Melanie Interviews: Ruth Langsford
Ruth Langsford presents ITV1’s flagship daytime show, This Morning, every Friday, with her husband Eamonn Holmes.
She has been a host on Loose Women, covered for Lorraine Kelly on GMTV, and often guests on panel and comedy shows, including Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Keith Barry’s Magic Show, Odd One In, magic numbers and many more. Melanie was delighted to meet her recently into discuss the second series of “How the Other Half Live”.
Melanie: So, the second series of ‘How The other half Live” is up and running, congratulations on the recommission.
Ruth Langsford: Thank you. Yes, when you do the first series you always hope it will be well received, but you never know and obviously television nowadays is very ratings based, isn’t it. We were a bit nervous, but it was Channel 5’s highest rated show last year in that slot. Which is really fantastic.
Melanie: I watched the first series, and you two are having so much fun on it. It’s so engaging and I oscillate between being kind of grossed out by how much people spend on things and then being a little bit jealous as well.
Ruth Langsford: I think it’s got a nice balance, I hope that’s what we bring to it. I don’t make judgement on any of these people, because you will do that at home yourself. I think there will be some things that I think, well that’s the most hideous thing I’ve seen in my life and I wouldn’t pay you tuppence for it, other things I think are amazing and beautiful. It’s not up to me to judge these people, particularly as they’ve given us access into their lives and their homes.
Melanie: When I watch it, I think of the old saying ‘money can’t buy you happiness.’ I’m sorry, but everybody that you interview seems very…
Ruth Langsford: Really happy.
Melanie: Exactly (laughs) they look really thrilled to bits with their lovely lives.
Ruth Langsford: I think money can bring you happiness.
What it can’t bring you is your health, however corny that sounds . Eamonn and I both say, you’re nothing if you don’t have your health, and love is important because I do think we’ve met people, in fact on this show you’ll see in a later episode, we meet a billionaire who can’t find love and we send him to a very exclusive dating agency.
Melanie: How old is he, can’t you throw him my way?
Ruth Langsford: Don’t think he’s your type Mel.
Melanie: No, I never go for rich ones.
Ruth Langsford: (laughs) That’s where you’ve been going wrong.
Melanie: I know, tell me about it! (laughs) The Indian New Yorkers in the first episode of the second series are lovely. A solid family, they’ve got the son who’s obviously done all sorts of naughty things then realised where he’s happiest. It’s just fascinating.
Ruth Langsford: Yes, you mean the The Chatwells. You know, you have to be tough in business, so I’m sure he’s no cushion. I don’t know how they’ve been in business, how they’ve treated their staff, but the thing I find fascinating is a lot of the billionaires and millionaires, is that they are the self-made people. People that literally had nothing. Mr Chatwal came from India with like hundred quid, and he’s now one of the top hoteliers and businesspeople in New York, he’s worth a fortune.
Melanie: It’s so inspirational isn’t it.
Ruth Langsford: Yes, and we’ve got lots dotted through the series. I think we can all learn something from these people, whether it’s about their drive or how they view money. The thing I come away with is that you’re rarely going to be very rich working for someone else, you’ve got to do it yourself. They work so hard, they never stop. So where we all have this dream that we will win the lottery, oh my god I’d retire and I’d have a yacht and I’d never work again. They’ve all could have 10 yachts, but they don’t. They work hard.
I realise it becomes not about the money, because the money eventually becomes like Monopoly money, when you can buy anything. It’s the challenge of can I pull off this deal, can I have the highest tower block, can I have the biggest hotel, can I beat him and get this gig? It is the thrill of the chase.
You have to be a certain kind of person and there, and something like only point one percent of the population are billionaires, so I know I will never be that. I don’t have a business brain. I don’t have the nous for it. I don’t have the focus and I like to have too much fun, so I want to go home and forget about work. They never forget, they’re never off-duty really.
Melanie: With this series, you’ve been able to experience some fun things including a private jet. How was it?
Ruth Langsford: Amazing.
Melanie: It’s a fantasy of mine, it’s on my bucket list. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but one day…
Ruth Langsford: Oh, Mel. Well, if I get you the chance to get you on.
It never was on my bucket list, I never really thought about it actually, and I don’t like flying.
Melanie Sykes: Oh right okay, so I love flying. Love helicopters, the lot.
Ruth Langsford: Yeah, I’ve never liked flying. We got the chance to go, but we only did one way. If a very rich person’s flown to Spain, for example, but they’re not coming back straight away they, they call it an empty leg. So you can get it half price, or something, so the plane’s not empty coming back.
One of the things I don’t like about flying is taking off, all that thundering down the runway and that grr and going up through the clouds it’s all bumpy. You don’t have any of that with a jet. It literally just goes up. It was like a hot knife through butter, and you don’t feel a thing. I suddenly thought oh my god we’re up and we’re above the clouds.
All that miles and miles that you walk in an airport, and queueing, and taking your shoes off and belts off. You do have to be security checked, but it’s so out of this world. You go in and they go, hello can we take your passports, please sit down, have a glass of champagne. Your case is whisked away and then you step on.
