‘I was like a lamb to the slaughter – it was the most humiliating experience’: Eamonn Holmes claims stress of £250k tax row caused bout of shingles which could’ve left him blind
Eamonn Holmes believes that the stress of his £250,000 tax row caused his severe bout of shingles which could’ve left him blind.
The television presenter, 63, was left unable to work when he suffered with the illness in 2018, shocking fans as he uploaded a photo of his painful-looking face on social media at the time.
At the time he was being investigated by HMRC over his tax. The presenter was hit with the £250,000 sum in 2020 after losing a case against the taxman over how he was paid.
The host of ITV’s This Morning at the time claimed he was a freelancer, and received payments via his company.
He is now appealing against the ruling, and said the hearing was ‘the most stressful experience outside of losing my father’.
Tough: Eamonn Holmes believes that the stress of his £250,000 tax row caused his severe bout of shingles which could’ve left him blind
The TV star told The Mirror ahead of Shingles Awareness Week: ‘I was like a lamb to the slaughter – it was the most stressful, humiliating experience.’
Describing the illness he added: ‘It was scary to see it. It looked as if someone had taken a baseball bat to my face and smashed me about a bit.’
‘Blindness could have been a complication in my case. The doctor said it’s really bad for you because it’s around your eyes, and could be bad for your ophthalmic nerves. Medically, it was pretty serious.’
Shingles is a viral rash caused by varicella zoster virus, the virus which causes chickenpox, being reactivated.
In the UK, 90 per cent of adults have had chickenpox, so will have this virus lying dormant in their nervous systems.
Last year, Eamonn appeared on Loose Women to talk about his ‘brutal’ battle with shingles, with the broadcaster saying he looked like ‘Quasimodo’ on his son Declan’s wedding day in 2018.
As a picture of Eamonn’s face was shown on screen, the TV host said: ‘This is me with shingles looking like Quasimodo there and as you can see from that, it’s quite brutal.’
He continued: ‘You’ll say, ‘How on earth did you get that?’ Well, if you’ve had chickenpox and you’ve had the virus, it’s there in your system and there’s a very high chance – 60% chance or so – that you too will have shingles.’
Ouch: The television presenter, 63, was left unable to work when he suffered with the illness in 2018, shocking fans as he uploaded a photo of his painful-looking face on social media at the time
Difficult: At the time he was being investigated by HMRC over his tax. The presenter was hit with the £250,000 sum in 2020 after losing a case against the taxman over how he was paid
Eamonn shares children Declan, 33, Rebecca, 31, Niall, 29, with his ex wife Gabrielle and son Jack, 19, with current wife Ruth Langsford, 61.
He explained the impact the condition had and detailed how his image was ravaged by the side effects on his son’s wedding day.
He said: ‘That was at a time when my eldest son – my only son to get married. That was the first marriage in the family and that was what I looked like on the wedding day and I had to have that covered up…
‘So you can imagine, I ruined all the pictures, I didn’t want to be in them. I didn’t want to be the centre of attention with all this…
‘But the timing was awful. The dangerous thing about mine was that if it’s on your face, it can affect, maybe impair your eyesight.’
His boy: His image was ravaged by the side effects on his son’s wedding day, with Eamonn covering his face in make-up (pictured with Declan in 2018)
In an interview with i last year, Eamonn also spoke about the horror he felt when he was stricken with the illness.
He said: ‘It was like some hideous movie, where you feel your face and you go, “What’s that?”
‘I remember going to the bathroom mirror and jumping back in horror. I had no idea what the symptoms were or why you would even be vulnerable to it.
‘I had no idea whether I had had chickenpox at all, so I had to go and ask my mother.’
SHINGLES: DISEASE CAUSED BY SAME VIRUS AS CHICKENPOX
Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox, the herpes varicella-zoster virus, and causes a painful rash which develops into itchy blisters.
It is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it which can also make people feel unwell for several days before any rash appears.
Most people carry the virus dormant after suffering from chickenpox as a child, but it can be reactivated in later life to cause shingles.
There is currently no cure for the disease and in most cases the painful rash lasts between 7 and 10 days, although it can take two to four weeks to fully heal.
The disease can also lead to complications such as postherpetic neuralgia, which is when severe nerve pain lasts for more than three months after the rash has gone.
Estimations suggest this affects at least 1 in 10 people with shingles, although it is more common in older people.
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