The lads – Mark Feehily, 31, Shane Filan, 32, Nicky Byrne, 33, and Kian Egan, 31 – helped me mop up my tears as they vowed: “A reunion is not going to happen.”
Nicky confirmed: “It’s not a publicity stunt.
“There was more money on the table from Sony Records as part of a re-negotiation but it feels right to see what else is out there.”
It’s clear from spending time with the guys there’s no secret agenda, they simply feel they’ve done all they can as a group.
Managed by X Factor judge Louis Walsh, 59, Westlife’s achievements are immense, including 14 No 1 hits, seven No 1 albums and 10 sell-out tours.
Mark revealed: “Louis said to us: ‘Whatever is wrong we’ll fix it,’ but there’s nothing to fix. It’s a natural thing to happen. We couldn’t go on releasing albums until we died.”
Westlife’s final single Lighthouse drops on November 13 and is followed by their Greatest Hits a week later.
They tour the UK and Ireland for the last time next May.
Shane explained: “The tour will be the end of Westlife. We’re hoping to do one last extravagant show and it’s going to be horrendous when we come off stage, the worst day.”
Nicky agreed: “Other bands who have breaks know they might come back. We’re saying we’re not.”
Kian is the only member of the group with confirmed plans, as a judge on Ireland’s The Voice.
Shane mused: “I’d like to keep singing but we have no record deals.”
With The Wanted, JLS and One Direction flying the boyband flag, who do Westlife think can succeed them?
Kian said: “I don’t see any of them lasting as long as we have.”
Mark agreed: “Four or five years max for a boyband is normal.
“We lasted as we all get along. We’re quite freakish like that.”
Freaks, nah, fantastic, yes.