Life

Eamonn Holmes says wife Ruth 'trying to fatten me up so nobody else wants me'

Belfast born television presenter Eamonn Holmes speaks to Luke Rix-Standing about hearing loss, hip replacements and why he thinks his marriage has stood the test of time

Eamonn Holmes at this year's Television and Radio Industries Club Awards, when he received the News Presenter gong

FROM pulling pints at a pub in Belfast to presenting the morning news to seven million people, Eamonn Holmes's rise was meteoric.

The 58-year old presenter is now certified television royalty after stints presenting GMTV, Sky News Sunrise, and most recently Good Morning Britain. Despite cutting back on the early mornings, he still boasts regular slots on ITV's Good Morning and talkRADIO, but after undergoing a double hip replacement in 2016, he has now been fitted with a hearing aid.

Here, Holmes discusses dealing with hearing loss, recovering from surgery, and what it's like to be on telly with his wife.

You've spoken about struggling with hearing loss recently – have you been fitted with a hearing aid?

"Yes, I have. When I got tested [for my hearing], I was given a button to press every time I heard a noise. I thought I was doing really well, but when I came out, the audiologist said, 'Mr. Holmes, your results are in line with hearing loss for a man of your age – 30 per cent'.

"At first, you go, 'Oh my God,' but then you realise the signs were there in so many ways – too many [times saying] 'Pardon?' and, 'Sorry, could you say that again?"

Eamonn Holmes with wife Ruth Langsford

What do you think has brought the hearing loss on?

"I've been doing live television for five days a week for 38 years, with earpieces in my ear, so that may have contributed. But I'm also 58 and that just happens when you get older.

"The hearing aid has been wonderful in social situations. At bars, at restaurants, at parties, and watching television particularly. American dramas are very difficult to follow, because the actors tend to mumble."

How did you feel when you were told you would need a hearing aid?

"You think, 'Oh God, not another problem,' but then you realise it's quite normal. Martin Kemp and Jo Whiley both wear one – if it's good enough for Martin Kemp, then it's good enough for me."

You've also suffered from chronic pain and had a double hip replacement. Do they still trouble you?

"The double hip replacement has taken away the shooting pain, but I still have a bit of inflammation. My big regret is that I didn't get it done earlier, and with the hearing aid business I've thought, 'Why suffer in silence?'

"Your hearing tails off from your mid-30s, so if you're a man in your 50s, why go around in denial pretending you're OK, when something can be done to fix it?"

Eamonn Holmes – the hip replacement has given me a certain amount of mobility

How has the hip replacement affected your health and fitness?

"I don't want to wear them out! Having been through [the operation] once, I wouldn't want to do it again. I was talking to Gordon Strachan [former manager of Scotland's national football team] last week and he said he was back playing football after his operation – I wouldn't have the confidence to do that, to twist and turn and do those sorts of things. But I cycle and I play golf, so I do my bit. The hip replacement has given me a certain amount of mobility."

What about your diet – do you try to eat healthily?

"I'm very lucky, I live with Ruth [Langsford], who is the most amazing healthy cook. The trouble though, is that she's a feeder – she's trying to fatten me up so nobody else wants me.

"I do think when you eat clean you feel a lot better. I used to think a microwave meal was healthy, or a calorie counted meal from the supermarket, but it's all lies. The more stuff you make from scratch, the better it will be."

You've been with Ruth for more than 20 years now, what do you think has made your relationship last?

"You have to be interested in each other, and have the lines of communication open – even if you don't want to hear what is being said. In our particular case, laughter plays a great part. However heated things become, we can usually just laugh our way out of it."

Do you ever find it difficult working together?

"Yes, I do. Just because you're married doesn't mean to say you're suited in every way, and professionally we have very different ways of looking at our jobs. We were 'Eamonn' and we were 'Ruth' before we were 'Eamonn and Ruth', and I quite like being Eamonn – I've been on telly since I was 19 and you get used to doing things your way.

"But the public have a hunger to see us together. We've just spent two days together doing Birmingham Live [for the Royal Wedding] and we're constantly surprised by how fascinated people are by us as a couple. It's a big responsibility."

When do you think you are at your happiest?

"I'm at my happiest when Manchester United are winning, I'm with my family and everyone is together. I don't just mean my children – who are top of the list – I mean my dog, my brothers, my mother. I would just have laughter and friendliness all around, and 'banter' as we call it in Ireland."

:: Eamonn Holmes is supporting Specsavers Audiologists Listen Up! campaign to encourage regular hearing checks. For details or to book a free hearing test, visit specsavers.co.uk/hearing

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