Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes: The secrets behind our special bond
They're known for their bickering banter when they co-present on This Morning. Gabrielle Fagan finds out how they avoid rows and keep romance alive
Ruth Langsford is known for being feisty and outspoken. Characteristically, she doesn't mince her words about her relationship with husband Eamonn Holmes when she teasingly says: "Oh, he's all mouth and trousers, but really I run the show!"
It's clearly a jokey aside because the pair, who've become one of Britain's most recognisable couples both off-screen and on, hosting breakfast show This Morning every Friday, are two halves of a perfectly-balanced team.
"Living and working together means we know each inside out. Eamonn knows me better than anybody has ever known me in my whole life. He could tell you what I'm thinking about and 99% of the time he'd be right ," says the glamorous blonde.
They've been a couple for 20 years, married for five, and have a 13-year-old son, Jack.
"We share similar backgrounds in that both our parents had enduring marriages, and his mum and mine are strong women who were with men who thought they ruled the roost, but really they didn't!" she says.
"We actually have a perfect balance between us. He has his strengths and I have mine, and we absolutely share the same family values and goals."
Their relationship has proved to be television gold. They're famous for their entertaining squabbles and comic banter during the breakfast show, and stand out as celebrities who are refreshingly open and honest about their lives together.
"I do get cross with Eamonn sometimes, of course, but it's almost impossible to stay angry with him, because he makes me laugh so much," Ruth says.
"I think, along with respect for one another, that's one of the secrets to a good relationship."
She has admitted to one topic which she wouldn't regard in any way as humorous - adultery.
Earlier this year on ITV's chat show Loose Women, which she anchors, she vowed that if Holmes ever strayed, it would split them up.
"Don't get me wrong, I trust him completely, but even he says that if anything like that ever happened, it would be over," says the 55-year-old.
"I'm quite a jealous person, it's one of the biggest traits I wish I didn't have, and although I'd like to think I could forgive a misdemeanour, especially as we have a child, I couldn't. In my book, once the trust has gone, the trust has gone."
While she's never faced that situation, she admits she often feels guilt about prioritising family demands.
Langsford, who's launched a Warming Moments campaign with the Royal Voluntary Service and Heinz Soup to encourage people to visit elderly neighbours this winter, says: "I feel huge guilt about not seeing my mother, who's 83, as much as I'd like. Like many women of my age, I'm juggling work, a dependent child and an older parent who needs a bit of help. You can feel torn because of the conflicting demands.
"I lost my father, who had Alzheimer's, four years ago, which was the most hideously painful experience. You feel you've lost the person for many years, despite the fact they're still there physically, and it makes my mum very precious to me. Although I see her regularly, I still sometimes feel it's not often enough."
The couple have a crowded work schedule as Holmes (55) is also a presenter on Sky News and currently the couple are appearing in the Channel Five series, Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Lives, which delves into the lives of the super-rich.
"It's hard because we're freelances and, while we have a lot of nice work now, it can always end, so you don't want to say no. But I aim to ring fence family time. I try to make a certain amount of home time sacrosanct and Eamonn appreciates that.'"
Further demonstrating the ying and yang of their relationship, she says it's Holmes who makes time for them to be together.
"He's much more romantic than me and insistent on us regularly going out so we can just be a couple. I'm a home bird who loves nothing better than getting in my trackie bottoms, cooking and chilling, but he'll drag me out to the cinema, dinner or a fun event. It's lovely when he does."
Although motherhood came late - Langsford had their son when she was 42 - it has, she says, fulfilled her.
"I wish I had started younger and had maybe one or two more children, but it isn't a regret. I'm so lucky to have Jack and love spending time with him, even though now he's a teenager, he's all about being cool and not so fussed about spending time with me!"
She's also stepmother to Eamonn's three children from his first marriage.
"I love my stepchildren, but I've never tried to be their mother, I've just tried to be their friend. I genuinely feel very fortunate at the way everything has worked out."
Heinz Soup partners with Ruth and the Royal Voluntary Service for a Warming Moments campaign calling for more people to visit an older neighbour this winter. Visit heinz.co.uk