Emma Noble almost died on the operating table after undergoing heart surgery.

The 46-year-old model and former TV presenter - famous for her marriage to ex British Prime Minister Sir John Major's son James - collapsed in January and had to be rushed to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire for an emergency operation and was in surgery for four hours as doctors battled to save her life.

Emma - who previously worked alongside the late Sir Bruce Forsyth on TV game show 'The Price Is Right' - was diagnosed on the operating table with congenital heart disease and admits she's lucky to still be alive.

Speaking at the Asian Awards in London, she told the Daily Mail newspaper: ''Astonishingly they found I had congenital heart disease and that it had always been there. It was quite a shock. I had absolutely no idea.

''This is a big thing for me, I haven't been out for months. I nearly died; it's been very frightening.''

Emma married James Major in 1999 in a lavish wedding at the Palace of Westminster and the nuptials were featured in a glossy shoot in HELLO! magazine.

They divorced in 2003 and have a 17-year-old son Harry together, who suffers from autism.

Coincidentally James also suffers from a congenital heart condition and underwent surgery to have a pacemaker fitted in 1999 when he was just 24.

Emma is now married to businessman Conrad Baker, with whom she has another son.

Speaking about the effect the diagnosis has had on her life, she said: ''I've always liked being very social but this sort of thing focuses you on what's important in life. Conrad has been the best husband ever and looked after me through thick and thin. No man has ever done that before.''