Page last updated at 03:56 GMT, Sunday, 21 September 2008 04:56 UK

Phillips reveals dementia dilemma

Fiona Phillips
Phillips has been a leading presenter on GMTV since 1996

GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips has admitted that her decision to leave the ITV1 breakfast show is partly due to her father suffering from Alzheimer's.

She is leaving the show after 15 years and halfway through a 1.5m contract, a decision widely reported as allowing her to spend more time with family.

The 47-year-old told the Sunday Times that her father's worsening dementia had prompted her decision.

She said leaving GMTV is "the hardest decision I have ever made".

'So sad'

Phillips told the papers that she had found it hard to cope with the demands of balancing her career and family when her mother Amy suffered Alzheimer's in the years before her death.

The presenter's mother Amy died two years ago and Phillips spent most of her weekends travelling to the family home in west Wales in the years after the initial diagnosis, leaving her exhausted after a week of 4am starts.

And then recently, she learned that her father Phil had been diagnosed with the illness.

"He keeps forgetting words and it's so sad because he was such an active, intelligent man with an opinion on everything," she said.

I am very aware that I may have only 10 years left of life as I know it
Fiona Phillips

She said she had decided to move her father to a sheltered flat closer to her own London home.

Phillips said the strain of looking after both parents, along with the demands of childcare and marriage, has made her realise "you cannot do it all" and had prompted her career rethink.

She said: "I'm 47 and my mum was in her late fifties when she developed Alzheimer's, so I am very aware that I may have only 10 years left of life as I know it.

"I must admit that it has contributed to my feeling of time flashing by. Why slog away getting up at 4am when you might not be able to look after your family in the way you want to later on?"

She joined GMTV when it launched in 1993 as an entertainment correspondent. Phillips then spent two years as the Los Angeles reporter before landing the main presenting job.

Phillips is married to GMTV's programme editor Martin Frizell and the couple have two young sons.




SEE ALSO
Presenter Phillips to leave GMTV
29 Aug 08 |  Entertainment
Brown 'offered GMTV Fiona a job'
19 Nov 07 |  UK Politics
GMTV hit with 2m phone-in fine
26 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Holmes bids farewell to GMTV sofa
27 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
GMTV's Eamonn Holmes to step down
22 Feb 05 |  Entertainment

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