Gillian talks about being a WestwifeGillian talks about her life, being a Westwife! (Thanks to Chelle for typing this up)(11th June 2004)
To an outsider, Gillian Filan has it all: looks, money, a thriving career, a glamorous lifestyle and, to top it off, a superstar husband.
Her wedding last Christmas to Westlife singer Shane Filan made the national and international headlines.
To an outsider, the couple live in a world of their own.
Their nearly-finished mansion has become a regular attraction for Westlife fans. Its imposing presence under the eyes of Benbulben is enough to make even the passing motorist stop to take a look.
Fans regularly stop outside the gates, climb onto the roof of their cars to get a peak of the building work.
On one occasion, the couple met fans walking around inside their house, when they arrived to check-up on its progress.
The house has 24-hour security but it still doesn't stop the fans flocking to see the couples home.
Gillian said "Sometimes it does get a bit much. We don't appreciate people walking around our house. It is going to be our home someday. But at the end of the day, the fans will do what they want and we can't stop them." "It's our dreamhome and we are looking forward to finally moving in. It has moved on a lot in the last couple of months and it is at its final stages."
The mere mention of December 28, 2003 brings a sparkle to Gillians eyes. It was the day she got married last year. The ceremony took place in romantic Ballintubber Abbey followed by a lavish reception in Ashford Castle in Cong, County Mayo.
"I woke up that day and thought things were going to go wrong for me. I was so worried. But the day itself was perfect, I couldnt have asked for a more perfect wedding day. It was an amazing experience."
And what is married life like? "It is absolutely brilliant. The first six months of married life have been amazing. I don't have any complaints. I love him and it's great to be married to the man I always wanted to be married to.
"I recommend it!", she chuckles.
Yet Gillian, from Maugheraboy, has no intention of living off her husbands success. She is very much her own woman. She has a business degree from Sligo IT and is putting it to use by running two Morgan fashion shops, one on Castle Street in Sligo, the other on Shop Street, Galway.
But no matter which shop she's in, the fans constantly ask her about the band. This is something she's had no choice but to get used to
"The fans are great. So far, I haven't met a bad fan"
Now that she's become Mrs Gillian Filan, the fans have started to ask for her autograph. She described how sometimes she gets bombarded by fans but she takes it all in her stride.
When she turned 25 two weeks ago, fans came into the two shops to give her birthday presents and cards.
"I was shocked at this. I don't deserve anything because I'm not in the band. But it was a lovely gesture all the same."
"Sometimes fans come into the shops and look around. You can tell they are plucking up the courage to ask about the band."
Her work at Morgan sees her travelling all over the country. At the time of this interview, she was just after arriving in Sligo from Limerick for her sister Joanna's jewellery party and that evening she was driving to Belfast.
Living with the constant attention is part and parcel of being a Westlife wife. Although, when the couple started going out first, Gillian shunned the limelight.
"It was my choice to keep our relationship a secret. My nephews didnt even know. I wanted to be able to go to college in a tracksuit and with no make-up on. I didn't want people looking at me differently. I was there to get my degree and I didn't want to have to deal with that as well."
But now things have changed and Gillian is keenly aware that her appearance must be maintained at all times.
"The attention now doesn't bother me. I don't care what people say because they are going to say what they want anyway."
At the end of the day, when the day jobs are over, the couple like to relax in front of a fire and enjoy meals together.
"You could find Shane in the kitchen rustling up a meal or cleaning around the house. At the end of the day, we have to do the same things normal couples do."