The presenter has partnered with charity Care UK to launch their new ‘A Helping Hand’ guide, which offers help and advice for those caring for loved ones. Having watched her mum look after her dad for ten years during his battle with dementia, it is a subject close to her heart.
With that in mind, we sat down for a chat with Ruth about some of life’s big questions in the latest instalment of our Wise Words feature.
Here, the presenter opens up about having to cut toxic friends out of her life, reveals the secret of her happy marriage to husband Eamonn Holmes, and tells of how a boogie round her kitchen helps her to switch off.
What do you do to switch off from the world?
Really, I’m quite a home bird. Because I work so much, I’m not at home as much as I would like to be, so when I am, I like to shut the door and potter about. I love cooking, tidying and sorting things, so I really look forward to a day at home when I can put my music on and dance about while clearing out the freezer. I’m not one to sit quietly and read a book.
How do you deal with any negativity that comes your way?
It’s very easy to let negativity overwhelm you, especially these days with social media and you’re in the public eye. But I always say, if you can’t stand the heat, get off social media, because you’re inviting comment. However, we’re all human, and if I’m being honest, the hurtful ones do sting a bit, but you have to fight that with your own positivity. I have times when I fall out of love with social media, and there’s weekends when I’m not in the mood to post anything. My husband is also a very positive man, and whenever there is anything difficult in our lives, he always finds the positive, so he’s a great support for me if I’m having those feelings.
When and where are you at your happiest?
Again, at home. I sound really boring, but I do love it, with my family, with my dog, having friends round. Eamonn and I aren’t really very showbizzy, and while I love my work and being invited to glamourous things, it doesn’t define me. Or when I’m with my really close girl friends, just laughing and laughing until we cry, drinking lots of prosecco. They are very, very important to me and we’ve shared a lot together over the years. If you said to me you can go to this event where there’s lots of celebrities or you can get together with your girl friends, I know I would choose them nine times out of 10.
What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My dad always used to end phone calls with ‘KBO, love’, which is an old army expression that means ‘keep bollocking on’. It always makes me laugh.
What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
Not everybody is as happy for your success as you think they might be. That has been a bit of a bitter pill. I’ve had people around me and sometimes they’ve been a bit jealous, and I’ve lost them along the way. You have to remember it’s not you, it’s them. But that took me a long time to realise that. You can have toxic friendships, and if you’ve been friends for a long time, it’s hard to reevaluate that.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
You’ll never look this good again, so enjoy it! You’re so full of insecurities at that age, and now you look back at pictures of yourself and think, ‘God, I look gorgeous’. You have to enjoy each stage of your life because you can’t revisit it.
What three things are at the top of your to-do list?
I’d like to go to Sydney and see the fireworks on New Year’s Eve because it always looks so fantastic. I would like to speak a foreign language pretty much fluently, but that will never happen. Maybe one day when I retire, I will go and do a course. And I would also like to do the Route 66 drive in America with Eamonn. He’s done it and I’m a bit jealous. Again, maybe we’ll do that when we retire, but that hopefully won’t be any time soon. I can just see myself in an open top car, wind in my hair, looking like a beach babe.
What do you think happens when we die?
I think your soul leaves your body and we crumble into compost. I think it’s lovely people believe in the afterlife, but I have got no evidence to think that’s true. I like the spiritualist and Buddhist view that your soul comes back as something else, because it’s hard to believe it may be the end of you. I don’t want to be buried - I want to have my ashes scattered somewhere fabulous.
When have you felt in the presence of something larger than ourselves?
Nature can completely overwhelm me. I can be standing on a mountain, or in a valley looking up looking at the expanse, and something like that is like a religious feeling for me. I feel it very spiritually that something has created this place.
What keeps you grounded?
My family and my friends. I’ve got friends I’ve had since my school days and we all do different jobs, so they wouldn’t allow me to get ideas above my station. I come from a very stable, loving, working class family, as does Eamonn, so we have that connection in our values about life. I don’t think what I do is any more special that what you do, or somebody who is working in a supermarket. We’re all working to pay the mortgage - I’m not working for the love of it, even though I do love my job.
What do you bring to your relationships?
Eamonn and I have a lot of fun together and that’s really important. I’m a very independent woman and I was when I met him, and I don’t need a man in my life for security or financially. But that’s not what marriage is about. It’s about the coming together of two minds, two hearts and how you support each other. Me and Eamonn laugh a lot, and we do bicker, but we’ve never denied that, and I think that’s why we resonate with so many people. He irritates me and I irritate him and it shows sometimes, but we never have full-blown rows. People also see a love of love between us, because you can’t banter like that when there’s not a lot of affection. Some of the things he says about me make me roar with laughter, and I’m always surprised when people say they think he’s horrible to me. I like it and it’s very Irish to be like that, which I find very attractive and very funny.
What was the most recent act of kindness you received?
A man gave a seat to me on the tube when I was taking my son to the wrestling. I wasn’t sure whether to be offended as he thought I was old, but he was just being gentlemanly because I looked hot with my leather jacket on. People don’t do that very often, so that was very kind.
Care UK has partnered with Ruth Langsford to launch the A Helping Hand guide, which can be downloaded from careuk.com/helpinghand, and free copies of the guide can also be picked up from any Care UK care home.