Emma Willis against a white background looking ahead

Emma Willis on loss of childhood friend that triggered her ‘phobia of death’: ‘My brain goes to places I wish it wouldn’t’

Emma's great uncle died around the same time

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Emma Willis joins husband Matt as the guest announcer on Saturday Night Takeaway tonight (March 30).

A fan-favourite on our screens for over two decades, viewers love Emma’s warm, bubbly and down-to-earth nature.

But behind her smiley exterior, the mum of three is hiding a devastating phobia that was triggered by two deaths when she was a child.

Emma Willis against a white background looking ahead
Emma Willis said her phobia has got worse since becoming a mother (Credit: Cover Images)

Emma Willis on ‘worst feeling of her life’

Speaking previously to The Telegraph, Emma was asked what the worst moment of her life has been.

I lost a childhood friend at school when I was 13, and around the same time my great uncle died.

She said: “It’s more of a feeling than a moment: my phobia of death. The older I get, the more I worry about it.”

Emma then explained why she’s so afraid of dying – and it was brought about after she suffered a double loss at a young age.

“I think it started when I was quite young. I lost a childhood friend at school when I was 13, and around the same time my great uncle, who I was really close to, died. Both my parents are still alive, but my brain goes to places that I really wish it wouldn’t sometimes. Maybe that’s why I like to keep busy, so that I don’t have time to contemplate and dwell,” she said.

‘I want to live for them’

Emma is mum to three kids – Isabelle, 14, Ace, 12, and seven-year-old Trixie.

And, she admitted, that her phobia has only got “worse” since having her children.

“It’s worse since I’ve had kids. All I want to do is live for them and be with them, so now I’m always thinking, I’ve got to look after myself, got to be healthier, got to stay strong. Because I want to live for as long as possible,” she said.

Emma Willis joins Matt on Saturday Night Takeaway

Putting her phobia to one side, tonight (March 30) will see Emma appear on Saturday Night Takeaway with husband Matt.

They’re appearing as the show’s guest announcers.

Saturday Night Takeaway is on Easter Saturday at 7pm on ITV1.

Read more: Matt Willis admits putting romance with wife Emma on the backburner 

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Nancy Brown
Associate Editor