The Gruffertys of Kildare have been entertaining the nation for eight years with their TV antics. Here, popular couple Laura and Des talk to Audrey Kane about fame, family and meeting their biggest celebrity fan
The show’s premise is simple – we watch them watch 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 daughters Danielle (18), a couch-goer, and Georgina (16), who joined in 2021.
For eight years, the show has given viewers a glimpse into the living room of Des (48) and Laura (40). But they don’t find it to be an intrusion into their lives — instead, they credit the show with bringing them closer together.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s brought us closer together as a family. Sometimes we’re so busy and our lives go in so many different directions. It gives us time to sit down and talk – because we don’t ‘have no choice but to be there,’ laughs Des.
“But seriously, we love doing Glasses box as a family, it gives Danielle and Georgina a chance to express their views and feelings about what is happening in the world,” he adds, referring to his daughter Danielle who remembers a group of young boys shouting “dirty lesbians” to herself and her. girlfriend in a recent episode.
“We actually got a call from Ryan Tubridy after that show, turns out he’s a huge fan and loves our family chemistry. He chatted with Danielle about his bravery talking about the homophobic abuse she suffered .
“That’s the beauty of Glasses boxthey are just ordinary people talking about everyday life while watching TV and chatting with their families.
“Afterwards, he invited us to join The late show audience and I think Laura was the most excited because she really loved him. So you can imagine how thrilled she was when he surprised us and asked us to go back to the green room for a drink. He talked to us about everything from Glasses boxin hairdressing — he’s a real gentleman and so down to earth,” says the proud dad.
“Honestly, being invited back after eight seasons still baffles us,” Des admits, “but we’ll keep doing it as long as the people watching us like us.”
Given that the Gruffertys are one of the original cast, making them one of the oldest families on the show, it’s refreshing to know that the reality TV couple are still as strong as the day they came. began.
“When we go out shopping and socializing, people come over and tell us how much they love the show, which is fantastic – and of course we now have a celebrity fan,” Des jokes.
“Life has changed in many ways, but we’ve never really used the show as a stepping stone. Laura is first and foremost a top hairdresser and business owner and, as they say in the family, a well-known person” then. She’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and the beating heart of the business. And all of her daughters would say the same.
Although Des recognizes that it can be hard work alongside their real job, they are lucky to be able to fit in with 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 setting up and running websites. Well you can see how hard it can be trying to save time to do Glasses boxsays the busy dad.
“Luckily the team works around our schedule and they are now part of our family.”
Behind the scenes, the hardworking couple are best known as the dynamic duo who run the House of LA hair salon in the heart of Athy town in County Kildare. Laura, who worked in hairdressing for 25 years before becoming known on glasses box,speaks passionately about her “real life” work – and it’s clear to see why the mom-of-four is as popular on-air as it is off.
“As a hairstylist, I talk to people every day and never bring up the show unless someone asks me directly. I’ve built strong relationships with my clients over the years, not because I appear on television, but because of my talent.
“I’m going to work full time like everyone else, so I know 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 customers struggling and going down the Covid-19 hair route again, ending up with homemade dyes and DIY mishaps.
“It may not be a top priority for some, but for others, something as simple as getting your hair done can be a momentary stress reliever.
“For these customers, we wanted to reach out and encourage them to talk to us openly or privately. Plus, we have a savings club that we’ve been running for seven years – and whether it’s €5 or €20 a week or a month, it all counts,” adds the beauty enthusiast.
So, will any of the kids follow in their footsteps to help out in the business?
“Courtney, my eldest daughter, is a makeup artist and works with us and my sister Shannon works there as well,” she says. “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 veterinarian.
“Alex, our 12-year-old son, loves cooking with his dad, but he wants to be a football expert, so Des will have to keep feeding the family and the team,” Laura laughs.
“I love my cooking and as soon as I get the right to it, I will take over the cooking for the crew, and they will have the Glasses box belly again,” adds Des.