By Dan Strayer

6th January 2020

Gabrielle Holmes: A Short Summary Of Eamonn Holmes’ Ex

Eamonn Holmes started his career in Ulster Television's sports department. It kept him close to then wife Gabrielle Holmes and his three children from that marriage.
SOURCE: File photo

Gabrielle Holmes is the ex-wife of outspoken Northern Irish television host and journalist Eamonn Holmes. Gabrielle shuns the spotlight afforded her ex. She lives quietly with their three children in Belfast whilst Eamonn and presenter wife Ruth Langsford live in Surrey.

What Eamonn has said about his relationship with Gabrielle Holmes…

In addition to carrying on with everyday life outside of the spotlight, little about Gabrielle’s personal life has been revealed by the more public Eamonn. What little he has said relies mostly on his desire to remain close to his now-extended family. Upon the announcement of their 2005 divorce, Eamonn said:

“Gabrielle and I have been apart for almost 10 years. It was hardly a surprise to anyone, least of all us. 

“It may be the end of the marriage but it’s not the end of the relationship. We share three children we both adore.”

To a significant extent, they have remained close. The families have even taken holidays together, as Eamonn maintains a close relationship with daughter Rebecca and sons Declan and Niall.

Declan Holmes wedding

They’re close enough that TV presenter Eamonn frequently shares snapshots of them via social media on his Instagram feed. For instance, Eamonn announced the news of eldest son Declan’s engagement on Instagram. He would keep updating his fans all the way through his son’s wedding day (which ex-wife Gabrielle Holmes also attended).

 

View this post on Instagram

 

The New Mr&Mrs Holmes. Declan and Jenny.

A post shared by Eamonn Holmes (@eamonnholmes) on


One wedding guest marvelled at the star-studded scene at the Castle Leslie Estate. It featured the likes of May McFettridge as well as mum and dad.

“It was a perfect day for Declan and Jenny. The service was staged in beautiful surroundings and everyone looked radiantly happy. The reception was tremendous. 

“All the speeches were spot-on including Eamonn’s obviously. But May McFettridge’s speech was hilarious. He/she was in spectacular form.”

The proud papa had this to say to his followers about the kids who tied the knot:

“It’s a special day. My first born son ‪@decholmes gets married today to ‪@JennyGouk. The clans are gathering and I’m delighted to say there’s a lot of Love and happiness all around us. ‪#IrishWedding.”

So why did things go bad with Gabrielle?

Gabrielle Holmes and then-husband Eamonn Holmes were married in 1976.
SOURCE: rsvp.ie

In short, things drifted apart for Eamonn and Gabrielle in the mid-1990s, leading to a long-term separation in 1995.

They had married shortly after meeting in 1976 and stayed married through four decades of loss, new additions and separation. Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford got together in 1997 but he felt obligated to keep the relationship quiet out of respect to Gabrielle and the family. The desire to remain private is a major reason why we rarely hear much about Gabrielle in the public sphere.

Which brings us back to the fundamental question: what led to the end of the Eamonn/Gabrielle Holmes marriage? In truth, a combination of factors played a part in this.

Time apart

As a journalist, Eamonn admits that he was only around the house so much. Demands at work made full involvement in the home environment difficult at best.

As a result, the availability of true quality time with family was minimal for Eamonn. Today, he strives to rectify that, as we’ve addressed earlier.

Personal loss

Gabrielle Holmes’ father died in 1991. It proved to be a significant moment in Gabrielle and Eamonn’s relationship.

As he revealed in his book This Is MY Life, he sensed an emotional gap widening between the two of them. Preoccupied and increasingly distant as a result of the pain of her loss, Gabrielle struggled to reconnect with Eamonn.

Couple that with his increasing work demands that kept him away from home. Effectively, you get what amounts to something of a whirlwind of two lovers growing apart.

Eamonn’s work schedule during their marriage

Another underestimated factor was where Eamonn worked primarily during their marriage.

Eamonn studied journalism at Dublin College of Business Studies and started his career in print journalism in the late 1970s. But his career would evolve into broadcast journalism throughout the 1980s.

Eamonn then moved into television working primarily in Northern Ireland for Ulster Television, the TV franchise for the region. Eamonn’s first work in television started out as a reporter for a farming program. Later, he moved on to work for Ulster Television’s sports department.

At this time, his best remained in the province primarily. That also included a foray into radio in the late 1980s at Downtown Radio.

Leaving behind the regional job

By the 1990s, Eamonn has taken on more of a UK-wide profile. Coincidentally, those responsibilities kept him away from home more frequently. With a presence in sports and in morning programming, Eamonn was becoming a household name while Gabrielle seemingly oversaw the household.

Some of the programming Eamonn has been involved with over the years has been very memorable. Others? Well, not so much.

  • GMTV.
  • The Phil Taylor vs Raymond van Barneveld Darts Showdown, 1999.
  • Jet Set, a BBC national lottery game show.
  • Sunrise.
  • Songs of Praise.
  • Have I Got News For You (guest presenter).
  • Gift Wrapped (10-part daytime game show).
  • Eamonn & Ruth: How the Other Half Lives (where they got a sneak peek at a $50 million New York City penthouse).
  • Good Morning Britain.
  • This Morning (which he and wife Ruth host mostly on Fridays).

