She’s one of the smiliest, most upbeat people on TV, but Ruth Langsford has admitted that behind closed doors, she suffers low moments after her sister Julia, 62, took her own life in June last year.
Opening up on how she’s been coping since Julia’s sudden death, the 60-year-old This Morning presenter confessed she often breaks down in the shower, but has learnt to embrace her emotions.
‘I’ve learned now that I can have those moments,’ she said. ‘Sometimes, I have a good old cry in the shower and feel better for it. I think it’s good to have a loud, snotty cry.’
‘I almost quit’
Ruth took a break from her regular presenting duties with her husband, Eamonn Holmes, on This Morning immediately after Julia’s death. Earlier this year she revealed how she almost quit her presenting career altogether, as it didn’t seem right to try and pretend she was OK on screen.
And it didn’t help that two months after the tragic event, when she’d gone back to work, she left the studio in tears, unable to continue with a phone-in on anxiety and depression.
She said, ‘Following my sister Julia’s death last June, I didn’t feel I could ever go back to work again. It seemed wrong to be cheery on screen, when inside my heart was breaking.
‘I just thought that being “happy” would be a lie – and disrespectful to my only sibling, my only sister, my big sis, who looked after me at school and in early life, and whose passing was even more painful, if that was possible, than that of my father, Dennis, eight years ago. She was quite simply the kindest, most helpful, gentle soul you could ever meet.’
It was Eamonn, 60, who encouraged her to go back to work in memory of Julia, after she admitted she had ‘no motivation or desire’ to be in the public eye.
After a month of ‘crying, screaming and sobbing’, Ruth said Eamonn told her she had ‘too much to live for’.
Ruth explained, ‘Eamonn pointed out that he was, in effect, losing not one, but two of the most precious people in his life – Julia and me. He showed me how I had so much to live for in Julia’s memory – and beyond.
‘He pleaded with me not to let it win by ruining everything I had achieved, and [everything] I still had to celebrate.’
Earlier this year, during a phone-in
on suicide on This Morning, Ruth explained how she’s been left with lots of ‘unanswered questions’ due to the nature of Julia’s death.
She confessed, ‘This happened in my family. I remember my shock at that. It’s the questions it leaves the families.’
She continued with a list of questions family members may
have, saying, ‘I should have gone round. I should have phoned. I was going to go round.’
Then she added, ‘You are left with the “what ifs”.’
Ruth admitted that she’ll never stop wondering why Julia’s sudden death happened.
She said, ‘It still feels like yesterday that I lost my sister. When you lose somebody, it’s just horrible. But when someone takes their own life, it leaves you with so many questions that can’t be answered.’
Living for Julia
Despite her unanswered questions, Ruth is trying to continue with her life as much as she possibly can – as it’s what her sister would’ve wanted.
‘You can’t spend your whole life crying,’ she said. ‘I’ve done a lot of crying over my sister.
‘It’s not even a sense of saying, “Pull yourself together and get back to work,” it’s just that you have to get on with your life and you can’t get on with it if you’re crying all day.
‘It was tragic and difficult for all of us, but my sister wanted me to live a happy life. I’m lucky that I have a loving husband and a good family, and all I can do is live a happy life in her memory.’
Well said, Ruth.