This Morning and Loose Woman presenter Ruth Langsford has exclusively opened up to OK! magazine about the touching way her husband and co-host Eamonn Holmes supported her in the early hours of the night, following her sister Julia Johnson's sudden death – despite him being hundreds of miles away at the time.
Ruth told OK! how she received the shock news last June at 1am while she was at home in Surrey with the couple's teenage son Jack. She immediately phoned Eamonn, her husband of nearly ten years who was visiting his family in his native Northern Ireland and he sprung to action without hesitation.
“On the night it happened, Eamonn was in Belfast. It was 1am and I was here in tears. It was awful,” she recalled.
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Describing Eamonn as her “protector” Ruth went on to say, “He hated the fact he was away from me but he knew what I needed. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes.”
What Ruth needed was the support and comfort from her closest friends and confidantes.
“Without me even knowing,” continued Ruth, “Eamonn phoned my three best girlfriends and they were all here within two hours.”
But Eamonn, who turned 60 this month, also knew that while he was hastily making arrangements to return to the UK, Ruth needed someone to speak to during those two hours while she waited for her friends to turn up.
Taking up the story, Eamonn told OK!, “I phoned Rylan Clark-Neal and said, 'Ruth’s on her own with our son,' and Rylan was straight on the phone to her and kept her talking until her girlfriends arrived.”
The pair have become close friends through Rylan's regular stints on This Morning.
Ruth sister Julia tragically took her own life aged 62 after a long battle with depression.
“The grief comes in waves,” Ruth, 59, explained to OK! during our interview. “There are times when I allow myself to cry and then there are times when I go, 'Right, I’m not crying now because I’ve got to go to work', or I’m driving the car and it would be dangerous. My lovely friend Coleen Nolan told me that she had that approach when her sister Bernie died and she said, 'Just be careful that you’re not bottling it up.' I’m not. I cried with Eamonn just this week.”
Revealing how Eamonn has been “fantastic” during the past “tough” six months, Ruth added, “He knows when to step back, too. A couple of times I’ve snapped at him and said, 'I’m fine!’ and he’s backed off. But he knows when to scoop me up. It’s an unspoken thing.”
Discussing their Christmas plans during an exclusive OK! shoot at their gorgeous home, Ruth, who got together with Eamonn 24 years ago, expressed her mixed feelings about Christmas Day itself.
“It’s going to be a very challenging time for me and my mum, who’ll be with us,” said Ruth of their plans. “I’m sure we’ll cry but we’ll also be happy.”
Read the full interview and see all the photos from Ruth and Eamonn's festive at-home shoot in the brand new Christmas special edition of OK! magazine, on sale Tuesday 17 December.
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