’t see any good in the world,” she told Closer. After recovering with the help of talking therapy and CBT, Andrea wanted to help other women.

“It’s been quite a transition moving into something new, which started as a passion,” she admits. “I loved live TV, it’s a lot of fun having someone do your hair and make-up and hand you a nice outfit to wear. Then you put in your earpiece, and you feel very strong and capable. But I’ve realised I’m still using the same skillset now, in a different way.

Check out: 17 soap stars who were axed and the controversial reasons why


Soap stars who were axed and the controversial reasons why

axed soap stars sarah jayne dunn hollyoaks1 of 17
CREDIT: Channel 4

Sarah Jayne Dunn (Hollyoaks)

Sarah recently left her role as Mandy Richardson after Hollyoaks bosses called her in for a meeting about her decision to join X-rated subscription site OnlyFans.She insisted she wasn't going to quit the website, meaning producers gave her the boot. A spokesperson confirmed the news in a statement which read, "Hollyoaks is a youth-facing drama with many young viewers, who follow our cast very closely, both in the soap and outside of it. We take our responsibility to our young audience very seriously and therefore the show does not allow any Hollyoaks cast members to be active on certain 18+ websites."We had hoped we could reach a resolution with Sarah that would allow her to remain in her role as Mandy, but we respect her choice to continue to produce content on OnlyFans. In the past four years since her return to the show her legacy character has been an integral part of some our most important storylines and we will be very sad to see her go."

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Asan N'Jie (Emmerdale)

Ellis Chapman actor Asan N'Jie was sacked from Emmerdale back in 2019 after reportedly threatening to kill Hollyoaks star Jamie Lomas. A video of the pair rowing at the TV Choice Awards surfaced on social media, in which it's claimed Asan threatened to "knife" Jamie and told him, "Do you think you are a f--king big man? I'm going to f--king kill you."An ITV spokesperson later confirmed that Asan had lost his job over the incident. They said, "Emmerdale suspended Asan N'Jie pending further investigation into an incident at a central London hotel on Monday night. ITV executives have met with him and as a consequence Asan's contract has been terminated with immediate effect."It was announced two months later than the role had been recast, with actor Aaron Anthony replacing Asan.

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Leslie Grantham (EastEnders)

In one of the most shocking soap moments of all time, Leslie Grantham reprised his role as EastEnders' Dirty Den when the iconic character returned from the dead in 2003. But just months later, Leslie was suspended when he was caught exposing himself on webcam and badmouthing co-stars Shane Richie, Wendy Richard, Kim Medcalf and Jessie Wallace by an undercover reporter. At the time, the actor issued a public apology and tried to make amends by donating to charity but it was too late and a spokesman for the BBC soap soon confirmed the actor had left for good.

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Chris Fountain (Coronation Street)

Chris Fountain rose to fame as Justin Burton on Hollyoaks and took on his second soap role in 2011 when he joined Coronation Street as Tommy Duckworth.Two years later, he tried his hand at music and released of a video of himself rapping about rape and violence. This, of course, didn't go well down with Corrie bosses who insisted they had "no choice" but to give him the sack.

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CREDIT: Channel 4

Stephanie Davis (Hollyoaks)

Hollyoaks star Stephanie Davis had her contract terminated in 2015 for turning up late on set after a series of boozy nights out. According to reports, there were 20 incidents that led to her losing her job.After three years away, Stephanie reprised her role as Sinead O'Connor in 2018 but quit two years later. "Goals: Be happy. Sometimes we make decisions based not on what we want but what we know is right! It is with a heavy heart I have decided to leave Hollyoaks and [I am] now looking forward to working on new and exciting projects," she said on social media at the time.

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Ricky Norwood (EastEnders)

Ricky Norwood's character Arthur 'Fatboy' Chubb arrived on Albert Square in 2010 and quickly became one of EastEnders' most popular characters but things all came crashing down four years later when he was suspended after being caught on camera allegedly smoking cannabis and performing a sex act.It was announced he was leaving the soap for good a year later when a BBC spokesperson said, "We can confirm Ricky is leaving. We wish him all the best."

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Mark Jordon (Emmerdale)

Mark Jordon played Emmerdale's Daz Spencer from 2014 until 2019 but was forced off the soap after being arrested on suspicion of biting and threatening a pensioner at a pub garden.He was eventually found not guilty of affray, unlawful wounding and assault by beating and allegedly spent thousands to clear his name.Mark later revealed that he was hopeful of returning to the soap. He's in a real life relationship with former co-star Laura Norton, who plays Kerry Wyatt, and they welcomed a baby boy earlier this year.

