Ruby Wax claims ageism thwarted her career, 'I turned 50 and that’s not allowed’

In a recent interview with Kate Garraway, Ruby Wax revealed that it was ageism that stalled her career when she turned 50 in 2003

Ruby Wax claims ageism twarted her career
(Image credit: ITV)

Ruby Wax appeared on Kate Garraway's Life Stories on ITV on Wednesday, August 9, 2023, and opened up about some of the highlights and low points of her life and career.

Ruby Wax, best known for her incredible interviews in the 90s, with people such as OJ Simpson, Madonna, and Donald Trump, has opened up about her life in a recent interview on ITV. 

During the interview, Ruby spoke about the reason why her career stalled in 2003 when she turned 50. The comedian claimed that her age was a direct influence, and this was why she was no longer given a prime slot to interview or create a talk show style piece that she had become famous for.

The Good Morning Britain presenter asked, "So why did the television shows dry up?" Ruby replied bluntly, "Because I turned 50 and that’s not allowed."

"So it was an age thing?" Kate said."Of course," Ruby replied. "And then there was a man who took my job and it’s not Louis Theroux, who is a really nice man.  And whoever – I will not mention names – said, 'No, we want you to do a game show', but I said 'I could be a really good interviewer' and they said, 'Uh-uh' so I left town."

Ruby worked with the BBC on, The Full Wax (1991–1994) , Ruby Wax Meets...(1994–1998), Ruby (1997–2000), and The Waiting Game (2001–2002). However, in 2003 - the same year she turned 50 - she didn't receive another contract with the BBC to create the same style of work that she had become known for. 

However, Ruby claimed there was a silver lining to this stall in her career, as it led her to her work in mental health. "But that's ok because I wouldn't have got an OBE or gone to Oxford so I thank them all," she said.

The BBC declined when asked for comment.

Ruby Wax

(Image credit: ITV)

In another key part of the interview, Ruby spoke about her childhood and her difficult upbringing. Ruby revealed that her parents were verbally and physically abusive," They took the war from Europe and brought it to the kitchen, and there they kind of slung these verbal grenades at each other and I was kind of piggy in the middle."

Ruby suggested that having to leave their home of Austria at such a young age because of World War II was likely what turned her parents into the abusive people that she knew. "They were really angry, especially because I was born into the land of the free and the brave and I could have a really great life, and theirs were nipped in the bud at 22. So they wanted to make it hard," she said.

Kate asked, "Did you feel loved?" Ruby replied, "No no, they didn't do any of that stuff." She added that they were violent with each other and with her. "Well you'd have the sh*t knocked out of you, you know, but that's Austrians."

Despite their abuse, Ruby complemented her mother's intelligence saying that she was beautiful and spoke nine languages and was probably lovely in her youth. She said that perhaps their abuse was because of 'resentment'.  

Despite speaking about some of the challenges she faced in her life, Ruby's life story interview ended with a high point as she and Kate discussed how pioneering her work around mental health has been. 

Ruby's three children, who were in the audience at the taping of this show also spoke about how proud they were of their mother. "I feel very privileged too to be able to be in a family where we can talk about mental health like its' 'what are we going to have for dinner tonight' it makes me feel really lucky because other families and people find it very hard to talk about," her daughter said.

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.

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