Holly Willoughby has spoken of her sadness over Fearne Cotton’s decision to leave Celebrity Juice.
The TV star said she hopes her friend will come back for one-off specials of the ITV2 show.
She said: “She called me. It was a funny one because I was definitely surprised, I didn’t expect it. Celebrity Juice is one of those shows we started doing what feels like a million years ago.
“You think it’s going to go on forever and always be there. I knew something was up because she called me and she never calls me!
“She texts me a gazillion times, she’s fast at texting. When my phone rang and it was her I was like ‘What’s happened?’ – I knew she was going to tell me something big.”
She added: “I was sad because I’m going to miss her. You never want anything to end, it’s been brilliant and such fun and I love the fact that I’ve had my friend there with me every series.
“I could really understand why she decided it was the right time and I totally respect that.
“I hope that she comes back for one-off specials every now and again, that she’ll come back and play with us sometime because it would be lovely”
Asked why she decided to continue with the show, in which she stars with Keith Lemon, she said: “To be honest, we were both still really enjoying doing the show and we weren’t ready to say goodbye to it. He felt the same as me and just wasn’t ready to let go of it yet.”
Cotton’s seat will be filled by Paddy McGuinness, and Willoughby said: “For me, it all boiled down to who was going to come in and be the other team captain and actually it was the quickest and easiest decision in the world for us.
“Keith said to me ‘Who do you think would be good?’ and I was like ‘Paddy?’. Keith said ‘Yes! That’s exactly who I was thinking’. It was great.
“Keith’s got such a great friendship with Paddy already, they do loads together and are really good mates, and I’ve known Paddy for years, he has become a really good friend of mine too.
“There’s a real friendship between all of us off camera and you need to have that before you go into a show like this.
“That’s why Fearne with Keith and I was so good and easy because we were always just mates having a laugh together. Paddy has been on the show loads of times, he gets it, he knows everyone backstage, it just felt right.”
Willoughby said she hopes to see Kylie Minogue on the show one day, adding: “She would be an amazing guest. She would be really good fun. To be honest, I’m up for anyone really, they just need to be up for a laugh.”
Celebrity Juice returns to ITV2 at 10pm on Thursday with guest stars Howard Donald, John Barrowman, Emily Atack and Mark Wright.