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'Sex is a distant memory for me,' Ivan Yates jokes, as new show is a ratings winner


Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates has said he is the happiest he has ever been in his 30-year marriage - but he quipped - "Sex is a distant memory for me."

The presenter, 56 in October, said he has found solace in the latter years of his relationship and that companionship long outlives the burning passion of young love.

"At my stage, I am going to be married 30 years in October, sex is a distant memory for me," he laughed.

But speaking earnestly about his relationship with his wife, Deirdre, he said it is stronger than ever:

"I find that as you are married longer, the actual growing old together and the companionship is actually really the best time of your marriage," he said.

"Especially when the kids are grown up [and] you get your life as a couple back together again. For me, I am happiest in my marriage than I have ever been."

Reflecting on the generational change in conducting extra-marital affairs, he said he is unfamiliar with the type of technology that has led to sites such as Ashley Madison springing up online.

"The whole internet has changed things and that wasn't around in my day. We were hard set to have mobile phones. I am only just getting to cope with texting, so Ashley Madison would be way beyond me."

Asked about the 115,000 Irish users who were caught out on the Ashley Madison adultery website, he said he is glad the phenomenon has passed him by. But he doesn't judge the website users.

"I am a great 'live and let live' person," he says.

"I am going to be 56 in October, so therefore I am all for the young having fun. They are not breaking the law. They are not doing anything involving illicit payments or anything like that so it passes me by.

"I am completely out of date . . . [with the phenomenon]," he adds.

"People tell me more about Tinder and 'shooting fish in a barrel dot com' (a jocose reference to dating website, Plenty of Fish, pof.com)and all those kind of ones - I am completely out of date."

On the issue of infidelity, he says: "I think it is the same for both genders. I think that the type of person who looks for the excitement of adventure, perhaps while still in a long-term relationship, is not confined to one gender. I think it might have been ever thus but now people are more open about it.

"But of course, you know the idea that you would be in the one union in your lifetime from 25 to 85, I suppose is more alien and it is not just an Irish thing. So I think for people who are very fortunate to have successful and long-term marriages… I am pleased it is all behind me and I am gone past all that stage."

He added: "One has to be very conscious of responsibilities as a parent to the wider family in terms of bread- winning and mortgages. I think in the long run, the fairy tale isn't true - the excitement of all that stuff in the early times is not the be all and end all. Long-term marriages and relationships and partnerships is about putting out the wheelie bin, it's about getting the laundry done and whether you are going to have pork chops or lamb chops for dinner."

Speaking about his own children, and the extra stress the internet has put on relationships, he said: "I have two sons and two daughters in their twenties, and I'm relieved I don't have to face those pressures. I do think the big difference between their generation and mine is that people mostly would not contemplate getting married or settling down in their twenties.

"It is very much a phenomenon of their thirties and that is a good thing. You're a different person at 40 years of age."

Meanwhile, his new show Sunday AM is a ratings hit.

"I am delighted Sunday AM had 139,000 viewers, which is a few more than Vincent [Browne]," he quipped.

"I think he may be a guest on our show this Sunday [today]. I haven't been speaking to him other than to wish him well for the new season."

Speaking about well-placed sources naming him as the man most likely to take over from Browne and his Newstalk rival George Hook, he says.

"All of the speculation about me succeeding [Vincent Browne or George Hook], look, I accept they are very old. Both of them. Very decrepit. And are on their last legs, but it's amazing how the creaking gate can go on forever and it is probably going to happen in both their cases."

TV3 is said to be paving the way for Yates with his plum new presenting role alongside Anna Daly on Sunday AM, a sister programme to Saturday AM, both of which are extensions of the hugely popular weekday Ireland AM brand.

Sunday Independent