herald

Wednesday 20 September 2017

'I went home and I cried my eyes out'

SHOCK: Tubridy needed to regain composure after his mentor's death

Ryan Tubridy broke down in tears before taking to the air to present the Late Late Show last night.

The show's host revealed how he "cried his eyes out" before taking to the screen.

Through a voice cracking with emotion, devastated Ryan explained how he had to go home yesterday afternoon in order to compose himself ahead of the live broadcast.

The dad-of-two (36) admitted he was keen to get all his tears out there and then, in order to ensure he did not break down during the live programme.

"I went home for a gathering of my thoughts and I cried my eyes out," the grief-stricken presenter told the Herald.

"I thought I'd better get all these tears out now so I don't cry later. Because you know men don't cry, as Gerry would have said.

"But there'll be more tears, no doubt," he added.

Ryan explained how the only thing which helped him hold it together, during what was one of the most challenging broadcasts of his life, was the image of Gerry looking down on him and smiling as his friends reminisced about his life.



Tired

According to the star: "It was extremely difficult. I was emotionally tired today from the moment I got the news. He was my mentor and friend and a broadcasting hero and I just felt all day that I couldn't believe it was true.

"I just really thought all day that it was some ridiculous stunt, I thought maybe it was some weird joke and I actually prayed on that hope for a while. Then the truth came out and I realised that was the story, and I realised that I had a job to do and I know that he would have done the same thing.

"I kept at the back of my mind for the whole evening the image of him drinking that large Jameson looking down at me. I'd really like to think that's what he was doing," he added.

Tubridy admits that it was a great comfort to have had fellow RTE veterans, including Joe Duffy, Gay Byrne, Dave Fanning and Pat Kenny, in the studio as they were able to empathise with his pain.

The shocked group shared a drink at Montrose studios following the programme as they swapped fond memories and lamented his sudden and tragic loss from their lives.

The star was also joined by his girlfriend Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, who arrived at RTE shortly before the show's end to offer comfort to her other half.

Ryan admits that the true impact of Gerry's death will probably only begin to sink in today and says that both he and his colleagues are facing a very tough time.

The Late Late Show host went on to recall how he began his career making Gerry's coffee and says he was in awe of the legend until the very end.

"He wasn't my best friend but he was a dear friend," Ryan said. "I don't want to overstate how close we were but he was a very important person in my life.

"I mean I started off making his coffee and then I ended up being his friend. It was just very strange going for lunch with him and I loved it and I loved his company. He was bold, dark and very funny.

"Even if you had never met him you felt like you had. He was instant. He was in people's kitchens. He was in people's homes.

"David Norris said it quite nicely: there was a pall in the air and just a horrible cloud hanging over us all."

lnolan@herald.ie

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