Sunrise host Samantha Armytage is leaving Australia’s most popular breakfast show after an impressive eight-year run to spend more time with her family.
And during her last broadcast, Sam broke down in tears on multiple occasions when discussions about the devastating loss of her mother Libby was brought up.
Sam’s husband Richard Lavender made his debut on the program to discuss their love story and how the tragic death had forced the pair to ‘reevaluate’ life priorities.
‘I miss you guys!’ Samantha Armytage (left) broke down in tears during her last day on Sunrise on Thursday as her sister FaceTimed her from lockdown in London during live broadcast
‘It’s well documented the misfortunes that Sam’s had in her family and it’s also been in my family. I lost my sister 10 days ago from a brain tumor, so she was dying when all of this was going on with Libby (Sam’s late mother) and Mac (Sam’s ill father ).
‘So we’re certainly looking forward to spending more time with our family. You reevaluate things and you realise how important family are,’ Richard said.
Sad loss: The death of her mother, Libby (left), from an autoimmune disease in November had also made her rethink her priorities in life, sources said
‘It’s well documented the misfortunes that Sam’s had in her family and it’s also been in my family’: Sam’s husband Richard Lavender (right) made his debut on the program to discuss their love story and how the tragic deaths of both Sam’s mother and his sister forced the pair to ‘reevaluate’ life priorities and focus more on family
Co-host David ‘Kochie’ Koch also surprised Sam with a FaceTime call with her London-based sister, Georgie Cavaliere.
Sam has been unable to see her sister Georgie for some time due to the coronavirus pandemic, with her sibling missing their mother Libby’s funeral in November and her wedding to husband Richard in December.
While Sam remained composed while watching a lengthy montage of her time on the show, the emotional call with her sister tipped her over the edge.
Joining the program from lockdown in the UK, Georgie and her daughter Lucia praised Sam on her achievements, and said: ‘we are so proud of you!’
Kochie asked Lucia ‘What kind of auntie is auntie Sammy?’, to which she cutely replied to the anchor: ‘The greatest auntie in the world!’
Welling up at the kind sentiments, Sam said: ‘She is the greatest niece in the world. I miss you guys. Will see you soon, I hope.’
‘We are so proud of you!’ While Sam remained composed for a large tribute montage of her time on the show, the emotional call with her sister and niece tipped her over the edge
The Armytage sisters have had a tough past year, with mother Libby passing and their father Mac being hospitalised with health problems.
Sam said: ‘It’s been so hard without being there with each other. We’ve missed you, it’s really hard when you’re on the other side of the world in times like this.’
In November, Georgie was forced to attend their mother’s funeral via video call from London, and gave an emotional speech from afar.
Libby died in November after a 15-year battle with autoimmune disease.
In January, Sam also said how sad it was that her sister could not return home to attend her intimate wedding ceremony in the Southern Highlands on New Year’s Eve.
Speaking to The Kyle and Jackie O Show, Sam revealed that a large portion of the couple’s extended family were unable to attend, including her younger brother, Charlie.
Last day: Sam officially signed off on Thursday, after an impressive eight-year run on Australia’s most popular breakfast show
Daddy’s girl: Sam also said on Monday that one of the reasons she resigned was because she wanted to spend more time with her father, Mac (right), who suffered a stroke last year
Sam officially signed off from Sunrise on Thursday, after an impressive eight-year run on Australia’s most popular breakfast show
The 44-year-old had announced her resignation live on air days earlier on Monday, saying she wanted to step back from TV to spend more time with her family.
She said: ‘The time has come for the sun to set on my time at Sunrise. I have always been brave and fearless in my career and this decision is no different.’
She explained she was leaving of her own choosing, and was looking forward to life away from the spotlight after a ‘bittersweet’ year that included the death of her mother, Libby, and her marriage to businessman Richard, 60.
Stepping away: Sam explained she was leaving of her own choosing, and was looking forward to life away from the spotlight to start her new life with husband Richard (right)
Hot contender: While Seven has not yet announced Sam’s replacement, industry website TV Blackbox reports newsreader Natalie Barr will likely step in alongside co-anchor David ‘Kochie’ Koch in wake of Sam’s shock departure
‘I want to step out of this public world for a while and take some time and calm things down, enjoy a bit of slow living, and spend some time with my precious family, my husband and [dog] Banjo,’ she said.
‘I go out of this job at a time of my own choosing and on top of the ratings, which not many people on television can say they do.
‘I’m extremely proud of my almost eight years at the helm of Sunrise, my seven years before that at Weekend Sunrise, and my almost 18 years with the Seven Network.’
Not going anywhere: According to industry website TV Blackbox, Sam is likely on a retainer with the Seven Network, meaning she won’t be able to defect to a competitor
Still in the media: In February, Sam launched her first podcast called Something to Talk About with Samantha Armytage, in partnership with Stellar
Her announcement followed months of rumours she was preparing to leave Sunrise to spend more time with Richard at his country estate in the Southern Highlands.
Sam’s last day on Sunrise was Thursday, but her $800,000-a-year contract with Seven doesn’t expire until October.
Industry website TV Blackbox reported on Monday that newsreader Natalie Barr was expected to take over Sam’s position alongside co-anchor David ‘Kochie’ Koch.
Gossip: For months, it was rumoured that 2021 would be Sam’s last year hosting Sunrise. Speculation was rife she wanted to quit TV and focus on family life with Bowral businessman Richard Lavender, whom she married on New Year’s Eve (pictured on their wedding day)