This Morning legends Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan fought hard to be together after meeting in the newsroom
They were the original faces of This Morning and today Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan will make a triumphant return to the show.
The pair hosted This Morning from 1988 until 2001, and fans were enthralled by their genuine devotion to each other.
Their first meeting started with the fateful words, “Hello… I’m your Mummy,” and ended in one of TV’s most enduring marriages.
But behind the scenes, the road for Richard and Judy was a hard one, from their heartbreaking struggle to be together to the health issues that would plague Judy in later life.
They first met in 1982 when Richard joined Granada to present alongside Tony Wilson and Judy, who at eight years his senior was the more experienced journalist.
“I remember the first time I saw him. He walked into the newsroom and I was sitting at my desk at the other end,” Judy was recalled of their fateful first meeting.
“I remember exactly what he was wearing: a pale blue linen suit. I thought he looked nice. Tall, handsome and all that but I thought the suit was a bit flash. Then, because he was a newbie, I was assigned the job of looking after him,” she told the Mirror.
“I was sitting at my desk when this hand appeared on my shoulder and I looked up at this face and Judy said, ‘Hi, I’m your Mummy’ and I thought ‘Whaaaaat?'” revealed Richard, who already had a crush on Judy after watching her on TV,
Explaining the joke, he continued, “At Granada when someone new arrived, someone was appointed as their dad or their mum to show them round – the canteen, the toilets and all that. So Judy was my ‘mum’.”
The attraction was obvious, but both were married – Judy to journalist David Henshaw and Richard to his first wife Lynda.
One night they went out for dinner and their affair began, although both have insisted it was much more than a “sordid office affair”.
“[Colleagues at Granada] thought it was frivolous but it wasn’t anything of the kind. It was actually very painful because we were very much in love but it was very difficult,” Richard recalled.
From their third date he knew he wanted to marry Judy, but at 26, she feared he wasn’t ready to be a step-father to her then six-year-old twins Dan and Tom.
“I had to be absolutely convinced that Richard was mature enough and sure enough of his own mind that my boys weren’t going to be hurt,” she said.
“When we first got together I remember my mother said to him, ‘If you hurt those boys I’ll never forgive you’.”
Judy, then 34, called things off, prompting a devastated Richard to retreat to Greece for two weeks in the summer of 1984 armed with a bag of step-parenting books to do some soul searching.
“I knew Dan and Tom really well and they were smashing, they were terribly sweet, so I took it very seriously. In the end I knew of course that I could do it – I wanted to do it,” he said.
Richard was over the moon when she finally made her choice – and it was him.
The first thing they did as a couple was take the twins to Cornwall for a week, with the county becoming so special to them that they would end up living there years later.
But sadly their bliss soon turned to tragedy when Judy suffered a miscarriage followed by the birth of a still-born son.
Their boy Jack, 33, came along in 1986 after a difficult pregnancy, and just as Judy was about to return from maternity leave, she found out she was expecting daughter Chloe, 32.
A hormonal imbalance then sparked post-natal depression, and would become so severe that she was forced to have a hysterectomy in 1998 – something she feared would destroy her famous sexual bond with Richard.
In fact, the hormone replacement therapy she was put on did quite the opposite, so much so that they had to sleep in separate beds while she healed from the surgery.
Then in 1988 they took up a job on a show that would change their lives forever – ITV’s This Morning.
With their journalistic backgrounds and natural chemistry, they revived the daytime show and quickly became the nation’s favourites.
But their rise in popularity also triggered a rise in false and cruel gossip – the worst being that Judy was an alcoholic and Richard was a violent drunk.
“We’d gone away for a week to Cornwall with our children, and the mobile went in the car,” Richard told the Guardian of hearing the hurtful rumours.
“It was our bosses at Granada saying a terrible rumour was being put around that you’re in a self-help institution for men who batter their wives because you’ve beaten Judy, that Judy’s in a drying-out clinic and that the children are in care. We were in the f**king car,” he said.
“We tracked it to the source… A particularly poisonous person. He’d leaked these smears and they were never published because we would have cleaned up in a libel case. But the one thing that lingered like a piece of floating sewage is this thing that Judy drinks. And she doesn’t.”
Of course, the couple’s marriage has also been filled with joy – and a whole lot of red-hot chemistry.
Often compared to Alan Partridge for his verbal faux pas, Richard is as famous for his Ali G impression as he is his sexual overshares.
From their adventures with Viagra to his appreciation of Judy’s form, he hilariously has never known quite when to stop.
Speaking to the Mirror, he said: “I think relationships can evolve to a point in old age where sex becomes less important – but I am 58, not 98.
“In most dynamic marriages, sex is a very important component. You can deny that at your peril.
“One of the reasons that most marriages fail is because there is a growing sexual incompatibility. It has to be an important part of the equation.
“Research shows most happily married people in their 70s and 80s still have a functioning sex life and so they should. It’s one of the most fundamental aspects of humanity.”
“Judy is my heart,” Richard, 63, once said of his 71-year-old wife. “If she wasn’t here it would remove all the point to my life.”
“If any two people were meant for each other, we were, and I adore him. He’s so good for me emotionally because I tend to be melancholic,” she told the Daily Mail.
“He’s very optimistic, he boosts my ego and he’s got a great talent for happiness, which means the inevitable sadnesses in life, which we all have, are easier to cope with.
“If there is a positive emotion to be had in any situation, Richard will find it.”
Richard Madeley, This Morning
World news – GB – Richard and Judy’s fight against the odds – affair, baby loss and true love