BREAKING HEARTS, BUT LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
‘WE’LL NEED THERAPY AFTER WE SPLIT’
WESTLIFE REFLECT ON 14 YEARS IN THE CHARTS, BANDMATE BETRAYAL AND CRAZY FANS…
They maybe have broken millions of hearts with the shock news they’re set to split after 14 years of number one hits and sell-out gigs, but those cheeky boys from Westlife can’t stop smiling right now. OK! joined them on their very final album shoot, and afterwards when we shared a few drinks with the fab foursome – Shane Filan, 32, Kian Egan, 31, Nicky Byrne, 33 and Mark Feehily, 31 – we’d never seen them in such high spirits! ‘Take the beer away from Shane, we’re on our third, but we’ve already got a wee buzz,’ says Kian. ‘The most exciting thing about Westlife in the past five years is right now!‘
Our favourite Irish lads are certainly making the most of their time together ahead of their huge farewell tour next spring – but, if like with Take That and Robbie Williams, you’re expecting the return of former member Brian McFadden, who left back in 2004, you couldn’t be more far off. In fact, the mere mention of his name cut the jovial atmosphere with a knife. Mark tells us: ‘It’s not happening and was never happening, even though everyone has asked.‘ But would they like him back? A firm ‘no’ was uttered in unison, with Mark adding: ‘We had to rebuild, re-bond and re-energise when Brian walked and after that the four of us are not breaking for Brian or anyone.‘
Shane explains: ‘Brian left because he didn’t like being in the group. It shocked us beyond belief, we actually thought we were being Punk’d on that MTV show when he said he wanted to leave. I was like: “You’re s**tting me? Why the f**k would you want to leave Westlife?” We were all getting on so well, but we didn’t have a clue what was going on in his personal life, his marriage, any of it.‘
Here, the boys spill all on Brian’s betrayal, as well as Mark’s upcoming wedding extravaganza, the truth behind their split and life after ‘Life…
How are you feeling about the split?
Nicky: It’s exciting, but nervous excitement. It had to happen. We were living with the idea for about a year and the pressure we were putting on ourselves to constantly deliver got too much. We’d had an amazing run, but it was getting to the point that the only enjoyable part was being on stage and the banter with the fans. It took us all individually to get to that time and when we sat down to talk about it, we all embraced it.
Shane: We’re breaking up, but we’ve never been so enthusiastic about the next tour.
Kian: But we’ll probably have four or five moments where we’ll all be bawling our eyes out.
Shane: I honestly think we’ll need therapy after!
What’s the reaction been like from fans?
Nicky: People say: ‘You’ll reunite in ten years’ – but that’s really not the plan, we want to knock this on the head now. It’s sad as we don’t want to break hearts, but there’s more to life than Westlife.
Kian: Yeah, the fans are devastated, but there hasn’t been anything super-negative. Overall people have been supportive.
Mark: From day one, when we were 18 and single, the fans have followed our stories, with us and with our families. They’ve evolved with us.
Who instigated the split?
Nicky: Brian back in 2004!
Shane: No, I don’t think anyone did. But every time we had a drink we’d chat about it, even though none of us wanted it to happen. It’s like if you love someone, but you know you’ve got to break up with them. We’re all such close friends.
Kian, your wife Jodi Albert is pregnant – did that pay a part in the decision?
Not at all. The baby was completely unplanned, but it was obviously meant to be as we have other new things happening in our lives.
Shane: I have young children so to end Westlife is probably the opposite of what you want to do, but you have to take the families out of it, it’s about the four of us.
Mark, so now you can start planning to tie the knot with your fella Kevin McDaid?
I am getting married very soon, but Westlife isn’t anything to do with that. I 100 per cent want it to be next year. I don’t want to do it on a Friday and be back at work on the Monday and be working two days before – I want to find a gap. It’s only a matter of time and I can’t wait. It’ll be the best day of my life.
You’ll have three best men?
