Is Josie Gibson the saviour of This Morning? Big Brother star, 38, with West Country charm who’s faced heartbreak as a single parent and struggled with her weight, is seen as a ‘safe bet’ following Schofield scandal
- Bristolian Josie Gibson has become a regular co-host after guest presenting role
- Read more: ‘New chapter’ begins but can Holly move on from This Morning scandal?
After Holly Willoughby’s first appearance back on the This Morning sofa on Monday – delivering a statement on the Phillip Schofield scandal that left her voice cracking with emotion – her co-host calmly took the presenting reins afterwards, telling Willoughby to ‘bring it in’ as the pair embraced.
Alongside fellow Big Brother and This Morning star Alison Hammond, Bristolian Josie Gibson, 38, is largely tipped to help turn around the daytime show following the dramatic events of recent weeks.
The ITV show has faced huge scrutiny after it was revealed that Schofield lied about having an affair with a younger colleague.
Insiders say the fact that former Big Brother winner Ms Gibson is open and ‘ordinary’ means ITV bosses ‘adore her’, while those watching at home find her relatable.
After winning Big Brother in 2010 thanks to her bubbly personality, the star – mum to four-year-old Reggie – has quietly carved a path to the top of daytime TV.
Moving from brief appearances as an occasional guest presenter – hosting the show’s competitions, it’s clear that producers now have bigger plans for the star, as she was trusted to be by Holly’s side in the show’s darkest hour yesterday.
Having suffered her own personal heartache – the father of her son left her just weeks after the birth – Gibson is well placed to deal with the emotional stories that come to the This Morning sofa – and has become a favourite with the show’s fans.
Here, Femail looks at the life of the Bristol-born star, whose lilting West Country accent once left actor James Purefoy in tears…
Wingwoman: Josie Gibson was by Holly Willoughby’s side on Monday when she made a dramatic return to This Morning following the Phillip Schofield scandal
The former Big Brother star told Willoughby to ‘bring it in’ after she delivered her statement on the This Morning drama to viewers
A BRISTOL CHILDHOOD – AND THAT WEST COUNTRY ACCENT
In 2013, at the height of her reality star fame, Gibson shared a photo of herself as ‘a young Mucker’, with strawberry blonde hair and a smattering of freckles.
The eldest of six children brought up by her single mother, Mandy, in Bristol, Gibson has made no secret about her love of spending time with her siblings and extended family back in the West Country.
‘Young mucker’: Gibson grew up in Bristol as the oldest of six children to her single parent mum Mandy
Her strong regional accent has endeared her to the This Morning audience, and even to those who’ve graced the sofa.
Actor James Purefoy, who hails from Somerset, broke down in tears last year saying Gibson’s accent reminded him of home.
He told her: ‘I was born in Taunton yeah, I’m tearing up… look at me, honestly, what a wreck!’
He added: ‘I don’t think you hear a West Country accent [on television] very often and when you do, they’re often stereotypical and they’re not the ones you want to be associated with.’
BIG BROTHER FAME – AND HER OWN REALITY SHOW
In 2010, Gibson, then 28, was catapulted to fame when she won the final series of the Channel 4 version of the show
The This Morning presenter, then 28, won 77.5% of the public vote to be crowned Big Brother winner
Josie shot to fame after winning the final Channel 4 series of Big Brother back in 2010 – and her popularity with TV audiences was obvious even back then.
She received 77.5% of the public vote, which is the highest out of any series of the show.
She famously re-entered the house and took part in Ultimate Big Brother later that year but walked out on just day three.
During the show, she fell for Melbourne DJ John James Parton…and the pair starred in their own reality show There’s Something About Josie
Her relationship with Australian John James Parton, who went on to star on the Aussie version of Love Island, ended in 2011
On the show, she fell for Melbourne DJ John James Parton. The couple met in the Big Brother UK house in 2010 and enjoyed a nine month whirlwind romance that was documented on spin-off show, There’s Something About Josie.
The couple split after Josie accused John of cheating in 2011, which he previously denied, before they seemingly lost touch and John returned to Australia, starring on Love Island.
After Big Brother, Ms Gibson capitalised on her popularity through the sale of themed merchandise – including a perfume named Josie.
She also sold hoodies and tops, became an ambassador for Curvissa clothing and began a career in showbusiness journalism.
