Eamonn and Ruth are discussing the fact they are romantic icons to the younger generation. ‘Apparently, we are “relationship goals”,’ declares Ruth.
And the truth is, they really are relationship goals.
Together for over 20 years, they are certainly not saccharine in their affections and give each other constant, light-hearted, very funny grief, but you can absolutely tell there is a deep, deep love and respect.
They are also fabulous company. Eamonn, 58, is full of (100 per cent un-sleazy) cuddles, genuine interest in everyone around him and is one of the most dry-humoured, mickey-taking people we have ever met. And he brings out a funny, feisty side in 58-year-old Ruth you don’t see quite so much when she is flying solo.
The couple, who have a 16-year-old son Jack (Eamonn also has three grown-up kids from his previous marriage), are marking the celebration of 30 years of This Morning .
Ruth is actually the longest-serving host of the show, having been around since the days of John Leslie and Fern Britton, while Eamonn joined her for the first time in 2002, and they’re a huge part of the show’s enduring appeal.
The pair talk rude guests, difficulties with sex talk, and Eamonn’s womanising ways…
Do you separate work and home life?
Eamonn: Ruth has a problem separating the two. At work Ruth cannot accept, can I use the word ‘instruction’?
Ruth: Why would you give me instruction?
E: OK, let’s call it advice. If I say, ‘Why don’t we drop this item?’ she says, ‘Who died and put you in charge?’ So instead of being professional, she makes it personal and that’s what I think is the hardest.
R: Oh, dry your eyes! I don’t talk shop at home. When I’m at home, I’m me and a mother, I’m not a TV presenter. But we’re a great team because we’re so different – he flies by the seat of his pants, comes into the studio with two minutes to spare. He loves it when things go wrong, he loves news breaking. I am more organised, in early, read the briefs, anal about how I work. We’re yin and yang. We rely on each other. And we’re equal at work and home.
Ever have times where you feel like you need time out from each other?
E: Our professional lives pull us apart and we actually miss each other. We like to be together. But she doesn’t allow me to watch TV with her.
R: Because he bores me to death talking about it. He came in the other day and said, ‘I wish you’d come and watch this most fascinating documentary’. I said ‘What about?’ And he said ‘Victorian sewers’.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever read about yourself?
R: Recently, one about Eamonn out womanising with five women at a party.
E: Anthea Turner , Chizzi from Strictly, Linda Lusardi …
R: And they used a picture of me cooking at home next to it. It annoys Eamonn more than me.
E: It used to annoy me. But people now don’t believe it. It hurt us one day badly when our son came out of a shop with a magazine saying ‘Eamonn and Ruth to divorce’. The story was Ruth had defied me and bought Jack a drum kit when I didn’t want him to have one. I took a picture of the drums and said, ‘If this isn’t grounds for divorce I don’t know what is’, on Twitter . I rang up the mag and they said it was just bit of fun. I said, ‘You want to see my son now and you’ll see how much f***ing fun it is.’
Do you get a lot of hassle when you’re out together?
E: We’re always just surprised when people say to us, ‘Thank you for being nice’. We’re like, ‘What is everyone else like?!’ With people who’ve had too much to drink, I draw a line in the sand firmly and politely. But Ruth is always nice. The thing is, she’s just not as famous as me. I think I get much more attention.
R: He hates it because everywhere he goes now people just say, ‘Where’s Ruth?’
E: Infuriates me. I need a sign around my neck saying ‘Ruth is not with me’.
Ruth did Strictly last year, when are you having a go Eamonn?
E: Someone wrote the Beeb should scrap this equal pay system and spend the big bucks on getting a signing like Eamonn Holmes! So I’m giving in to the demands. No. Not for me. There’s been enough disgrace imposed on our family. We don’t want to be a bigger laughing stock than we already are after what Ruth did last year.
R: Week eight, Eamonn. Week eight. He’d rather stick pins in his eyes. And I’ve banned him from Big Brother. He is not going to be filmed in his pants, snoring .
What can you remember about your first This Morning together?
E: It was different than it is today, because there was a humility with Ruth then. It was a one-off at first.
