Belfast Telegraph

Eamonn Holmes hits back at critics who say he's back at work 'too soon' after death of sister-in-law

Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes (PA)
Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes (PA)
Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

TV presenter Eamonn Holmes has addressed claims he has returned to work too soon after the death of his sister-in-law.

Eamonn fought back tears as he introduced This Morning on Friday without his wife, Ruth Langsford, by his side, following the announcement of her sister's death yesterday.

The phone-in segment of Friday's show featured councillor and grief expert Victoria Milligan, who spoke about coping with bereavement.

Speaking on the subject, 59-year-old Eamonn said his "early" return to work was his way of dealing with his grief.

"As an Irishman living in England, the whole culture is different. In Ireland, death is over and done with in three days. You die, your body is exposed and then there's the funeral, more or less, and people are much more open about death," said Eamonn.

"I'm not saying this is right or wrong, I'm just saying that I'm so aware that in much of England it is so different. I mean, Ruth's sister will not be buried for two weeks or so, and she's already dead.

"We've got a lot of people questioning, saying, 'Why is Eamonn in here today?' Well, we've had a week to process this. I've had a week to be with my wife and comfort her.

"I need to get back to work. That's what I want to do, as much for Ruth as it is for me, but people have this opinion on how you deal with it."

He added: "I'm just saying that in Ireland it is very different and much more open."

Introducing the show, Eamonn fought back tears as he read Ruth's social media post announcing her sister's death.

Ruth, who co-hosts the ITV morning programme on Fridays alongside Eamonn, was replaced Rylan Clark-Neal.

After the show, Eamonn took to social media to thank Rylan for stepping in.

"What is it they say?" tweeted the Belfast-born star. "A friend in need is a friend indeed. From Ruth and me, for on and off screen, thank you Rylan."

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