The Gruffertys from Kildare have been entertaining the nation for eight years with their telly antics. Here, popular couple Laura and Des tell Audrey Kane about fame, family and meeting their big fan
The premise of the show is simple — we watch them watching TV — but the masterful twist is that it’s really about the people themselves and their relationships.
So it’s easy to see why fans were thrilled when season eight returned with the couple, along with their daughters Danielle (18), a couch regular, and Georgina (16), who recently joined them in 2021.
For the past eight years, the show has given viewers an insight into the living room of Des (48) and Laura (40). But they don’t find it an intrusion in their lives at all — instead, they credit the show with bringing them closer.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, it has brought us closer as a family. Sometimes we’re so busy and our lives are going in so many different directions. It gives us time to sit down and talk — because we have no choice but to be there,” laughs Des.
“But seriously, we adore doing Gogglebox as a family, it gives Danielle and Georgina a chance to express their views and feelings on what is going on in the world,” he adds, referring to daughter Danielle who recalled a group of young lads screaming ‘dirty lesbians’ at herself and her girlfriend in a recent episode.
“We actually had a call from Ryan Tubridy after that show, it turns out he is a massive fan and loves our family chemistry. He chatted to Danielle about her bravery talking about the homophobic abuse she suffered.
“That’s the beauty of Gogglebox, it’s just ordinary people talking about everyday life while watching TV and chatting to their family.
“Afterwards, he invited us to join The Late Late Show audience and I think Laura was the most excited because she actually fancies him. So you can imagine how thrilled she was when he surprised us and asked us back to the green room for a drink. He chatted with us about everything from Goggleboxto the hairdressing business — he’s a true gentleman and so down-to-earth,” says the proud dad.
“Honestly, to be asked back after eight seasons still kind of baffles us,” Des admits, “but we’ll continue doing it for as long as the people watching are enjoying us.”
Since the Gruffertys are one of the original castings, making them one of the longest-appearing families on the show, it’s refreshing to know the reality TV couple are still as grounded as the day they started.
“When we go out shopping and socialising people come up and tell us how much they love the show, which is fantastic — and of course, we now have a celebrity fan,” jokes Des.
“Life has changed in many ways, but we never really used the show as a stepping stone. Laura is a top hairstylist and business owner first and, as we say in the family, a ‘well-known person’ second. She’s one of the hardest working people I have ever met, and the beating heart of the business. And all her girls would say the same.”
While Des acknowledges it can be hard work alongside their actual jobs, they’re lucky to be able to work around their busy schedules.
“We are so busy with work at the salon [House Of LA] and our beauty boutique located upstairs [Let Them Talk Beauty], then Laura has her blog [Honest to Blog], not to mention getting the websites up and running. Well, you can see how it can be hard trying to slot in time to do Gogglebox,” explains the busy dad.
“Thankfully, the team work around our schedule, and they have become part of our family.”
Behind the scenes, the hard-working couple are more well known as the dynamic duo who run House of LA hair salon in the heart of Athy town in Co Kildare. Laura, who worked in hairdressing for 25 years before finding fame on Gogglebox,talks passionately about her ‘real life’ job — and it’s clear to see why the mum-of-four is as popular on air as she is off.
“As a hairdresser, I’m talking to people every day and I never bring up the show unless somebody directly asks me about it. I’ve built up strong relationships with my clients over the course of many years, not because I appear on TV but because of my talent.
“I go to work full-time like everybody else, so I know that people have a lot on their plate. We all have a budget, and that includes our family. We know money is tight for many but what we don’t want to see is our clients struggling and going down that Covid-19 hair road again, ending up with home dyes and DIY misadventures.
“It might not be a top priority for some but for others, something as simple as getting their hair done can be a momentary stress relief.
“For those clients, we wanted to reach out and encourage them to talk to us openly or privately. Plus we have a savings club which we have been running the past seven years — and whether it’s €5 or €20 per week or month it all helps,” adds the beauty aficionado.
So will any of the children follow in their footsteps to help out in the business?
“Courtney, my eldest daughter, is a makeup artist and working with us and my sister Shannon works there as well,” she tells. “I don’t think Danielle and Georgina have any interest, they have their own ambitions. Danielle wants to be a sports physio and Georgina wants to be a vet.
“Alex, our son who is 12, loves cooking with his dad, but he wants to be a soccer pundit, so Des will have to keep feeding the family and the crew,” chuckles top stylist Laura.
“I love my cooking and as soon as I’m allowed, I’ll be back cooking for the crew, and they’ll have the Gogglebox belly back again,” adds Des.