R: I wasn’t sure if it would be good for our relationship.
E: What was there not to be sure about? It was giving employment to your husband. The sexual chemistry was jumping out of the screen and she goes, ‘I’m not sure about this’.
R: But I was always intrigued by Richard and Judy being a couple. I’d watch it and think, ‘Judy is a bit snippy today, I wonder if they’ve had a row.’ People say we bicker, but it’s just we don’t always agree. He can’t hide his face if he’s annoyed with me.
E: People think we’re very unprofessional. The world is so sexist that any time a man asserts himself in any way he’s deemed a misogynist, so Ruth dominates the programme and any time I meekly say, ‘Excuse me’, it’s like, ‘Oh, look at Eamonn Holmes, always interrupting.’
All-time favourite guest?
R: Peter Kay . We’d been doing something about pets and he said he didn’t like dogs because he didn’t like ‘that dog lipstick thing’. I started to giggle because I thought ‘Eamonn won’t know what a dog’s lipstick is’.
E: The tears were running down her face. I took the hump.
And the worst?
R: David Cassidy was very rude. He was a very sick man.
E: He was bankrupt, his house was up for auction and he was being paid a significant sum of money. He was live from Florida and I spoke to him during the break and he was fine. Then, we went on air and I say ‘Hello David how are you today?’ “How am I” How am I? You’re asking me how I am? My house is being sold, I’m great I’m fantastic’. I thought what is this all about? If you were in studio you wouldn’t talk to me like that and I wouldn’t take it from you.
R: I thought ‘Oh dear,’ this is awkward. So I talked about his fans in the UK and how important it must be to have that support, gave him a love bomb.
E: He cut her off and said ‘What a stupid question’. So I said “You used to be the biggest selling recording artist in the world. Now you’re sitting there washed up, you’ve been in court three times, you’re bankrupt, you’ve been through three marriages, your house is being taken off you. I think it’s fair to ask ‘Where did it all go wrong, David?”
Do you get nervous when you have huge stars on the show?
R: I find it fascinating how nervous
You have to do some tough interviews too…
R: The hardest one I remember was a young couple who both had terminal cancer and young children. People say to me ‘How do you not cry?’ I had a lump in my throat, but it’s not my job to cry, my job is to help them tell their story. We just didn’t know how to end the interview. It was heartbreaking.
How do you cope with the more controversial topics?
E: It’ll come up saying ‘Today we are talking about anal sex’. And I’ll say ‘Well, today we are talking about hanky panky’.
R: You had to say ‘masturbation’ out loud the other day didn’t you? I thought ‘This is going to be amazing’. He even says ‘brassiere’. What century are you from?
E: My mother watches and rings me and says ‘Son, that programme is disgusting’. I led a very sheltered Catholic life. People think Ruth is demure and ladylike. But she’s had a rough army upbringing. She likes bawdiness. When I met her I thought she was like Grace Kelly or Doris Day but you’re not any of those people.
What’s been your funniest on-screen blooper?
R: Accidentally swearing. I wasn’t on screen but I had ten seconds to get from one side of the studio to the other, tripped over a cable, stubbed my toe, said the F word, and my microphone was up. We were interviewing the Military Wives Choir and in my ear the producer said “Ruth I need you to apologise for the swearing” and I was thinking “Who swore?’” and 30 seconds to end of show,she was practically screaming at me. And I said “Bye” and I’m looking at everyone saying ‘Who swore? Oh my God, it was me!”
E: The funny thing is that my wife doesn’t say sorry. Particularly to me. And the next day she had to start the programme saying sorry, This was the funniest day of my life. She sat there and the words were like vomit in her throat. You can’t say it can you darling?
R: I thought ‘this is ridiculous because if people haven’t seen it they’re now going to go looking for it. I said ‘Yesterday I said I rude word and it wasn’t my intention to upset anybody’. I felt like I was five years old outside the headmaster’s office.
This Morning will celebrate turning 30 from tomorrow, 10.30am on ITV and the documentary, This Morning: 30 Unforgettable Years will air Tuesday, 7.30pm, ITV
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