Hilary Farr Leaving “Love It or List It ”After 19 Seasons: ‘I've Given It So Many Years of My Life’ (Exclusive)

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"It's time for me to move on and meet new challenges," the co-host of the long-running HGTV hit series tells PEOPLE

<p>Lucia Graco</p>

Lucia Graco

After helping families transform their homes for 19 seasons on HGTV’s Love It or List It, Hilary Farr is saying goodbye to the show.

The home design expert, who’s co-hosted the series with realtor David Visentin since 2008, shared the news with PEOPLE exclusively.

“I've given it so many years of my life,” she says. “It's got me through hard times. It's got the audiences through hard times. It has evolved into a mainstay of people's lives and it's been incredibly gratifying. But now it's time for me to move on and meet new challenges.”

Farr, who is beloved on the show for her sophisticated renovations and snappy take downs (usually of her co-star), reveals that she made the decision almost a year ago, when she finished filming the most recent season.

“I realized that everything that I am as a woman, which is [that I] look for challenges, look for inspiration, look for new ideas, be excited about all the possibilities that are out there, had really needed to bloom and to find their way,” she says. “I told everyone I'm done.”

“I thought that everyone had accepted it, but they hadn't,” she says. When it came time to film what would be the show's 20th season, “Everyone came back and said, ‘So, Love It or List It?’" She admits she had to "rethink it again and really examine it, did I want to go back to or not? With all the love in the world, the answer was no. It's just time.”

<p>courtesy Hilary Farr</p> David Visentin and Hilary Farr

courtesy Hilary Farr

David Visentin and Hilary Farr

In 2021, while still making Love It or List It, Farr began starring in a solo series on the network, Tough Love with Hilary Farr, which she says she enjoys in a different way. The series, in which Farr comes up with creative solutions for clients' dysfunctional spaces, aired its second season this fall.

When Farr broke the news to Visentin that she was leaving, she says, “He didn't believe me. He said, ‘Oh, you say that.’”

“We are who we are [in real life] on that show,” she adds. “Think of your brother as his most obnoxious and annoying, that's David.”

Farr says she’ll miss “everything” about working with Visentin, recalling how he supported her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, and underwent three lumpectomies and radiation. She’s now in remission.

“I was working all the way through cancer and he was always there,” she says. “He had his little rough patches too here and there, and we were there for each other. Yeah, that's a biggie. I don't know that that's going to change."

She adds that the longtime friendship "is not going to just disappear because we're not working together.”

Related: WATCH: Hilary Farr Is Tackling a Very Different Project on 'Love It or List It' — Her Own Home

Farr doesn’t know if Love It or List It will continue without her, but she says she “wouldn't be surprised” if the show is looking for a new co-host.

“I wish them all the luck in the world,” she adds. “And I would probably tune in and watch it.”

As for a third season of Tough Love? “We'll see what happens there. I'm not at all stepping away,” she teases.

In the meantime, Farr says she has “a few other things in the pipeline.” And she’s also focusing on an unexpected purchase she made last fall: a piece of land in Italy where she intends to build a "tiny house." "That will be an adventure,” says.

<p>Bryan Bedder/Getty</p>

Bryan Bedder/Getty

Related: 'Love It or List It' 's Hilary Farr Reveals Breast Cancer for the First Time: 'I Could Have Died'

Farr says her experience with cancer has changed her perspective on what's important to her and how she spends her time.

“I'm now very aware of really wanting to take joy out of every day, and that's one of the reasons that it was time to leave Love It or List It, because it was becoming too easy ... I was in a rut. It's been so many years. You want to feel that every day is something different and special and grasp for those challenges. That's really what I think drives me, anyway.”


Still, Farr says being on the show taught her things about herself — and about the viewers who’ve been touched by it.

For the designer, "this show has encompassed a divorce, cancer, my son getting married, my son having three children, my long-term relationship breaking up. In fact, my partner of all those years developed cancer."

Farr says it was that experience in particular that inspired Tough Love, in which she wanted to spotlight "the difficulties or challenges in your life that fly at you."

“I have really learned about the extraordinary impact that this show has had out there,” she says. “I mean, I meet people who have gone through terrible experiences and desperate sadness, and they tell me that this show was their salvation. This got them through. It also helped me get through good times and bad times.”

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“I learned that every minute that I think there are so many things happening in this world that are so horrific, I'm sure I should be doing something more meaningful, that in fact, I was doing something meaningful by doing the show,” she continued. “That was gratifying to get to that understanding. I've grown as a designer, I've grown as a human, and I have understood the value of love and friendship. Every single season and episode was a challenge. That's what I love.”

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Read the original article on People.