Holly Willoughby turns 40: The presenting star's impressive career over the years

Amy Johnson
·3-min read
Holly Willoughby attends the ITV Palooza 2019 at the Royal Festival Hall on November 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Holly Willoughby attends the ITV Palooza 2019 at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Holly Willoughby reached a birthday milestone on Wednesday, turning 40 years old.

The presenter, one of ITV’s biggest stars, continues to host This Morning while also currently fronting Dancing on Ice on Sundays with her close friend and colleague Phillip Schofield.

Hailing from Brighton, Willoughby’s first taste of fame was stepping into the limelight as a model after being scouted by an agency at a fashion show when she was a teenager.

Watch: Holly Willoughby celebrates her 40th birthday live on This Morning

Read more: Holly Willoughby's kind offer to home-schooling mother

Appearances in teen magazines and clothes modelling followed before she broke into children’s TV in the early noughties.

Holly Willoughby and Stephen Mulhern (Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)

Holly Willoughby and Stephen Mulhern. (Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)

Starting off with an acting gig on S Club TV – a CITV spinoff drama on the lives of S Club 7 – she soon turned to presenting, with stints on Xchange on the BBC and the junior version of singing competition show Fame Academy.

Her move to ITV came in 2004, when she was recruited to host Saturday morning children’s show Ministry Of Mayhem alongside another future big primetime name for the broadcaster, Stephen Mulhern.

Willoughby first worked alongside Schofield when they were paired to host the newly launched skating show Dancing On Ice in 2006.

It was there that they established a successful working relationship that led to Schofield recommending her as Fern Britton’s This Morning replacement when Britton departed the programme in 2009.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield are seen presenting 'This Morning' on September 29, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by LucasMepham/FilmMagic)

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield present This Morning in September 2009 in London, England. (LucasMepham/FilmMagic)

The daytime show continued to win numerous accolades with Willoughby and Schofield at the helm and has been awarded the National Television Award for Best Live Magazine Show for 17 years running, from 1998 to 2020.

In 2016 the pair famously appeared on air in the outfits they had worn the previous night at the awards ceremony, having partied hard after landing themselves another gong.

Read more: Holly Willoughby moved to tears by nuns on This Morning

The strength of Willoughby and Schofield’s friendship was also demonstrated last year when the latter publicly came out as gay on air and described what a great support his co-star had been.

Other TV gigs over the years included taking over Cilla Black’s role in a revived version of Surprise Surprise from 2012 to 2015 and presenting the first two series of The Voice UK on BBC One in 2012 and 2013 before its move to ITV.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield pose with the award for Live Magazine Show for 'This Morning' in the winners room attends the National Television Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on January 28, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield pose with the award for Best Live Magazine Show at the National Television Awards 2020 in London, England. (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Willoughby also had an exciting Australian adventure in 2018 when she stepped in to replace Ant McPartlin on that year’s instalment of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! alongside Declan Donnelly.

At the time, she said she felt like she'd "won a competition to go and hang out on [her] favourite show".

Meanwhile, her 12-year stint as a team captain on Celebrity Juice came to an end last year as she stepped down from the role, saying: "All good things must come to an end and nothing lasts forever."

Alongside her career, Willoughby has raised three children, Harry, 11, Belle, nine, and Chester, six, with her husband of 13 years Dan Baldwin.

With additional reporting by PA.

Watch: Phillip Schofield says Holly Willoughby was 'vital' in his decision to come out