'If it's worth keeping, it's worth working through' - Celia Holman Lee on her 49-year marriage
As she approaches her 50th wedding anniversary, Celia Holman Lee says the secret to her long-lasting marriage is simple: a desire to fight for it.
In a candid interview with VIP magazine alongside her husband Ger Lee, the style icon, who has been an enduring pillar of the Irish fashion industry since her teen years, she spoke about their commitment to making their marriage, which was especially trying during times when one wanted to give up.
"I think longevity comes from an understanding on both sides," she said. "It's a want on both sides, to stay in that relationship. That has to be there or it won't continue. As I said, there were times both of us wanted to walk, but we didn't, we stuck it out. We worked through it all. If it's worth keeping, it's worth working through.
"I'm being honest in saying that it's not always a bed of roses. Some couples can get through that, others can't. I'm not saying, 'Oh we're great', but after all these years, we'd want to get it right. I think any woman will tell you the same, if they've been in a marriage as long as we have, that there have been testing times."
Her professional success, including her eponymous Limerick-based modelling agency, brand ambassador roles with Oxendales and presenting work on TV3, haven't come easy and she said her difficult childhood has given even more gratitude for the career enjoyment she's been able to enjoy in recent years.
"I can certainly say that my childhood taught me a lot. Maybe I felt that they 'her aunts] were always so strong and that no matter what happened, they were survivors and nothing ever got them down. They just got on with life. When I was building my career, in the beginning, I was always so grateful for work and I think that gratitude came from there.
"At the beginning of my life, things were certainly not easy for me, but these past few decades of my life have been so happy. I have friends that had an idyllic childhood, but things haven't gone so well for them in their later years, whereas it's the opposite for me. It's a nice way to feel, because I am getting older, as is Ger - he's 70 next year - so for us to be in this position at this stage, long may it continue."