Radio airwaves in Britain

Gabrielle Holmes' ex Eamonn now regularly presents This Morning with wife Ruth Langsford
SOURCE: File photos

Eamonn didn’t give up on radio once he took up with Ruth Langsford during his separation from Gabrielle. A year after their son Jack Alexander was born in 2002, Holmes hosted The Eamonn Holmes Show on Radio 5 Live on Saturday mornings between 9 and 11 am. The show would remain on the air for 6 years, with the finale airing on 30 May 2009. Holmes’ contract with the BBC was not renewed.

In the same year of his divorce from Gabrielle (2005), Holmes hosted his own programme on London radio station Magic 105.4. For a few weeks in 2008, Holmes also guest-hosted Michael Parkinson’s Radio 2 Sunday morning show.

In 2016, Holmes presented his own radio show on Talkradio. The show was Let’s Talk With Eamonn Holmes and was broadcast on Saturdays from 6-8 am and Sundays from 11 am-1 pm. Since January 2018, Holmes has been the presenter for the weekday show on Talkradio.

Winning awards whilst landing in hot water

Gabrielle Holmes isn’t in the limelight, but Eamonn regularly is. He runs the gamut on reasons for being tabloid fodder – both good and bad, as it turns out.

First, the good

He is a six-time TRIC Award winner in the categories of:

  • Satellite/Digital TV Personality (2008-2011).
  • News Presenter/Reporter (2013).
  • News Presenter (2018).

Eamonn holds an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2018, which he collected in June of that year. Holmes would also receive honorary degrees from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Staffordshire.

Additionally, Eamonn was honoured with a Legends of Industry Award in 2013 for Services to Broadcasting and Journalism.

Eamonn Holmes was given an OBE in 2018
SOURCE: File photo

Now for the not-so-good

The downside to Holmes’ work is that has often appeared to be insensitive to both a number of causes and people throughout his career.

Some are harmless, such as when he explained leaving GMTV as it had become too concerned with celebrity news and gossip.

Among those he has ridiculed and earned condemnation for include:

  • LGBT rights as parents.
  • The mentally handicapped.
  • Victim blaming of rape victims.
  • Unfavourable comparisons to surviving Hillsborough disaster families.

One knock against him also came as a result of a thin-skinned persona. Jon Culshaw impersonated Holmes in November 2009 on The Impressions Show, a BBC programme. This culminated shortly after he had been a guest of Holmes on an episode of This Morning to promote the show.

The less than flattering impersonation (Holmes displaying an outlandishly over-the-top appetite) Culshaw was one thing; Holmes’ reaction to it was quite another. Holmes subsequently had his lawyers send a letter of complaint to the BBC. The Corporation apologised and made sure Holmes would not be the subject of any future comedy sketches.

The outcome and the complaint drew widespread criticism. However, Holmes remained firm in expressing his frustrations with the impression.

“People slap my belly all the time and it’s because I’m a man. Everything’s a joke when it comes to overweight men.

“The thing is that they never expect a man to be offended but they know if they said those things to a woman she would probably burst into tears or slap them.

“Well, I am offended too, even if I’ve done my fair share of laughing along with it in the past.”

A more serious insult

Even at Ruth Langsford Age, she and Eamonn will be adding another half hour to their This Morning commitments.
SOURCE: Hello!

A much more upsetting Holmes incident occurred almost two years later. Once again, the incident happened on This Morning

While presenting the show in October 2011, Holmes used a derogatory term for mentally handicapped people toward his guest. The singer Jonathan Wilkes and Holmes had been discussing a news item about the UK citizenry’s ineptness with UK geography. Specifically, that they couldn’t identify the biggest cities – Birmingham, London and Glasgow – on a map.

Wilkes added:

“Forget Glasgow, I thought Manchester was one of the three.”

Holmes responded thusly:

“What are you, a r&t*rd? Don’t be stupid.”

This comment led to complaints on the show’s Facebook page. He would apologise, but he did so in a less than committed manner.

“I have to say sorry to three or four of you who are upset because I used the word retarded. You seem to have taken it personally or think I am being insulting. I would never want to do that. 

“There is this man who has an autistic child and said I insulted his child. I would never use it in that context. Sorry if that caused you offence.”

Poor choice of words

Last month, another This Morning comment earned a reprimand from his ITV bosses. This time, he spoke about Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. His use of the word “uppity,” in particular, is stirring and eye-opening in describing the American-born Duchess’ conduct during a privacy request at Wimbledon. 

“If you have an uppity attitude, you’re only through the door two minutes and suddenly you’re sitting at Wimbledon and your royal protection are saying, ‘No photographs, no photographs!'”

A word that has negative connotations for black Americans who don’t “stay in their place”, it incurred an Ofcom complaint. 

ITV directors are adamant it wasn’t Holmes’ intention, but the choice of words required some education. ITV’s Head of Diversity, Ade Rawcliffe, said:

“We are not saying that ignorance is in any way a defence, he was using the term to describe what he interpreted as arrogance.

“The origins of the term have now been explained to Eamonn and the wider editorial team and it won’t be used again. We apologise for any offence that this may have caused you.”

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