Richard Madeley praises Holly Willoughby's This Morning exit as 'brave, wise and courageous' and claims 'she'll be back' | The Sun

FORMER This Morning host Richard Madeley has praised Holly Willoughby's decision to quit the ITV daytime show as "brave, wise and courageous."

The ITV star, 67 – who now fronts Good Morning Britain on an ad hoc basis – appeared today as a panelist to pay tribute to the "family-focussed" star.

Richard's kind comments came after GMB anchor Susanna Reid, 52, broke her silence on Holly's exit.

Holly, 42, quit her anchor role on the daytime series yesterday, after 14 years at the helm.

The mum-of-three made the shocking revelation in an Instagram post following a traumatic week after an alleged plot to kidnap her was revealed.

In her This Morning exit statement – which was was revealed in full – she referenced the show's first host Richard.

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Giving his take on her decision, he told GMB: "Holly has done a very brave, wise and courageous thing.

"We know Holly genuinely puts family first, as you do," referring to Susanna.

He continued: "It's family first and career second and people don't know that."

Richard said "given the year she has had" and "after the thing that happened last week" it has "given her a chance to step back and take stock."

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He was referencing the alleged kidnap threat to Holly which came to light courtesy of The Sun's exclusive last week.

Gavin Plumb, 36, was accused of contacting a US “hitman” as part of a plan to snatch Holly.

The 35-stone shopping centre security officer appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Friday to face the charges – soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap – with Holly as the alleged target.

It prompted Holly to take "indefinite leave" from the show.

Richard admitted Holly would have "certainly been shaken by that."

Yet Richard has high hopes for Holly's telly career to continue.

He added on today's show: "She will come back to do something else on TV.

"I think she has done exactly the right thing for her own mental health apart from anything else."

Earlier in the show, anchor Susanna made her own tribute to Holly.

She opened Wednesday's Good Morning Britain by sending mum-of-three Holly her "very, very best wishes" as she dubbed her a "beloved" colleague.

Wearing a stylish sleeveless green and white-print top with cream trousers, the ITV star broke her silence as soon as the opening credits rolled at 6am.

Talking the lead in the chat, she said: "I just want to open the show by sending I'm sure all of our best wishes to Holly Willoughby who has made what is clearly a difficult decision to step down from This Morning on ITV daytime after 14 years at the programme.

"And she's clearly made the right decision for her and her family as she says, a very difficult goodbye.

"But family first."

She finished off her tribute by saying: "So our very, very best wishes to Holly – a beloved colleague.

"I will miss seeing her walking past as she goes to work."

GMB co-host Ed Balls, 56, agreed and added: "She's had such a tough year but you feel confident that she will be back on television soon.

"We don't know when.

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"But she's a total star and it will be a big loss."

The majority of Holly's fans were in bits at her announcement.

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