Jo Whiley had to take HRT before becoming co-presenter of Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 show to clear a ‘brain fog’ caused by the menopause, she has revealed.
The BBC presenter, 55, said she decided to have hormone replacement therapy in 2018 because she ‘couldn’t cope’ with her body’s changes and felt as if she was losing her mind.
In the event, her role helping Mayo to host the Drivetime show he’d presented for eight years lasted only ten months after it was panned by listeners and critics.
Miss Whiley said: ‘I was feeling the effects of being my age. I had that hideous brain fog… it’s so hard, so intangible – just that awful thing of trying to remember stuff and it just fading away from your brain.
Jo Whiley, 55, revealed she was able to overcome ‘brain fog’ of the menopause using HRT ahead of helping Simon Mayo to co-present the Drivetime show. Pictured, at the 39th Brit Awards in London on 20 February 2019
‘You try and get hold of it and bring the thought back into your head to try to articulate it and you can’t.
‘I did think at times I was losing my mind and kept going backwards and forwards to various doctors and professionals, going, ‘I just don’t feel quite right’.’
Speaking on The Shift podcast last week, she said she worried about research linking HRT to the faster growth of cancerous cells, but when she was offered the Drivetime gig she shrugged off her fears.
Miss Whiley, who earns £285,000 a year and now presents a weekday evening show on Radio 2, added: ‘I started HRT in preparation for doing the Drivetime show because professionally I thought I ought to – and it really did work.
‘That is the most marked benefit – having more clarity in my head and being able to speak.’ The BBC made her Mayo’s co-host in January 2018 following criticism about Radio 2’s lack of female presenters.
Jo (pictured) revealed the negative reviews from being on Drivetime knocked her for six and made her want to hide away
But their partnership left many listeners cold, and Mayo – who’d worked at the BBC for 36 years – ended up leaving the broadcaster over the fallout.
Miss Whiley said the negative reviews knocked her for six, adding: ‘That was not good for my confidence… wanting to do a good job and being aware the show is not successful. That is a horrible thing. People were angry I’d come in and destroyed the show.
‘Getting flak for ruining a successful show… you just wanted to hide. You think everybody hates you.
‘I really do not want to go through that again.’
Last year, BBC news and arts presenter Kirsty Lang, 58, revealed she had gone back on HRT after overcoming breast cancer, despite fearing it could increase the chances of the cancer returning.
She added: ‘I do have moments of anxiety about the cancer coming back. I’m aware that I’m taking a bit of a risk. But then, I take a risk every time I cross a busy road or get into a car.’
BBC presenter Kirsty Lang, 58, previously revealed she has gone back to taking HRT, despite fears of her breast cancer returning (file image)