Mum-of-3 Holly Willoughby said that telling her children that their pet cat had passed away was the ‘hardest thing’ she’d ever had to do, and it seems relaying the tale live on This Morning was just as heartbreaking for her, too.
Fighting back tears, she said that their beloved family cat Roxy had died ‘peacefully’ but unexpectedly in her sleep.
The star first broke the news on her Instagram account on Friday, writing: “Goodbye my friend… RIP Roxy” alongside a pic of the beautiful kitty. The image attracted over 15k likes and thousands of comments.
“There had been nothing wrong with her. It was a real shock for everybody. She was a big part of the family, always been there for the kids,” Holly told This Morning viewers.
She said she explained the news to Harry, 7, Belle, 5, and Chester, 2, by telling them: ”Roxy was not very well, she went to heaven.”
And she added that another of their cats, Peaches, who died as a kitten, would be up there looking after her, as would the children’s grandfather.
“I think it helped them to know she won’t be on her own,” she said.
Holly also said that Roxy’s passing was “a very big life lesson” for her children, who each took the news in their own way.
“Belle was wailing, Harry was very quiet and didn’t really say a thing,” she said, before adding that Harry eventually broke down at bedtime.
“But before bed he went, ‘I’ve been really brave today, I haven’t cried.’ And I said, ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to be brave.’ And then he started crying.”
Holly was co-hosting This Morning with Ben Shephard, who stepped in to tell his own story when Holly became overwhelmed by grief.
The 41-year-old presenter knew exactly how she felt at having to tell her kids about Roxy, because he went through the same thing when his 11-year-old son Jack and 9-year-old son Sam lost their pet rabbit to a fox attack.
The show then had a phone-in for other people struggling to come to terms with losing a pet, with Holly saying: “I feel a bit silly saying it because it’s only a cat but it’s part of your family. We thought we’d have a phone-in of this today because it affects so many people.”
We couldn’t agree more – it is devastating to lose a family pet, isn’t it? Particularly when you have to break the news to your children.
It’s never an easy thing to explain (as Rochelle Humes also found out not too long ago) but it sounds like Holly handled such a tricky situation in the best way possible.
Have you ever had to break news of a family pet passing away to your little ones? How did you handle it?
Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.
Images: Instagram/Holly Willoughby