'I thought I was going to die': Eamonn Holmes reveals he suffered debilitating panic attack live on air

Eamonn Holmes

He may appear to be one of TV's most relaxed and expert presenters now, but Eamonn Holmes has admitted that his job wasn't always that easy.

During Thursday's episode of This Morning, the 58-year-old admitted that when he first started at the BBC as a young journalist around 30 years ago, he suffered from debilitating panic attacks.

Eamonn and Ruth were chatting to social media star Sophia Mei Lan, who has filmed her own panic attacks for her Youtube followers, of which she has over 25,000.

Sophia was explaining her own panic attacks, when Eamonn revealed that he used to experience them too.

He said, "I’ve had a number of panic attacks, thank goodness all 27 or something years ago now."

Sharing how difficult they were at the time, Eamonn said, "But like you, I thought I was going to die. My coping strategy eventually was, 'Look, I’m not going to die.' I would never have associated it with a mental problem."

He also reflected on where his anxiety issues may have stemmed from - tracing it back to the death of his father.

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The TV star said, "I think looking back at it, it was the result of the sudden death of my father and not being able to say goodbye to him. And I think that then came on, and I associated it with being away from home, and with bad things, and whatever."

Eamonn's father, Leonard, passed away in 1991 when Eamonn was only around 32 years old.

Later in the interview, the presenter revealed that he no longer experiences any panic attacks, but did have one in perhaps the most tricky of places - live on TV. He also shared that he was also admitted to hospital after the attacks.

He said, "I've came through that and it's never happened to me again in 27 years.

"It did happen once on air presenting for BBC television, and it doesn’t get much worse than that, having to cover it up. Both times I was hospitalised from it, but yet it’s never come back."

He then reassured sufferers, "It can go away."

Viewers of This Morning praised Eamonn for opening up, with one saying, 'Your honesty is so touching Eamonn. Love to you and Ruth xx @eamonnholmes'

While another agreed, commenting, 'Great admiration and respect to Eamon for speaking out x @eamonnholmes'.

If you suffer from panic attacks and anxiety, you can visit the mental health charity Mind here for advice and support in dealing with them.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.