Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick
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Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick on famous ex, being cheated on, childhood abuse, depression, and malpractice suit that left him suicidal

He's said to have dated a very well-known singer-songwriter!

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Noel Fitzpatrick returns to Channel 4 with his beloved documentary The Supervet. And it’s the 19th run of the popular show.

As much as he loves being around pets, viewers love watching them, but there’s a devastating reason why he seeks solace with animals. In fact, for years, he admitted he “didn’t trust people” at all.

So who is the man behind the vet’s mask? Where is the Irish vet based, and how old is he? Who is his famous ex-girlfriend, and why has he said he’d never marry?

Here’s everything you need to know about Noel Fitzpatrick, and the traumatic childhood that stole his trust…

Noel Fitzpatrick wife
Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick with his beloved pet Kiera, who sadly died after being hit by a car (Credit: Channel 4)

Noel Fitzpatrick returns in The Supervet season 19

Noel Fitzpatrick returns with series 19 of The Supervet. This time, the rescue special features the amazing stories – old and new – of some of the animals for whom Noel has provided extraordinary and life-saving treatment since The Supervet began in 2014.

Viewers will also meet the families at the centre of their inspiring stories.

Animals featured include rescue whippet Wobble, who we first met in 2015. At that time, he was only a year old and was wobbling due to a compression fracture in her neck.

Meanwhile, we meet German Shepherd rescue Bran again. He first went to Fitzpatricks in 2019, and received an innovative custom total hip replacement – the first of its kind for a three-legged dog.

Who is Noel Fitzpatrick?

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick is an orthopaedic-neuro veterinary surgeon, founder of Fitzpatrick Referrals, and Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey.

The Irish vet became a TV personality through his programme The Supervet. He studied veterinary medicine at the University College of Dublin, and graduated in 1990. He went on to work in several large-animal vets in Ireland.

In 1993, Noel moved to Guildford, Surrey, where he worked in a small animal practice. Twelve years later, Noel set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in 2005, which is a million-pound state-of-the-art clinic.

Fame came knocking in 2009, when he became the first vet in the world to successfully apply an amputation prosthesis to a cat. Unsurprisingly, the Guinness World Records recognised him for the surgery.

He subsequently became the focus of the TV documentary The Bionic Vet in 2010, and The Supervet from 2014.

As a vet, he’s treated dozens of celebrity’s pets – including Meghan Markle‘s dog, and Declan Donnelly’s beloved dog, after it was mauled by a fox.

Noel developed an interest in drama as a child, and pursued acting after qualifying as a vet. He studied at LAMDA and won a few acting roles. He actually appeared in two episodes of The Bill, as well as London’s Burning, Heartbeat, and Casualty.

He’s also the author of several books, which focus on his love of animals.

Noel Fitzpatrick with two dogs in promo shot for The Supervet
The Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick is happiest when surrounded by animals (Credit: Channel 4)

How old is he? Where is he from?

Noel Fitzpatrick was born on December 13, 1967, in Ballyfin, County Laois, Ireland.

His dad was a farmer called Sean Fitzpatrick. Noel was one of six siblings who grew up in Ballyfin, Co Laois.

Noel is currently 56 years old.

Where is The Supervet Noel based?

Noel’s surgery is based in Eashing, Surrey. Originally from Ireland, he moved to Guildford, Surrey, in 1993. He is the founder, director and managing clinician at Fitzpatrick Referrals.

His veterinary practice includes two hospitals specialising in orthopaedics and neurosurgery in Eashing. There is also another clinic specialising in oncology and soft tissue surgery in Guildford.

Noel and his team work animal referral practice, which means they are operational 24/7, 365 days a year.

Noel Fitzpatrick holds a rhino in Supervet: Safari Special
Noel pushed himself out of his comfort zone in Supervet: Safari Special (Credit: Channel 4)

Is Noel Fitzpatrick married?

Noel is not married, and does not have children. He is thought to be single.

In the past, he has mentioned that he’d like to settle down one day, but his 16-hour days aren’t very wife-friendly. He told The Irish Times: “I’d like to marry and have kids one day, but the wife would have to know she’d always come second to the practice.”

They’d have to be an animal lover, too! Noel lives with two HUGE cats. His two Maine Coon cats are called Ricochet and Excalibur…

Noel has spoken about how he met his first girlfriend Helena in a modelling agency, even hinting that she may have been the one to get away. However, they went their separate ways because he wished to move to London to follow his veterinary calling.

“If I had married her, my life would have turned out very differently,” explained Noel. “I would not have had my heart broken and I would not have broken any hearts.”

He also admitted to having problems bonding with partners, and does not hide away from the possibility that may be because he puts his career first.

He said in his book: “It could be said that I gravitate towards animals because I find human relationships difficult. The bottom line is that from my partners’ point of view, I have been selfish – something that I have been told time and time again.”

