Belfast Telegraph

He has a passion for John Wayne movies

Eamonn remains a home boy at heart

By Tanya Acheson

ULSTER'S Eamonn Holmes may be a million pound man _ but at heart, he's

ULSTER'S Eamonn Holmes may be a million pound man _ but at heart, he's still a home boy.

For despite the daily dazzle of London's bright lights and the comfortable bank balance, Eamonn yearns for the province he leaves behind every Sunday evening.

In fact, friends maintain that if the Belfast- born former UTV presenter had his way, he would be based in Northern Ireland full- time.

"It breaks his heart saying goodbye to the province because the place, the people and his family mean the world to him," said a former colleague.

Week days are spent at his west London apartment, which is within easy commuting distance of the GMTV studios _ the 3.45am start dictates that.

However, each weekend Eamonn, 36, returns to the comfort of the luxurious home on the outskirts of Belfast he shares with wife Gabrielle and their three children.

His favourite passion is watching his collection of around 120 John Wayne films. Football is another hobby which Eamonn unashamedly confesses to.

He is an avid follower _ as viewers will know _ of Manchester United.

Just an old-fashioned boy at heart, the family's two-storey home is traditionally decorated. A magnificent mahogany staircase that truly looks to the manor born leads from the hallway.

A silver Mercedes sits outside the front door, ready to take Declan, 7, Rebecca, 5, and Niall, 3, to McDonald's for a treat.

The closely-knit family are known to have turned down several lucrative Hello interviews, which would have meant pictures of their house and its rooms being displayed across the world.

The last offer _ a five figure sum _ was offered to the couple again on Wednesday night.

But despite all the glamour of his telly career and the excitement of the last year, the highpoint happened rather closer to home.

Presenting prizes to students at his old school, Eamonn simply said: "This is the highlight of my year."

Eamonn's idyllic life in Northern Ireland is a world away from the fast-track of London's media world, where a punishing routine also includes appearing on the rival BBC programme "How Do They Do That?"One source said: "When I asked him how he could keep up such a hectic schedule, he just admitted he had a lot of spare time in the afternoons.

"Rather than spend it moping around a lonely flat thinking of his family, he decided he might as well go to work."

His curriculum vitae reads like a journalist's dream. After completing a journalism course at Belfast Tech, he worked on a business magazine called The Ulster Building Report. From there, it was on to a spell at UTV's Farming Ulster, before heading for the big time.

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