Eamonn Holmes' 'bitter' five-year battle with taxman that lost him his home before Ruth split

-Credit: (Image: ITV)
-Credit: (Image: ITV)

Eamonn Holmes has opened up about his gruelling five-year clash with tax authorities, which he admits left him feeling "bitter" and contributed to the end of his marriage with Ruth Langsford.

The 64 year old telly veteran was forced to sell his cherished Belfast home to settle a hefty £250,000 tax bill, along with what's been reported as "hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal fees".

Eamonn insisted that he was a freelancer during his stint at ITV, claiming he never received sick pay, holiday pay or company shares.

However, tax officials ruled otherwise, declaring him an employee and slapping him with a decade's worth of unpaid national insurance and tax, the Mirror reports.

Reflecting on the ordeal, Eamonn described the situation as "the most stressful outside of losing my father", adding: "I had a house here [Belfast] until six weeks ago when I was forced to sell it by the Inland Revenue [HMRC].

Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford
Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford have announced their separation after 14 years of marriage -Credit:PA

"It's something I'm very bitter about because people think you earn lots of money and therefore you have to pay. It's like they have taken away everything I ever worked for."

He also expressed his frustration with the broader implications of his case, saying: "People think it's only the Eamonn Holmeses of this world that they're after. But it's not. The country is broken. I was like a lamb to the slaughter it was the most stressful, humiliating experience. ".

The ordeal also sparked some of his health woes as the TV star suffered with a severe bout of shingles in 2018 which could have left him blind.

Recalling his illness, Eamonn said: It "looked as if someone had taken a baseball bat to my face and smashed me about a bit".

The former This Morning star has also had to use a wheelchair and stick to help him walk in recent months after undergoing spinal surgery following chronic issues with back pain. It is feared he may never regain his full mobility.

Eamonn and Ruth shocked the world on Saturday when they announced they were going their separate ways after 27 years together, including 14 years of marriage.

A shock joint statement said: "Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes have confirmed their marriage is over and they are in the process of divorcing."

Concern had been growing for the much-loved TV duo, who appeared together for years on ITV's This Morning, after TV fans noticed they had not been pictured together in months.

An insider put their break up down to work commitments "taking their marriage in different directions" and insisted the pair are "determined to stay friends and keep things amicable" for the sake of their 22 year old son Jack.

The Loose Women star is said to be the one who called it quits after months of Eamonn trying to salvage their marriage -Credit:Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock
The Loose Women star is said to be the one who called it quits after months of Eamonn trying to salvage their marriage -Credit:Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

It's been reported by The Mail on Sunday that the 64-year-old has now left the family home in Weybridge, Surrey.

Eamonn is reportedly "furious' about the split, which insiders say has " about the separation, which insiders claim has been "very much orchestrated by Ruth".

It has come to light that the joint statement released over the weekend announcing their divorce was not so joint after all.

Eamonn allegedly told friends he "didn't want to get involved" and that "Ruth can do what she wants, but keep me out of it".

Before the news went public, it's believed that Eamonn spent months trying to salvage his marriage but was resolute in her decision to leave.

Those close to the couple suggest that the marriage had actually ended at least a year ago. When questioned about the state of his marriage, Eamonn would reportedly become "very angry indeed" and was seemingly "struggling to accept it".

A source added: "Eamonn's preferred way was not to tell anyone. Deep down he knew it couldn't carry on, but he was kind of sticking his head in the sand. He is very upset indeed."

Get the latest celebrity gossip and telly news sent straight to your inbox. Sign up to our daily Showbiz newsletter here.