Judy Finnigan on why she REALLY stepped back from TV work

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  • One year since Judy Finnigan officially retired from the limelight, the truth behind her exit is revealed.

    Judy Finnigan enjoyed a fruitful career for 43 years before she waved goodbye to the showbiz world.

    However, years prior to her announcing her retirement, Judy stepped away from TV presenting and instead focused on other passions, including writing books. Meanwhile, her husband, Richard Madeley, 63, has continued the career they’d carved out as a pair.

    Eyebrows were raised at the time as to why Judy, 71, vowed to ‘never go back’ to showbiz. But Woman’s Own has learned it was a secret battle after the menopause that played a part in her taking a back seat.

    Having always liked a ‘quiet life’, it’s no surprise Judy didn’t want to live out the after-effects of the menopause – which she describes as ‘horrible’ – in the glaring eyes of the nation…

    Judy’s secret struggle

    Judy has revealed that her struggle with the menopause had such a detrimental effect on her work that it made it almost ‘impossible’.

    She reflects: ‘Menopause can be horrible (mine was, and it affected my work badly). It’s good we can now talk openly about it; taboos and secrecy make everything worse.’

    The presenter once confessed to being ‘fed up of being trailed after by paparazzi and people like that,’ saying, ‘You get to the point where you just think, “I don’t want anything to do with it any more”.’ So it’s perhaps no surprise Judy wanted to remove herself from the public eye.

    ‘Menopause is major; it changes women’s lives dramatically, sometimes ruinously,’ she continues. ‘Why shouldn’t we talk about it, communicate the misery of hot flushes and mood swings that can make working life impossible? It’s about time.’

    Taking a step back

    Bowing out of the rat race was a no-brainer for Judy, with an insider telling Women’s Own: ‘Judy is tired of the showbiz nonsense. She’s got broadcasting in her blood, but she’s totally over the other stuff that comes with it.’

    With the menopause disrupting Judy’s life as much as she admits, it perhaps makes sense that the mum-of-four found solace in the couple’s holiday home in Cornwall – which the pair previously described as a ‘spiritual retreat’ – and their Saint-Paul-de-Vence hideout in France.

    ‘Judy is never happier than when they’re pottering around a French market, completely anonymous and with no appointments in the diary,’ the source revealed. ‘She’s worked hard all her life and wants to enjoy retirement.’

    Opposites attract

    Judy’s husband of 33 years, Richard, on the other hand, ‘can’t bear the thought of retirement’ – but has been a pillar of strength for Judy in her darkest times.

    During her periods of feeling low, Richard has always been her support. ‘Richard is so good with me when I’m feeling gloomy. He’s the opposite of depressive, you see,’ she reveals. ‘An extrovert. Always happy. It is a gift. I’m lucky to be in his aura because I am the opposite. Thinking too much.’

    READ MORE: Richard Madeley opens up about devastating stillbirth

    Looking to the future

    It seems the menopause could have been the straw that finally broke the camel’s back for TV veteran Judy, who stepped away from television some time ago. Now she enjoys the slow lane – a vast change in pace from the life she used to live.

    ‘The difference between me and Judy is that she has no interest in going back into television,’ Richard previously revealed. And although they  signed up to host a one-off special of This Morning this month, daughter Chloe says Judy ‘has no interest in doing anything, which I think is the best thing ever.’