Noel also admitted that he’s been cheated on, saying: “So, for example, while I have been fixing a dog, a girl I loved has been in bed with someone else. That’s a bitter pill to swallow… And yet I can see it from her point of view. Why should she put up with always being second best to a dog or cat in crisis?”

Who has Noel dated?

Although Noel doesn’t have a wife, he once dated singer-songwriter Cathy Dennis. According to the Evening Standard, the 2003 tune Toxic could well have been inspired by Noel.

Noel dated Britney‘s Toxic collaborator Cathy around 25 years ago… They apparently broke up in 2003: the same year the song came out.

The vet spoke openly about their breakup in his book Listening to the Animals: Becoming the Supervet.

He said: “Cathy and I remain good friends and I’m sad that I couldn’t give her, or anyone else, what is needed in a healthy relationship.”

Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick on battle with depression

Noel has spoken openly about his battle with depression which he’s had “all of his life”, and has admitted that animals are a solace for him.

He’s even shared that he previously contemplated taking his own life over a malpractice suit.

In 2018, Noel Fitzpatrick opened up about his depression battle in his book Becoming the Supervet. Noel said he faced bullies from a young age who physically and verbally attacked him.

But he found solace in his sheepdog Pirate. Noel said the comfort his dog gave him inspired him to work as hard as he could to attend veterinary school.

He shared: “I have battled with depression and feelings of worthlessness all my life. My love for animals has taken me away from personal relationships, it has saved me, too. Through their eyes, I can see that my work really matters, in spite of the challenges and heartache.

“But it never goes away, and I do wish that I could have balanced the scales of life better.”

What was The Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick accused of?

Noel once admitted he felt suicidal after he was accused of malpractice by four vets back in 2018 after a tortoise died.

Hermes the tortoise had had three of his legs chewed off by rats while in hibernation. Noel discussed euthanasia with the owner, but they decided to go ahead and had three bionic legs attached.

Sadly Hermes died just a few months later, but reportedly from an unrelated health condition. Had he been found on the wrong, Noel could have faced a suspension or even been struck off.

While speaking on Desert Island Discs, Noel says this ordeal led to a deep depression. And he even had suicidal thoughts. Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 show, Noel said: “I was suicidal. That’s the nuts and bolts of it.”

However, he wrote of how a fall down the stairs – which left him with a broken neck – ultimately helped him pull out of his depressive state.

He continued: “I wondered if some giant hand of fate had pushed me down the stairs. To force me to deal with the growing horde of emotional demons in my head.

“I was trapped inside my own body for the first time in my life. Unable to move, unable to escape the thoughts that crashed around in my head, which normally would have been sublimated into simply working harder.”

Noel was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing and says he now holds no “acrimony” towards the group of vets that complained.

Noel Fitzpatrick's dog Keira
Noel’s beloved dog Keira, a border Terrier, was the focus of a Supervet episode (Credit: C4)

Was The Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick abused?

Noel Fitzpatrick made a heartbreaking confession about the abuse he suffered during his childhood, during an appearance on BBC Breakfast.

The Channel 4 star was on the show to discuss his new book, Beyond Supervet: How Animals Make Us the Best We Can Be. During his interview on the show, Noel revealed that he experienced sexual abuse when he was a child.

Speaking to Victoria Fritz, he said: “I sustained prolonged sexual abuse as a child. And I had been running from that spectre all my life and I have met a few other people in a similar situation. I know this may be traumatising for some people watching this, but I think it’s critically important.”

Noel then continued, saying: “So having met those people and seeing the consequences of that and having identified within myself a darkness that I have sublimated for 40 years, animals became my best friends because I didn’t trust humans.”

Noel waited until his mother died before revealing in his book Beyond Supervet that between the ages of five and 10 he was sexually abused. The perpetrator was a male farmhand his father employed. Aged eight he summoned the courage to confide in a priest, who told the frightened child he would go to hell for his words.

What happened to Noel’s dog Keira?

Noel was devastated when his pet dog Keira died. She was well known to viewers of The Supervet.

He shared on Twitter: “It is with profound sadness I share the news that Keira, my beloved companion of nearly 14 years has passed away. My heart is truly broken, she was my best friend in the whole wide world.

“My friend Amy and her son Kyle are broken-hearted, too, since they have shared their guardianship with me all this time.”

Keira was hit by a van back in October 2020. Although she survived her traumatic injuries, she eventually took a turn for the worse and died.

At the end of 2022, Noel shared a video on his Twitter where he thanked fans for their support since the loss of his mother and beloved dog Keira.

He said: “2022 has been a very strange year for me with the loss of my Mammy and the passing of Keira. I went to some pretty dark places. I owe huge gratitude to all of the amazing animals who have come into my life and saved me so many times with their infinite love.”

Read more: Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick shares heartfelt tribute after mum’s death

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The Supervet season 19 starts on Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 8pm on Channel 4.

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Helen Fear
TV Editor