Carol Vorderman breaks down in tears on TV tonight as she recalls the death of old friend and Countdown colleague Richard Whiteley.
She said she loved the Channel 4 show's presenter, who died in 2005 after they worked together for more than two decades, in "a genuine, pure" way.
Vorderman, 51, tells Piers Morgan's Life Stories on ITV1: "It still hurts very much. I loved him, I really loved him."
She and Whiteley first worked together on the words and numbers programme which gave her a TV break in November 1982 when the show launched. They continued to work together until he died, following heart surgery.
She tells Morgan: "He was more than just nice, he was funny, funny, funny. Every time we were in studio together I would cry laughing. He was just a joy to be with and I loved him. Not in that way, just a genuine, pure thing."
Maths whiz Vorderman continued on Countdown for a further three years but left when she and Channel 4 failed to agree terms on a new contract.
But in tonight's show, Loose Women host Vorderman said she would be happy to make an appearance on the show in the future.
"Of course I would," she said.
Vorderman also suggested her career success was responsible for the demise of her second marriage to Patrick King.
Morgan asked: "If you hadn't seen your career explode at the time that it did, do you think would have split up?"
She said: "Probably not. I think it did have an influence, yes. Probably we would be together."
:: Piers Morgan's Life Stories: Carol Vorderman is on ITV1 at 9pm.