The food was beautiful. We had a male and a female host, who brought food and champagne, and the captain came round. It was the smoothest flight I’ve ever had in my life. When we came into land, I think we came back to Luton, and as we were taxiing towards our slot, I see our car coming across the tarmac right up to the plane. It was parked up at the steps. By the time I’d walked down the steps, our suitcases were in the back of the car and we were gone.
Yeah, what these things buy them is time, because they are actually still working and dealing with business meetings and being high flyers. Being a high flyer means I need to get places quickly, I can’t be sat in traffic or stuck on the tube. To us it seems like a luxury, but it’s not a luxury to them.
Also, I would say the majority of billionaires we meet, give back in some way or another. Whether it’s through charity or having a workforce, you know.
Melanie: What’s it like working with Eamonn on this show?
Ruth Langsford: Oh, it’s great. We’re quite similar in the way we think. I know what he’s thinking and he knows what I’m thinking. Viewers now know us well enough, that when somebody shows us a painting, you can tell by our faces if we think that’s ridiculous, but we don’t say it. We don’t need to say it.
I think there’s a lot of humour mine and Eamonn’s lives. You know us, we do laugh a lot.
Melanie: I know, you’re such an inspirational couple, you really are.
Ruth Langsford: Ah, thank you.
Melanie: I watched you the other night, and I just thought must be great to be with a man you can work with. That’s another level of relationship
Ruth Langsford: But it’s not easy, we do fight, because we both think we’re quite good.
Melanie: (laughs) You’re both excellent
Ruth Langsford: Sometimes I’ll say, oh I know what we should do and he says no, I think we should start with this and I go well I don’t think that. So, you know, it’s easier working on your own always. Even if you’re not married, any partnership you have, you have to take the other person into consideration. You might be having a chat, and you think oh I’m really interested in this and you’re going one way with an interview, and then Eamonn thinks oh this is boring, and he takes it completely the other way.
Melanie: Oh, hilarious.
Ruth Langsford: That happens but not that often.
Melanie: Do producers let you just go with it. They probably trust you, right? Who’s going to try and produce something that’s naturally happening.
We are not so full of ourselves that we don’t think a good producer would make us better, but we have been doing it a long time and it’s also our second series. We know what worked last time, but obviously you have a producer there who’s looking at the bigger story, where this is going to fit in whole show. How long they want, the kind of things they want out of it. Though we have those discussions, you know what it’s like. They’ll say look, what we want from this guy is to talk about the fact that he had nothing and now he’s got this, and then within reason, they let us do our thing. I am also genuinely interested in these people, so it’s not difficult. If I wasn’t doing that, the job, but I sat next to them somewhere at a dinner, I would be fascinated by somebody that had nothing and is now a multi-billionaire. Wouldn’t you? I’d want to know how he did it.
Melanie: You are so busy with Loose women, This Morning, and How the other half Live, and your profile is sky high. What are the down sides?
Ruth Langsford: You do get written about in ridiculous ways, but you have to suck it up. I’m not saying you don’t defend yourself if they step over the line, and if it affects my family, I would be sending a lawyer’s letter. Most of it’s nonsense and that’s why you have to be strong in your opinions, your self-belief, your relationship definitely. I mean look at all the stuff that’s been said about Eamonn, and how long we’ve been together, 21 years. Well every week we’re getting divorced, splitting up. I find it quite amusing now.
Melanie: How does Eamonn deal with it?
Ruth Langsford: He doesn’t like it. He doesn’t cope with it in the same way as me. I just go, oh it’s funny, but he doesn’t think so. He accepts it, but he doesn’t like it. I have said these things, but they give the headline that’s nothing to do with the story. My favourite one is, a few weeks ago, there was one of me saying ‘Too fat for Strictly”.
Well, I didn’t say too fat. We were discussing, it was the day that they had announced the official line up, because there’s always rumours, and Eamonn’s name had been in the mix because he’d had his hips done. It was one of those, maybe he’ll do Strictly now nonsense. So our names have been bandied about like they are most years, and it was the day that the official line up was announced and of course we’re not there. We were doing something with Rylan, who of course we adore and we were having a bit of a laugh about it.
Rylam said, so we can finally confirm that Ruth and Eamonn are not doing Strictly and I said, actually I’ve never been asked, I’m gutted. Then Eamonn said, well you’re only allowed one dancer, you can’t have two. You’d need two to lift you up. To which I was laughing, and then Rylan went, oh I can’t believe you said that. I said, no he’s right. I said I’m 11 stone, who’s going to bloody lift me up? I never actually used the words ‘too fat for Strictly’, but they did manage to find a picture of me with a big belly.
In fact, I know, I know exactly when that picture was taken, because it was two days after I came back from my holiday and I did have the holiday wine belly. I had one of those clingy dresses on and I remember saying to David in wardrobe, oh god, I don’t know David, it looks a bit tight. He said, oh you’ll be fine, just suck your stomach in. Well, I obviously forgot at one point, and thats the shot. Do you know what though, you just have to laugh. I do need to frame that one.
Melanie: Whats it like anchoring Loose women, do you have to share your opinion as much?
