During a candid chat with good friend Kaye Adams on her How to be 60 podcast, Ruth revealed how her son Jack, 21, and husband Eamonn Holmes were the biggest support as they helped her get through the very difficult time.
"The hardest year of my life was when my sister died," she shared. "I can't even tell you what year it is, because I've blocked it from my memory really."
Ruth's sibling took her own life in June 2019 after suffering from depression for a number of years.
Speaking about how her her son and husband gave her a new sense of focus, the TV star added: "Eamonn was amazing during that time and Jack and then work.
"I needed a focus, which was - get up and I would cry in the shower - have a big old bawl – and then I could almost cut it off and go, 'Right, come on, time for work, dry your hair, go to work.' I needed that, because I could lie and cry all day about my sister. I needed that focus and structure back in my life."
In 2021, Ruth confessed she was desperate to return to work as the distraction helped her focus - but was told by colleagues she had returned too soon. "When my sister died, I actually needed to get back to work," she explained. "I wouldn't say I looked forward to it but I needed that structure back in my life.
"I needed something to get up for in the morning and also that I could shut off the grief for a bit and have a cry in the shower and go, 'Come on, pull yourself together, work now.'"
Ruth had previously revealed she had considered giving up her TV work in the aftermath of Julia's death because she felt too grief-stricken to continue. "I didn't feel I could ever go back to work again," she told Best Magazine.
"It seemed wrong to be cheery onscreen when inside my heart was breaking. I just thought being happy would be a lie – and disrespectful to my only sibling."
The presenter added: "Eamonn pointed out that he was, in effect, losing not one, but two of the most precious people in his life – Julia and me. He showed me how I had so much to live for in Julia’s memory – and beyond."