In 2011, she featured on the Channel 5 show OK! TV as a reporter and presenter before the show was cancelled at the end of the same year. A year later, she became a columnist for celebrity magazine Now.
WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY
Gibson has frequently shared how her body shape has changed. After giving birth to son Reggie in 2018m she lost two stone and three dress sizes in just 12 weeks saying she ‘lost control’ over her eating habits during her pregnancy.
The TV star has been candid about her struggles with keeping a healthy weight, saying she’s prone to ‘overeating’
Josie famously slimmed down to a size 8 in 2013 (pictured right in November 2013) after becoming an exercise guru. Left, pictured in 2020
At the time, the TV star credited MuscleFood’s Do The Unthinkable: Diet and Exercise Plan for her weight loss, going from a size 18-20 to a 12.
In 2019, she told MailOnline she was keen to transform her size 18 figure back to a 12 after falling back into ‘unhealthy habits’ of overeating bread and chocolate.
The This Morning presenter said she no longer felt ‘sexy’ and only saw herself as a ‘working mum’ now her body is at an ‘uncomfortable size.’
She explained: ‘I have obviously been big my whole life – I have always been one of those people that’s struggled with my weight.
‘In 2013 I lost weight and then I started putting it on again when I had my son in 2019 and it’s getting to a point now where I feel really, really uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable with the size I am. I am a size 18.
‘I would like to be a comfortable 12 or a 12-14. I would be so happy with that. I have been a size 8. I don’t think it suits me and it’s a lot of work to get there so I just need to find that happy medium. A size 12 would be ideal.’
HEARTBREAK FOLLOWING THE BIRTH OF HER SON REGGIE
A doting single parent, Gibson split with the father of her son, Reggie James, in 2018, just months after giving birth.
Speaking to New! Magazine at the time, the heartbroken star announced the split, saying her ex partner Terry had ejected her from his home on New Year’s Eve leading to a lonely stint in a hotel with Reggie, now four, to ring in the new year.
The TV star has been a single parent to Reggie James, after splitting from her ex-partner Terry just five months after his birth in 2018
The doting mum pictured with Reggie, and fellow Big Brother and This Morning star Alison Hammond, with Hammond’s son Aiden
She claimed her beau’s OCD battle caused an explosive row which led to him packing her bags and booting her out of his house, after which she moved to a hotel and stayed there for ‘worst New Year’s Eve ever’.
Following a difficult birth, Josie and her partner Terry had thought the worst was over – but Reggie ended up fighting for his life in hospital.
Earlier this year, Gibson left fans thinking Cupid had struck again – this time with TV director and cameraman Sam Morter. However, she later clarified the pair were just friends
She told Instagram fans: ‘In the most romantic city in the world with….. @sammorter….gutted’
Josie said: ‘Reggie was born 5lbs 1oz and dropped to 4lbs. I was so scared to touch him and crying all the time. I know he was in the best place, but it was so frightening.’
In recent months, Gibson’s love life appeared to have taken a more positive turn. In January, the This Morning presenter appeared loved-up with TV director and cameraman Sam Morter as they strolled around Paris.
But it seemed the trip was more work than play, as the mother-of-one appeared to confirm the pair were just friends, jesting in one caption: ‘In the most romantic city in the world with….. @sammorter….gutted’
FAN FAVOURITE: THIS MORNING’S NEW STAR
Hopes of Gibson becoming the saviour of This Morning looked ever more likely on Monday, as she sat alongside Ms Willoughby as her co-presenter.
It’s been a quick ascent to the main gig; the show’s former competition announcer was only promoted to presenter only 18 months ago as a last-minute stand-in when Holly Willoughby could not appear.
Saviour: Josie Gibson (pictured), the show’s former competition announcer, was promoted to presenter only 18 months ago as a last-minute stand-in when Holly Willoughby could not appear
Popular: Josie now looks set to move from occasional presenter to a more regular main presenting slot (pictured with Craig Doyle in April)
Game for a laugh: The TV host has won over fans with her bubbly nature
Her down-to-earth demeanour immediately made her a favourite with the viewers and she has since covered occasionally for Ms Willoughby.
Even Eamonn Holmes, who’s been highly critical of both Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield in recent weeks, is a fan.
Discussing Monday’s show with GB News co-star Isabel Webster he said: ‘The star of the show yesterday, for me, was Josie Gibson. It’s lovely to hear a West Country accent, isn’t it?’ Eamonn commented.
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