India Willoughby is Britain’s first transgender television newsreader and the first trans panelist on Loose Women.
Born as Jonathan Willoughby, she began her career on ITV in 2000. As Jonathan, she married and has a son who is now 19
India Willoughby made history by becoming the first trans woman in the world to front an all-female talk show.
The respected journalist and BBC news presenter was the first to be evicted on Celebrity Big Brother 2018 – here is India’s story so far…
|Birth Date||February 2, 1965|
|Series||Celebrity Big Brother 21 (UK)|
|Times Nominated||1 (Day 8)|
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 was the first to be evicted 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.
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.”