Eamonn Holmes reveals he had to seduce wife for latest TV project
Belfast's Eamonn Holmes and wife Ruth Langsford swapped the This Morning sofa for private jets for a new TV show
Eamonn Holmes reveals he had to "seduce" his wife, Ruth Langsford, to take part in their latest TV project, despite it being an opportunity to experience life as a member of the world's uber-rich.
When the people behind the programme, now titled Eamonn And Ruth: A Taste Of The Highlife, first pitched the idea to the TV couple, Holmes had no qualms about signing-up, "because you only live once."
"The things that we have packed into a few weeks have just been incredible," says the 55-year-old, who anchors the breakfast news on Sky. "I've seen sights around Russia that I never thought I would see. Honest to God, we have been in so many private planes and helicopters."
Eamonn, who grew up in north Belfast, adds that Langsford needed "huge convincing" however, - which she doesn't deny.
"Not because of the content, just because of the logistics. That's the thing when you're a couple and you're both doing this job, it's hard to juggle family life and work," explains the 55-year-old Loose Women presenter, who also has a 13-year-old son, Jack, with Holmes.
"Of course, your natural reaction as a professional broadcaster is to go, 'Yes, wow, that sounds amazing', but then we have to work out the schedules and how that's going to work with the logistics."
The six-part documentary series is pure escapism, opening up a world of multi-million-pound mansions, rare super cars, private jets and the sort of establishments that charge thousands for a table.
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"I have to say, the private jet thing has been an absolute revelation and a joy," says Langsford, laughing.
"I will probably never have that experience ever again, because it is so expensive, but I did say if I was a multi, multi-millionaire that would be my thing, because once you've travelled like that, believe me, you never want to go to Gatwick or Heathrow ever again!
"There's none of that rumbling down the runway. It was literally up, like a hot knife through butter."
Holmes was equally impressed: "There are no queues, nobody in front of you. So if you had money, serious money, basically you're talking about £10,000 a journey, why would you queue up at an airport?"
Sounds very swanky indeed but, as the age-old question goes: Can money buy you happiness?
Holmes isn't convinced it can, but believes it does "buy you time in your life and it takes away a lot of hassle".
"You can pack a lot more things in stress-free," he adds.
The broadcaster, who also co-presents This Morning with Langsford on Fridays, enjoys certain extravagances but doesn't consider himself to be "a pretentious man".
"I can't get this business if someone says, 'This glass of wine is £3,000'. I don't get it. Michelin-starred food, I genuinely don't get it. I think, 'Very nice but whatever'. It doesn't affect me."
He owns a watch "that I think is expensive, it's probably about £1,200 or something, but this is plastic compared to some".
On the show, he says "people were wearing watches costing £1m".
"They will say, 'This is the finest craftsmanship', and I certainly came away with an appreciation that it was a very fine thing, but if I had £1m, would I spend it on a watch? I wouldn't."
Langsford's take is that everyone's fantasies are "relative, of course".
"Where I might think vintage cars are ridiculously extravagant, Eamonn would go, 'I'd buy a vintage Bentley if I had money'," she reasons. "I think we all have extravagances in our lives that family and friends think are ridiculous, mine is shoes. So I quite enjoyed finding out what people spend their money on and why."
Holmes confesses they weren't expecting to meet such "nice people" along the way.
"We genuinely thought we were embarking on a mission to meet a series of kn**s!" he says, laughing. "We just thought they'd be flash, bling, stupid, undeserving, whatever, and time after time after time, people won us over with their charm, respect and dedication.
"We often think money comes easy to people, but each one of these hadn't lost their work instinct. The money wasn't that important to them, but the addiction to making that money you could see with every one of them."
Langsford, who was born in Singapore, adds: "A few of them had lost money and then started again and were just like, 'Oh well, that happened'. I think some people just have that capacity and that intelligence and drive to make it."
Describing herself as a panic buyer, she believes a person's background has a profound effect on their spending habits.
"Even if you've done well, you've made some money and you can buy more than you ever thought you would, those words from your parents really stick in your head," she says.
While some are very cautious with their money, Holmes believes in enjoying the fruits of your labour.
"But I do have a big conscience about it. I'm from a working class family, as is Ruth, and you can't get away with too much bling.
"As your earnings go up, you run out of friends, because you run out of people to share it with," he notes, admitting there was a time when he would pay on other people's behalf. Then I realised people really didn't admire you for that," he says, "they actually resent you a bit for it."
- Eamonn And Ruth: A Taste Of The Highlife, begins on Channel 5 next Tuesday, 9pm