Proof Piers Morgan is a big softie, as Kate Garraway said ex-GMB host was "like Churchill" in her darkest hours
PIERS Morgan comes across as one of the fiercest people on TV, always up for an argument.
But, the TV journalist – who left Good Morning Britain earlier this year after a controversial rant about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – isn’t always so stoney-faced.
Even by his own admission, Piers puts on a front.
Speaking on Gabby Logan's The Midpoint Podcast, the 56-year-old previously said: "Look, there's a persona that I certainly play up to. I think all television is performance in a way.
"I certainly think there's a sort of theatrical element to it as well.
"I certainly play up to that, I don't chase around trying to be beloved, it would be a fairly lonely journey if I did.
"So, I prefer to be divisive and polarising, and get everybody going and wake everybody up in the morning.”
And now, as Kate Garraway has revealed how he helped her cope with her husband Derek Draper’s long battle with Covid, we take a look at all the times he’s actually been a bit of a softie.
‘Piers was my Churchill’
Kate Garraway’s husband Derek Draper, 53, was put in a coma after catching Covid in March last year.
He only returned home in April of this year.
The Good Morning Britain presenter has been looking after their children, Darcey, 15, and Bill, 11, and holding down her job since.
And she has explained how it was Piers channeling Winston Churchill that really helped her pull through.
She said her former GMB colleague and long-time friend told her: “You have to fight this. Do not crumble.”
Kate, 54, said Piers’ tough love worked, helping keep her going as stricken Derek struggled on.
She said: “When Piers rang he did what the Piers I’ve known for 20 years always did, and went into Churchillian rallying mode.
“‘Right, Kate, get a grip. You’re a brilliant journalist. Do what you do best . . . get on this. Get to the bottom of the situation.
“He was like a rugby team captain, preparing me for the pitch, quoting every inspirational figure he could from Churchill to Nelson Mandela.”
In her new book, The Power of Hope, Kate added: “It worked, spurring me on.”
‘He’s actually really nice!’
Earlier this year, Coleen Nolan joined Piers on his Life Stories show to be interviewed by him.
The in-depth chat about her past focused on her rise to fame with her sisters, as part of the Nolans, as well as her break-ups with Shane Richie and Ray Fensome.
They also touched on the tragic death of her sister, Bernie Nolan, due to cancer – and the fact that two of her other sisters, Anne and Linda Nolan, also have cancer.
After the very personal interview, Coleen clearly developed a soft spot for Piers, as she surprisingly concluded: “You’re actually really nice!”
‘Touched’ by a lonely viewer
Piers showed his softer side in January, when he got emotional while reading out a letter from a lonely viewer named Linda, who’d lost her husband of 57 years in December 2019.
She told Piers and his former co-host Susanna Reid that watching GMB gets her out of bed in the morning and provides her with some company.
Responding to the message, Piers got emotional and he said: "It touched me this morning. I found the letter on my desk.
"I wish you all the very best. It's one of the reasons we do this actually.
"It's to shine a light into all sorts of people's lives, particularly in the last year.
"People who are lonely, depressed, anxious, fearful, for obvious reasons, who just maybe want to be informed and entertained. Whatever it is, that's why we do it."
He continued: "He passed away in December 2019 so three months then lockdown erupts.
“It must have impounded the loneliness you feel. Presuming that you haven't been able to see family members.
"I'm delighted you watch us and we bring you something, put a smile on your face and get you out of bed in the morning."
A touching tribute
During the first lockdown, Piers became a big champion of Captain Tom Moore – who became Captain Sir Tom Moore last year.
He was the Second World War hero who stole the hearts of the nation during the first lockdown last year as he vowed to complete 100 laps of his garden for his 100th birthday.
His aim of raising thousands for the NHS was eclipsed in a huge way as word spread, with the final total standing at over £33million.
However, Captain Tom sadly died, aged 100, earlier this year, after testing positive for COVID-19.
Piers was one of the first to pay tribute to him on Twitter, and he also got emotional giving his condolences on GMB.
He said: “He became a symbol of hope, a shining light in the darkest of times, we are celebrating this remarkable man's remarkable life.
