She’s been the golden girl of daytime TV for 13 years since joining This Morning back in 2009. And over the last decade, Holly Willoughby has expanded her empire, landing ambassador deals and sponsorships, as well as publishing over 15 books and launching her own wellness brand, Wylde Moon, last year.
With an estimated net worth of £10m and an annual salary of £600K for presenting the ITV show alone, Holly, 41, has fast become one of the most in-demand faces on television, and it’s largely thought that any project she touches will turn to gold when it comes to pulling in the viewers.
So it’s little surprise that, while she takes her summer holidays away from the show to spend time with her family – husband Dan Baldwin and their children, Harry, 13, Belle, 11, and Chester, seven – insiders say a bidding war between rival channels has broken out as they fight to secure her for several prime time shows.
The stream of exciting new opportunities comes just two weeks after Holly finally settled a two-year battle with her former management company, YMU, over a “sunset clause” in her contract, which had entitled them to 15 per cent of her earnings in any contracts they’d set up.
Sources recently told Closer how the mum-of-three now “feels free to focus on the future and determined to make the most of it” as her own agent under the umbrella of the female-led brand, Roxy Management, which she set up last year.
However, insiders reveal that while Holly – who currently hosts This Morning, Dancing On Ice and Celebrity Juice for ITV – feels privileged to be so in demand, having to decide between offers on the table has left her overwhelmed and made to feel she’s not being “loyal” to ITV.
A source says, “Holly’s been in tears because she feels quite overwhelmed. The offers have been rolling in, but after signing up for rival shows, for channels including the BBC and Sky, ITV are beginning to make it known that they need more loyalty from one of their top TV stars.
“They’ve been very generous and she’s always considered for new shows coming out, and when she’s expressed interest in doing more prime time work, they’ve offered it to her. Obviously, she proved a great success when she stepped in on I’m A Celeb in 2018, and they’ve been willing to try her out on other shows too – but Holly is so in demand that she’s found it hard to resist outside offers.
“She doesn’t think she should be made to feel guilty for working outside of ITV but has found there’s always gossip flying about. She feels there’s too much pressure on her.
“Holly had hoped the channel would give her free rein to explore, but now questions are being raised over whether she’ll be spreading herself too thinly, and whether she should largely stick to the shows that made her a household name.”
It’s not the first time Holly has branched out from ITV after landing huge deals with retail giants, such as Marks & Spencer. Garnier and Oral-B, but her tentative steps towards other TV projects, including BBC show Freeze The Fear with Wim Hof, which she hosted earlier this year, caused shockwaves across the industry.
There have also been fears over whether Holly will become “oversaturated” in the TV world, which have so far proved unfounded with her ever-loyal fan base.
However, just last week, fans flocked to social media to show their support for Josie Gibson and Craig Doyle, who have stepped in this week to replace Holly and her long-term hosting partner and friend, Phillip Schofield over the summer holidays.
One wrote, “Wow! Just turned on TV… Josie looks AMAZING!!! And how great to see her with Craig … winning team I think!” while another added, “Josie and Craig are a great presenting combo, so natural, upbeat and down to earth. Love them!”
The source adds, “Holly is working hard on her brand to provide for her family and doesn’t see why she shouldn't be allowed to branch out and try new things – but she knows it won’t all be plain sailing. It’s an exciting time, but confusing too.”