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Bruno Langley (Coronation Street)

Bruno Langley made history as Coronation Street's first openly gay character Todd Grimshaw when he joined the show in 2001 and played the role on and off until 2017 when he was accused of sexually assaulting two women in a Manchester nightclub. He was later found guilty and sentenced to a year of community service.The character of Todd returned to Corrie last year when Gareth Pierce took on the role.

axed soap stars danniella westbrook hollyoaks9 of 17
CREDIT: Channel 4

Danniella Westbrook (Hollyoaks)

Former EastEnders star Danniella Westbrook took on her second soap role in 2013 for a brief stint as Hollyoaks villain Trudy Ryan. She was due to make a second appearance in 2015 but found herself axed from the show for "breaching her contract"."Danniella breached her contract and it was terminated last week. She will not be filming Hollyoaks," a spokesperson said at the time. However, Danniella has a different version of events and insisted she decided not to return to Liverpool, where the soap is filmed, as she heard that her abusive ex-boyfriend Tom Richards had moved to the area.

axed soap stars melissa suffield eastenders10 of 17

Melissa Suffield (EastEnders)

Remember child star Melissa Suffield? She's best known for playing Lucy Beale between 2004 and 2010 but was sacked from the role over her unruly behaviour. Despite reportedly receiving three warnings from BBC bosses, then-17-year-old Melissa was pictured on a night out, leaving bosses no choice but to get rid of her.At the time, Melissa threw shade at producers in a post on her personal website as she fumed, "Sat in the green room at work, my last day very emotional! I was a naughty girl outside of work, well that's what they have sacked me for, pathetic!"The character of Lucy Beale returned to Albert Square in 2012 but this time she was played by Hetti Bywater.

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Bruce Jones (Coronation Street)

Bruce Jones played patriarch of the iconic Battersby family, Les, in Corrie for ten years before he was axed after downing six pints of Guinness and spoiling the outcome of Tracey Barlow's murder trial in front of an undercover reporter.ITV later confirmed, "Bruce Jones will not be returning to his role of Les Battersby on Coronation Street. Bruce's current contract will not be renewed when it ends in September of this year. The character of Les will not be seen back on screen."

axed soap stars davinia taylor hollyoaks12 of 17
CREDIT: Channel 4

Davinia Taylor (Hollyoaks)

Davinia Taylor played Jude Cunningham in Hollyoaks in the late 90s but was fired from the show in 1998 for bad time-keeping. She later insisted that wasn't the real reason for her exit, telling Digital Spy, "Well do you know what, that's what they say I got 'sacked' for, but I think I fell out with the producer. She let me film my final scenes, all the front-of-head shots, so I'd already signed a contract saying I was leaving. So my final scenes I shot, and then they got an extra in to film the back-of-head shots and they rang up the press and said: 'Oh, we sacked her'. And just got the last bit of mileage out of me PR-wise. It didn't do me any favours at all."Despite the contentious way she left the soap, Davinia got her happy ending in 2016 when she temporarily reprised her role as Cindy Cunningham's sister.

axed soap stars shila iqbal emmerdale13 of 17

Shila Iqbal (Emmerdale)

Shortly after she joined Emmerdale as Aiesha Richards in 2019, Shila Iqbal was removed from the show after homophobic and racist tweets from 2012 resurfaced online. "As a consequence of historic social media posts Shila Iqbal has left her role as Aiesha Richards on Emmerdale," said a spokesperson for the soap at the time.Although she issued a grovelling apology for the historic remarks, Shila later appeared on This Morning and questioned whether she should have been sacked for something she did as a teenager. "To be honest, I think if the person has changed and shown remorse then no, you shouldn't be judged on that, you should be judged on the person you are today," she told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.

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Marc Anwar (Coronation Street)

Marc played Corrie's Sharif Nazir for two years before he was fired in 2016 after tweeting a number of hateful anti-India comments. He was swiftly written out of the soap and bosses issued the following statement, "We are deeply shocked by the entirely unacceptable, racially offensive comments made on Twitter by Marc Anwar. We have talked to Marc and, as a consequence of his comments, he will not be returning to Coronation Street with immediate effect." The actor issued an apology video in which he told fans, "I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to anyone that I may have offended with my tweets on Friday evening and especially people from India. This was never my intention and the language was unacceptable. I feel that I have let a lot of people down, my family, my friends and my former colleagues. This I very sincerely apologise for." The video has since been deleted.

axed soap stars hollie-jay bowes hollyoaks15 of 17
CREDIT: Channel 4

Hollie-Jay Bowes (Hollyoaks)

Hollie-Jay Bowes played Michaela McQueen on Hollyoaks in the Noughties but was quickly written out of the soap in 2010 after falling out with producers.At the time, she tweeted, "This past four years have been incredible but I think it's time to find myself again! I'm officially leaving Hollyoaks in the next 6 months!"

axed soap stars luke tittensor emmerdale16 of 17

Luke Tittensor (Emmerdale)

Luke Tittensor played Daz Eden on Emmerdale until 2009 when he was booted off the show after being found guilty of grievous bodily harm when he broke a teenager's jaw.At the time, an Emmerdale spokesperson said, "As Luke has pleaded guilty to the serious charge of GBH and we cannot condone criminal behaviour, we have met with Luke and his agent to explain his contract with Emmerdale will be terminated. Luke regrets his behaviour and understands this situation."