Ruth langsford: Yeah, I have to give my opinions as well. Sometimes you have less time because you’re trying to get everyone else in, which I like. It actually it doesn’t bother me too much if I haven’t had a comment, because I think you have to give the person who it’s most relevant to the story their voice. Yesterday, we had Lisa Riley on and we were talking about children in America are now getting terrorist drills along with fire drills. If a mad gunman breaks into the school this is what we do kids and these are children in primary, five year olds. Lisa suddenly said, actually I was caught up in the IRA bomb in Manchester many years ago, well we didn’t know that. Suddenly, the whole conversation was about that, you know, that’s her story.
Melanie: Now, talk to me about Rylan. You have got such great chemistry with him on This Morning.
Ruth Langsford: I adore him.
Melanie: What is it about him?
Ruth Langsford: That’s such a shameless expression isn’t it, I adore. I don’t say that about many people, but I absolutely adore him.
I knew nothing about him before This Morning, just saw him on the X Factor, where I thought he was very funny. What I liked about him, is that he didn’t mind that he was the comedy ac. He played to the crowd, and I thought smart. I loved it when he used to answer back to Gary Barlow and he always had a little smart comment because he was funny. I used to think god he’s quick, really quick.
He came off X Factor and went straight into Celebrity Big Brother, which he won. In there, I just thought I really like this guy, I saw the true Rylan. He’s really kind, loves his family, doesn’t like injustice. So saw him in that, and then low and behold he shipped up at This Morning, just doing the odd thing. You know some people, you just like them straight away? So we met and I liked him, and look how successful he is now. I mean he’s like riding, he’s got a chat show, X factor…
Melanie: I mean he’s got a chat show, it’s like the holy grail.
Ruth Langsford: You know, I mean the sky’s his limit, and he is still exactly the same as that young guy that came into our studio. He’s so nice to people and I think you can tell a lot by how people are behind the scenes. When you bring a guest in or a friend’s daughter, and they say oh would you mind taking a picture, he’s done it before even asking.
I think he’s an absolute natural presenter. There’s nothing you can teach him really. Eamonn and I took him under our wing a little bit, when he started, and he’s one of those people that is very loyal, so whenever he does interviews, he says really nice things about us.
Melanie: You’ve done some very funny videos and stuff with him. You just make me like smile when I look at you both on Instagram. It’s brilliant isn’t it, when you can discover a new partner in a way.
Ruth Langsford: You know, it’s a completely different relationship I have with him, to Eamonn, and again we can be so rude to each other because we like each other. So I laugh at his teeth, he’ll laugh at my hair, you know. He’ll go what have you come dressed as today. We just laugh so much.
Melanie: How have you been a working mum? How did that and how does work for you?
Ruth Langsford: I went back to work eight weeks after Jack was born and have had full time nanny pretty much ever since. With the hours and things in freelance TV, you can’t say I’ll drop him at nursery at eight and pick him up at six, it doesn’t work. I didn’t want to do an au pair live-in, which is obviously more economical, because I’m very territorial about my home. I just want to say goodnight, see you tomorrow.
It was our only route really, we have no family nearby. Even if we did, you know, I didn’t have Jack until I was 42, so my mum was in her late 60s, early 70s and then my dad got Alzheimer’s. So even if they had lived next door to us, I couldn’t have asked her to look after a baby, so we had to do it that way. It was fine, you know, you always have mother guilt, I still have mother guilt.
There are quite a few people in show business who won’t admit to having a nanny. For some reason, I don’t know why, they think that it’s something shameful. I think we’re all juggling, aren’t we, men and women actually.
I think we worry about it more than our children, I’ve realised. My advice to younger mothers and mothers-to-be or they’ve just had a baby, I mean I found one of our producers, this was last year, she’d just come back to work after her maternity leave, I found her in the toilets crying and I just said to her, look, I know it’s not much consolation now and you’re really feeling it, but just let me tell you, your baby will not have a clue you’re not there, not a clue.
The baby is having a bottle, nappy and a bottle, nappy and a bottle, so all I’m saying is don’t beat yourself up. It’s only you you’re hurting, and really, he will know that you’re his mum. I used to think, but he’ll think the nanny’s his mum.
So that’s the only advice I would pass on. Actually one of my friends, who had her children very young, said to me when I used to stress about Jack, Ruth, I’m telling you this now, they need you more as they get older. When they’re teenagers and they’re doing exams, they pretend they don’t need you, but they absolutely need you more than ever. I can see that already.
Exam time, girlfriend troubles, you know, whatever. So you go through these peaks and troughs, and I think it’s always nice if you’ve got friends that have got older children, just to find out what they did. The sisterhood, mothers sharing their kind of experiences is so important. Not to lie and tell everyone it’s perfect, because so many people want others to think they have this perfect life. It’s not normal and it is a struggle sometimes, but it’s one that I would never change. At the end of the day, Jack and Eamonn are my priorities. My job is my job, I love it, I love my work, but if I lost it, it doesn’t define me. It’s very nice, but if anything jeopardised my marriage and Jack, I’d be out the door. You wouldn’t see my arse for dust, because it’s just not that important to me.
Catch up with Ruth and Eammon on ‘How the other half live’ on my5.