James Martin’s life-changing decision after watching man die seconds after they chatted

This Morning star James Martin reevaluated his life in 2015 after witnessing a man die (Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

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TV chef James Martin was a staple part of our weekends during his 10 year stint on Saturday Kitchen, making us all hungry with delicious dishes and celebrity guests.

But he decided to quit the presenting gig back in 2015 after a tragically watching a man die just moments after they chatted.

James, 49, was hosting the BBC Good Food Awards in Dubai in 2015, when he struck up a conversation with another guest, Dominic De Souza.

The businessman was a similar age to James and they had been getting along well during the ceremony.

But tragically, when De Souza walked up on stage he suffered a heart attack and he died in front of the audience.

The horrifying moment changed James's world view forever, and he later said made him realise he was working too hard and needed to rebalance his life, acutely aware now that it can all end in a second.

James Martin quit Saturday Kitchen after witnessing a man die right in front of him
(Image: BBC)

James Martin has vowed never to get married
(Image: Getty Images)

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James, whose show Islands to Highlands airs on Mondays, appeared on Loose Women the following year, where he recalled the horrifying incident.

"Work was fundamental," he said.

"But I was doing a gig abroad and I was chatting to a gentleman the same age as me with a similar work ethic, really keen on work.

"He went on stage literally five minutes after I spoke to him to do an awards ceremony and he died before he hit the floor."

James continued: "Just all of us were in total shock, and I got back on the plane and thought, 'Now I'm going to re-address the balance.'"

"That was over a year ago. And I looked back at all the work I’d done. I’d had four days off that year and five days off the year before.

James Martin admitted he sacrificed everything for his career, including a traditional family life
(Image: Getty)

"That’s when I realised things would have to change. It’s partly the reason I gave up Saturday Kitchen."

He was left shocked by the devastated response of his fans when he stepped back from the show after initially believing no one would be interested.

James told The Mirror: "I didn’t think leaving Saturday Kitchen would be such a big deal.

"I genuinely said to my agent, ‘Stick it out there, but no one will be bothered,’ and next minute it was all over the papers.

"It was like One Direction splitting up."

Before he made the much-needed change, James' gruelling work schedule was also getting in the way of his personal life.

James Martin and his partner, TV producer Louise Davies
(Image: WireImage)

He admitted his focus on work meant he shunned a traditional family life and made "huge sacrifices" to benefit his career.

He told Readers Digest : "It was quite funny – my friends came over to my house last week and we were walking through my garages when one of them said: ‘So this is what you could have had if you didn’t have kids.’

"The sacrifices you make doing your job are colossal, but the rewards are huge.

"And I don’t mean financial, it’s in here and here," he added, pointing to his head and heart. "That’s what matters.”

In another interview, James said the "biggest low" of his career is that he has "given up everything" for it.

"I look at my mates and they’re all married with kids, and that’s not the case for me because I’ve been so focused on work," he told Prima.

"The level of commitment it requires and the choices you have to make have a huge impact."

James is a regular on daytime TV show including This Morning
(Image: ITV)

"But would I do the same thing again? Probably, because it’s made me who I am," he admitted.

"And why does everybody have to follow the norm anyway?"

But James has managed to find love, and he is notoriously private but spoke to the Sunday People in 2018 about dating long-term girlfriend Louise Davies.

He met Louise, a TV producer, when he took part on Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

The couple have been together since 2011, but James says he had no plans to propose.

"No, it doesn't interest me in the slightest, mainly because I've catered for so many weddings, really," he revealed.

"I admire people who do it, that's fine, but I'm quite happy. I don't need to spend 60 grand on a day, no, I'm more than happy thanks," he said.

It was reported James was keen to keep his relationship with Louise out of the spotlight, after his first high-profile relationship attracted media attention.

James dated James Bond producer Barbara Brocolli, who is 12 years his senior, for four-and-a-half years until they split up in 2005.

"For reasons I've never understood, my life has been full of headstrong women who, no doubt bored with waiting for me to notice them, have made the first move," James explainedin his autobiography, Driven.

"Which is probably just as well, most of them were so obviously out of my league I wouldn't have given myself a chance."

"She 'won' me in a charity auction in 2001 when I was 29, paying £18,000 to have me cook a meal at her Chelsea house," he added, joking that perhaps his trademark dessert of spun sugar clinched the deal.

He added that walking away from Barbara was possibly the "daftest" thing he had ever done, but the most "sensible".

He admitted it was "hard" to leave Barbara, because they loved each other so much.

It's reported James' romance with Louise is a far more low key affair than his relationship with Barbara, with a source telling The Sun : "James desperately wants to keep his private life out of the spotlight and under wraps.

"It’s easy to do with Louise as she likes things low-key as well, unlike Barbara who loved making a fuss over him."

They added: "Louise goes absolutely everywhere with him – they just don’t make a big song and dance about it."

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