The trailblazing BBC News presenter is one of Britain’s most famous trans women and has entered the CBB house
INDIA Willoughby made history by becoming the first trans woman in the world to present an all-female talk show.
She is also a respected journalist and BBC news broadcaster – and is now starring on Celebrity Big Brother – here’s India’s story…
Who is India Willoughby?
India Willoughby is a 51-year-old broadcaster and journalist born Jonathan Willoughby.
Working as a TV reporter at ITV Border, Jonathan presented the news in the North East and Cumbria.
She has a teenage son named Rhodes and is based in Newcastle.
In 2010, she quit her regional job in Carlisle, Cumbria, after ten years of the presenting its news show.
Five years later, she returned to TV and announced that she had transitioned to female and was now named India.
She is currently appearing on Celebrity Big Brother.
When and why did India decide to undergo reassignment surgery?
India told Best magazine in March 2017 that she felt like she was always a girl and the “boys’ clothes felt like a straitjacket to her”.
The journalist had previously revealed the final moment of clarity came when she caught an image of herself in a monitor while working.
She said: “I was nice and smart in my suit but I knew I couldn’t go on because that person wasn’t me.
“I went home in tears, absolutely distraught. I bought myself a bottle of wine and drank it.”
“At the end of that night I thought I was going to do myself in,” she continued. “I thought I would rather have a clean death to keep my secret a secret.
“Fortunately for me I’m a terrible drinker and I fell asleep, which in a way might have saved my life.”
As a result of the evening, she decided to pursue gender reassignment surgery.
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How did India tell her family?
India admits she struggled with telling her family and young son – and instead spent five years leading a double life.
During the week she worked as a PR woman in Newcastle, then returned to the family home in Cumbria as Jonathan to be a father to her teenage son.
She said: “I didn’t want to lose my family and friends. What I did was I decided to split my life in two.
“I spent weekends as Jonathan in one city and I lived as the real me in Newcastle.”
India finally told her son, then 16, in a letter she handed to him after a meal out.
Now living as a single mum, she recalled: “He said, ‘It changes nothing. You’re still my parent.’
“He and his mother have been so supportive and ITV have been fantastic.”
When did India appear on Loose Women?
India appeared on the panel show as a guest in October and won praise from viewers for sharing her “inspirational” story on air.
They branded her “beautiful” and “sassy”, while one person wrote on Twitter: “You should be a @loosewomen”.
India is back on TV and on the Border and Tyne Tees reporting team on a freelance basis.
Following her most recent appearance on Loose Women, India said she would love to be a guest panellist again.
She said: “I really do wish I had the courage to speak up when I was younger.
“But now that I’ve done it, life begins at 50 for me. I’ve got a whole lot of living to do and I can’t wait to get on with it.”
When is Celebrity Big Brother 2018 on?
Celebrity Big Brother is on twice a year, and returned to our screens on January 2 on Channel 5 hosted by Emma Willis.
The show marks 100 years since women won the right to vote in Britain, and launched with an ALL-FEMALE cast of celebrities to begin with.
CBB is on every night on Channel 5 and usually begins at 9pm. Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit On the Side is on the same channel on weekdays, later the same night.