“A very sad day today, to lose a man of that stature, who incredibly, nine months ago, we had not heard of.
"The more we got to know him, the more we loved him, he represented the very best of this country. Decency, courage, determination, resilience, a man who came from World War II serving his country, risking death several times.
"That instilled in him a sense of positivity, even in the darkest times, like World War II, 'Tomorrow will be a good day'."
Piers is father to four children – three sons, Spencer, 27, Stanley, 24, and Albert, 20, from his previous marriage to Marion Shalloe, and a nine-year-old daughter, Elise, he shares with his current wife, Celia Walden.
The relationship between him and his boys is very banterous – with them often taking the mick out of each other on social media.
But he is clearly a doting father to his youngest, and is often sharing adorable pictures with her, showing he does have a softer side.
In the past, he’s posted some cute pictures of them pulling funny faces together, and even enjoying a game of chess – which Elise beat him at.
Sharing a snap of her checkmating him, Piers wrote: "I knew letting her watch Queen’s Gambit was a mistake.
"She’s just beaten me in four moves. I will never live this down."
Piers even cut his daughter's hair during lockdown!
Piers’ biological father sadly died when he was two years old, but his step-father has been with his mum for over 50 years – and he refers to him as “dad” and took his surname.
And he’s clearly very proud of his parents, as, on their 50th anniversary he had nothing but lovely things to say to them.
To mark the special occasion, Piers shared two black and white pictures of his mum and dad sat next to each other – one taken when they were younger, and one more recently.
The proud son wrote: “Happy Golden Wedding Anniversary to my fabulous parents. 4 children, 13 grandchildren, 50 glorious years.”
He finished: “Thank you!”
'Heart of gold'
Robbie Savage was always known for his bad boy image – but his mum, Val Savage, insists that’s not the case, in reality.
And, after the pensioner sat down with Piers on GMB, she revealed how the journalist reminded her of her footballer son.
She said: “Behind his image, Robert’s soft.
“Same with Piers.”
Referencing the Life Stories interview that Piers did with Vinnie Jones, she continued: “I saw how moved he was when he interviewed Vinnie Jones about losing his wife, and I saw how emotional he felt talking to Captain Tom.
“And I feel the same when I see that chopsy face of his break into a smile – I think, ‘Bless him – he’s a man with real spirit’.
"That’s why our Robert and Piers get on – they’re both cheeky chaps with hearts of gold."
‘A very generous heart’
Throughout the pandemic, Piers furiously defended the NHS, demanding they get paid more by the government, and hit out when it was announced parking charges would go up for staff.
And, due to this, GMB’s resident medic, Dr Hilary Jones, spoke out in support of him after he was axed from the breakfast show.
Appearing on the programme, Dr Hilary said that everyone should remember that "loyal" Piers has "a very generous heart".
He said: "Piers did a very great deal to champion the mental health of NHS workers.
"I got into debates with him but he always held ministers to account and asked the secondary questions."
Dr Hilary continued: "He had a very generous heart."
He also said that Piers was "loyal" and "championed the little people – the people who had no voice”.
"And we shouldn't forget that," he added.
Heartbroken for the Queen
It’s well known that Piers is a staunch royalist, so it was no surprise that he was heartbroken as he watched the Queen say goodbye to her beloved husband, Prince Philip, at his funeral.
Sharing a picture of Her Majesty dressed all in black, sitting in St George’s Chapel, alone, he wrote: “Has there ever been a more heart-breaking picture of The Queen?
"The cruel separation and loneliness suffered by so many in this pandemic, now endured by the world’s most famous woman as she says goodbye to her husband of 73 years.
Cheering up friends
Charlotte Hawkins was devastated when she was eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing after just four weeks, in 2017.
But Piers was on hand to cheer up his friend, and he sent her a huge bouquet of stunning flowers.
Sharing a picture of her holding the gorgeous present on social media, she wrote: “‘Now that’s what I call a bouquet of flowers @piersmorgan… big thanks for cheering me up.
“It’s as big as me!!”
It seems Piers really does have a heart, after all!
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