Every morning Susanna Reid receives sympathetic messages from viewers offering their condolences about the fact she has to sit next to Piers Morgan again at work.
And it’s no real surprise as, in her own words, Susanna, 49, describes Piers, 55, as ‘insufferable, opinionated’ and ‘domineering’, thanks to his controversial outbursts.
Yet, off air the pair are the best of friends.
It’s been five years since Piers joined Susanna on Good Morning Britain. And, with GMB figures booming, it seems the duo have just about got their ‘love/hate’ relationship under control.
Woman’s Own magazine took a look at how their friendship has developed over the years…
A slow burner
It’s no secret that in the early days, Susanna was less than impressed with her new co-host. ‘Oh, we’re friends,’ she says. ‘I mean genuinely good friends. It took a while, though, and it was challenging at the beginning.’
What Susanna is referring to is Piers bulldozing her down on issues that are close to her heart, such as feminism. ‘Those arguments we had about women’s issues, for example, felt quite personal to start with.’
But now, just as with any other relationship, they’ve learned to navigate each other. ‘We understand what winds the other person up,’ she reveals. ‘Sometimes he ignores that and continues to wind me up, but he’ll know when I’m upset about something.’
‘We have moments where she genuinely wants to kill me,’ Piers admits. ‘I know the buttons I could press to make her literally murder me.’
In the time they’ve worked together, Piers and Susanna have become great mates. ‘We respect each other,’ she explains.
‘I know he’s got my back and that’s really important. It might not look like that on air, but off air he’s a good friend.’
Piers agrees: ‘You have to have that trust and you have to like and respect each other, otherwise it wouldn’t work.’
They often disagree. But they know how to clear the air. ‘We are honest and frank with each other and I trust him completely,’ says Susanna. ‘If something isn’t right, we will discuss it in a very full and frank way.’
Meeting in the middle
For all his faults, Piers has helped Susanna come out of her shell after years hosting BBC Breakfast alongside Bill Turnbull.
‘When I was on the BBC, I didn’t come down on one side or the other,’ she admits. ‘But on GMB I’m not allowed to sit on the fence – Piers would accuse me of having splinters up my backside!’
Being notoriously disliked, Piers knows a thing or two about dealing with criticism. And he’s helped Susanna build a tougher skin. ‘Piers has certainly helped me shed that fear about how I’m going to be judged,’ admits Susanna.
But perhaps it’s their differences that make them such a great TV match. ‘I think we work extremely well together,’ says Susanna. ‘And we have a partnership that has become quite important to people.’
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While there is often talk about the nature of their relationship, the pair insist they’re just friends.
Though Susanna is currently single after splitting from her husband, Dominic Cotton, in 2014, Piers is happily married to Celia Walden.
But that doesn’t stop him from making jokes some would deem inappropriate about Susanna. ‘If we were both single we’d be at it like stoats in a sack,’ he jokes.
It’s clear their friendship is fuelled by innuendo. ‘Obviously she finds me irresistible, but I’m a married man,’ he says.
Above all else, these two liken themselves to a married couple – simply having the debates viewers are having in the comfort of their own living rooms.
Piers explains, ‘Susanna is my television wife, but she’s also incredibly well organised. It’s a frustrating double-edged sword, because on the one hand I’m spending all this time with this unbelievably beautiful, glamorous, smart and sexy woman but on the other hand I don’t get any of the good bits that come with a marriage. I just get the nagging, the harassing, the bickering – I get all the bad stuff.’
For Susanna, it’s a feeling she’s never experienced before: ‘I love him and I hate him and I’ve never felt like that about anyone.’
With GMB viewing figures at an all-time high since Piers joined the show, it’s clear that whatever these two are doing is working. Keep it up!