Maybe more, or maybe I’ll have none. It’ll be hard to choose.
Which of the boys would you trust to do a speech?
Nicky loves to talk, definitely not the other two!
Would you like a family?
I don’t know, I’d be more inclined to try and have a kid biologically somehow first. I’ve got three dogs, which are enough for now, an we’re also renovating two houses.
What will you miss the most about Westlife?
Kian: Being on stage and getting the reaction from fans.
Shane: We’ll always be Westlife members and it’s cool that people automatically know that.
Kian: But in the future when people ask us what we do, we’ll be like: ‘Nothing, we’re on the dole!’
Which of you has gained the most column inches?
Nicky: It has to be Brian, seriously!
Kian: Out of us four, probably Mark because he’s gay.
Mark: Maybe in England, but Nicky definitely gets the most in Ireland.
Who’s had the most underwear thrown at them?
Nicky: I’ve had the most knickers.
Shane: I’ve had the most bras, so you have the knickers – we’ve had all shapes and sizes thrown at us – 1,276 pairs to be exact.
How many marriage proposals have you had?
Shane: One girl came to a signing in a wedding dress, we had to say no to her. There are some crazy fans out there.
Nicky: Yeah, another girl is at the airport every time we land. She’ll see us, cry and curl up in a ball. We’d try and hug her, but she’d just collapse straight away.
Mark: If you just look at these girls, they literally loose the plot. This one has done it about 100 times. I’m like: ‘She needs to find herself a boyfriend!’
What’s the most rediculous thing you’ve read about yourselves?
Shane: I read that I broke my back one time in a bad accident on stage and I was in a wheelchair!
Which celebs have you been linked with?
Mark: It’s more a case of who haven’t we been linked with, but if we told you who they all were we’d p**s off a lot of people.
Who would you say gets their body out the most?
Mark: Lately, Shane – he’s been doing a JLS!
Shane: Yes, probably me!
Kian: I have a very funny video footage of Shane in Asia with his top up over his head feeling himself.
What’s the most rediculous fan mail you’ve received?
Shane: All sorts. Mark’s got sent a turnip with all the dirt on it, then at a signing we were given a public hair taped to an envelope and also a used tampon in a box.
Would any of you like to be a judge on The X Factor when you do part ways?
Kian: Yes, I love doing The Voice in Ireland and I’m very good at it, but I am brutally honest. I managed a girl band [Wonderland], that didn’t work, but we still got in the album chart. It was a learning curve. I think that’s where I’m going to, management or helping people in that world, TV or not.
When was the last time you spoke to Brian McFadden?
Shane: A year and a half ago. We went out with him in Ireland and had a great night.
Mark: It’s like seeing an ex, it’s weird but you’re still friends and there’s no problems.
Kian: Brian asked me about it all one night. He said to me: ‘I was really disappointed by the things you said about me in the book.’ I was like: ‘I told the truth. What you don’t realise is that you walked out of the band, that is how I felt.’
Kerry Katona has said that Westlife put Ireland on the map…
Mark: Maybe in her mind!
Shane: We were very close with her, we had a laugh. There were no bad vibes. I’m godfather to her daughter Lilly.
Mark: I sent her a text after I hadn’t seen her for four years, saying: ‘I’ve just seen you on TV, I miss you!’ She replied: ‘Oh my God, I’m sitting here crying in my living room!’ She obviously missed us too when Brian walked, I’d love to see her again.
Finally, are you worried you’ll hit a low when it’s all over?
Mark: There are a whole mixture of emotions. Some mornings we’ll wake up and think all deep and dark and others we’ll wake up and the future is bright. The unknown is exciting.
WESTLIFE’S ‘GREATEST HITS’ ALBUM IS OUT NOW.
THE BOYS’ ITV SPECIAL, ‘WESTLIFE FOR THE LAST TIME’, WILL AIR IN DECEMBER.
INTERVIEW BY CHRISSIE REEVES
Credit/Source: OK! Magazine / Westlife GR