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CREDIT: Katie Redford

Katie Redford (Coronation Street

In 2015, it was announced that Katie Redford would be joining Coronation Street as Sarah Platt's 14-year-old daughter Bethany, but she was axed before she even stepped foot on the cobbles after it emerged she had lied about her age.The actor had told bosses she was 19 when she was in fact 22. The role was later to given to Lucy Fallon who played Bethany for five years before quitting the soap last year.

“I followed my heart, and I really love what I do. I have the most amazing job, interviewing people who are giving amazing advice and life lessons. I get to listen to really smart experts, like neuroscientists who tell us how the brain actually works. I’ve always been fascinated with why we do what we do, and it all starts with how we think about things.”

And Andrea – mum to Finlay, 19, and Amy, 14, from previous relationships – says that working with her husband of four years day in, day out has been a learning curve. She says, “Working together is great, but it’s been interesting because we’re now together 24 hours a day and we work quite differently. He doesn’t like quiet, but I’m like a cat – I’m quite solitary. I feel quite claustrophobic if I’m constantly next to someone, and he talks loudly on the phone! But we’ve found our own little corners at home, and we meet at 10.30am for a coffee break – that’s our water cooler moment. If we’re brainstorming, we’ll go for a walk.”


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andrea mclean loose women
On Loose Women in 2019 ©Shutterstock

When Closer catches up with Andrea, it’s her first day back at work following a battle with Covid. She, Nick, and her daughter Amy caught the virus over Christmas, and it knocked her for six.

“I was really poorly,” she reveals. “I had a raging temperature, everything tasted odd, and my muscles and bones hurt – even my skin hurt! It was awful at its peak, but we isolated together, ordered in tubs of Celebrations and watched episodes of Glee until we felt better. I tend to push until I hit a wall, then I slide down it, so having Covid taught me a bit of a lesson. I feel good now, although I sometimes get a wave of tiredness.”

Andrea has also been prioritising self-care. She is enjoying monthly PureHydro “super-facials” that are designed to tackle anything from fine lines to acne.

Closer magazine

She says, “It made me feel great – it felt like my face was getting a workout and afterwards it glowed. I’m 52 and you need to start looking after yourself when you get to the point where it’s all starting to drop! I do yoga every day too for anything between five and 30 minutes, using the Asana Rebel app. I’m stiff and clunky but I love it, it really calms me down.”

So, what are Andrea’s other secrets to staying youthful? “I drink a lot of this,” she says, holding up a pint of water. “But the most beautifying thing you can do is to get enough sleep – I go to bed at 10.30pm. I know from my days on breakfast TV that no amount of make-up disguises a bad night’s sleep.”

When it comes to diet, Andrea avoids New Year detoxes in favour of a refreshingly no-nonsense approach. “We’re all encouraged to indulge over Christmas, and the worst thing you can do is beat yourself up afterwards,” she laughs. “That’s insanity. I finished off a box of chocolates yesterday and I saw that as a good thing!"

WATCH: Andrea Mclean, Nadia Sawahla and Saira Khan reveal (tipsy) Loose Women secrets

My life tips

Andrea shares her words of wisdom – from calming down to tacking tricky topics...

Try a sideways conversation

I’m a big believer in the power of a sideways conversation. If you’ve got something important to talk about, don’t sit down and do it face-to-face, because it feels intimidating. Instead, do it sideways, like when you’re in the car. If Nick and I want to brainstorm ideas, we often go for a walk.

Take 15

I interviewed an amazing neuroscientist fo This Girl Is On Fire who told me that stepping away for 15 minutes gives your nervous system a chance to calm down, and you can think clearly instead of reacting emotionally. Nick and I will agree to take time out, then come back to the conversation later. Even if it means going for a walk, we just remove ourselves from the situation. It’s simple, but it’s a gamechanger.

See the funny side

The biggest thing I’ve learned over the past year is that if you can find the humour in something, you can find a way to do anything. Life is too short to keep pounding away – you need to find some humour.

Andrea worked with PureSkin as their PureHydro Ambassador this winter

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