The 62-year-old GB News presenter has recently undergone surgery on his back in a bid to relieve pressure on his sciatic nerves. The operation to ease his chronic pain, which carried a 20 percent risk of going wrong, was recommended to Eamonn after the broadcaster was left dependent on a walking stick and dealing with what he has described as “horrendous pain”. Having been dealing with crippling pain for the last 18 months, Eamonn Holmes is no stranger to health conditions, as he also came down with shingles back in 2018.
Speaking about his experience with shingles as he partners with GSK in a bid to raise awareness of the condition and its potential complications, Eamonn revealed that numerous “stressful” circumstances in his life at the time had contributed to him developing the painful condition, as he placed a great deal of blame onto the mental health implications of his battle with HMRC.
Waking up with the painful rash on the left side of his face, Eamonn explained that he had “no idea what had happened” to him.
He told Express.co.uk: “I went to bed one day and woke up the next day looking like Quasimodo.
“I had my face covered in blisters and had absolutely no idea what it was. I went to the doctors and they thought it could be shingles and I asked, ‘What is shingles?’ They then proceeded to ask me about chickenpox and I had no idea if I had had chickenpox or not, so I called my mother.
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“She told me I had chickenpox as a youngster and from there we were able to establish that because of my age and stressful situations, my immune system had weakened and I was the right candidate for shingles.”
The NHS explains that both physical and emotional stress can be a cause of shingles. This is because the chemicals released by the body when an individual is stressed prevent the immune system from working properly.
Elaborating more about the stresses he had faced in the lead up to developing shingles, Eamonn said: “This was the most horrible experience of my life. I had just come away two weeks earlier from the Inland Revenue bringing me to court about IR35 about being self employed or not.”
The former This Morning presenter was first targeted by HMRC back in 2018 after they claimed that his former jobs at Sky News, GMTV, Channel 5 and This Morning were staff jobs rather than self-employment.
With the ordeal still looming over the 62-year-old to this day, when asked if he is worried about getting shingles again, Eamonn exclusively told Express.co.uk: “There’s some evil things, I mean I would put Inland Revenue at the top of that list.
“It seems to be very, very unfair that they can attack you retrospectively. The government has ruled that this tax is unfair and unjust and they are going to stop it from next April.”
With his ongoing battle with HMRC having raged on for at least four years, it is clearly taking its toll on Eamonn.
“I haven’t paid them any money that they are due yet, and I have appealed and the appeal won’t be heard until next January, but it has cost so much money. Hundreds of thousands of pounds just to set up the legal situation, and then they will be looking for £2 million or so afterwards.
“Which I don’t have.”
“It is nonsense,” Eamonn continued, stating his case. “I work for everybody and anybody and I get no benefits, no holiday pay, no dividends, no sick leave, no nothing.
“So anyway, it’s stressful and was the biggest stress, and it hasn’t gone away out of my life.”
Following the initial battle with Inland Revenue, Eamonn took HMRC to court after being handed a £250,000 tax bill.
“I have never been beaten up, bruised, bullied. It was the most horrendous experience of my life and then two weeks later I got the shingles, and no wonder,” he added.
Explaining more about the traumatic ordeal in a previous interview with Belfast Live, Eamonn said: “They wanted 10 years’ backdated national insurance.
“To go back a decade to try and get the money that you’ve already spent? I don’t care how much you earn, you spend it. It was gone.”
Shingles is a painful rash affecting a specific area of skin caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox (varicella zoster) virus, which lies dormant in the nervous system following infection earlier in life.
Yet, according to stats found by a new GSK-commissioned report, 36 percent of survey participants did not know that anybody who has had chickenpox could develop shingles in the future.
Understanding Shingles is a campaign by GSK supported by Eammon Holmes and James Jordan, in partnership with the Shingles Support Society and Age UK. For more information visit www.understandingshingles.co.uk.