News archive 2003-2004Being a Westwife is not enough
By Sarah Caden, published 4th April 2004
Article shortened to Gillian's mention
If it wasn't for that TV show and the Queen of the Jungle title, Kerry might have lingered forever in Bryan's shadow, growing ever louder as she struggled to be seen, heard and taken notice of, but now she's famous in her own right. How the other Westwives, Nicky Byrne's Georgina and Shane Filan's Gillian, will cope remains to be seen.
Interestingly, however, the fashion show programme also listed Gillian Filan as one of the celebrities in attendance. Many over 35 wondered "Gillian Who?", as even her surname failed to ring any fame bells. Married to Shane Filan since Christmas, Gillian's a pretty Sligo girl who runs the family boutique and she is, to be fair, well-known for knowing her labels, as is Georgina. But other than that, she's all about being attached to Shane. And while seeming to earn public attention for nothing you've achieved yourself might seem like a handy number, it's nothing to be envied.
How the attention sits with the Westwives is unclear. Certainly, they've polished their poses for the photographers, they're all expert in putting one foot in front of the other and holding their torso at an angle to their hips, a VIP pose that looks horribly affected when struck by a line of lovelies in a row. They were to be seen lined up thus, in fact, for the recent Meteor awards, where they sang the praises of Lionel Ritchie on that night's news. Of course, why shouldn't the Westwives enjoy the perks of their husbands' success? And how could they be immune to the sense of self-importance that comes with celebrity?
Shane and Gillian move into their dream home (2nd December)
Westlife’s Shane Filan and his wife Gillian have moved into their seven-bedroomed impressive mansion in Carraroe.
The couple, who moved in last week, say they are still moving their belongings into their home and will be for the next couple of weeks.
Gillian (25) said: "We have moved in but not officially as such. It’s looking like it will be a year to the day of our wedding, when we can finally say that we have moved in all of our stuff."
The couple got married on December 28 last year.
Gillian was speaking about their plans at the opening of her sister Joanna’s handmade jewellery shop "Anna Rose" in Sligo last Saturday afternoon. The name "Anna Rose" has a particular family signifigance. Gillian’s second name is Rose, their mum’s name is Rosaleen and their granny’s name is Rose.
Shane, also 25, couldn’t make it for the launch but sent on a bouquet of flowers, wishing them luck for the opening.
Shane and Gillian have spent the last three years making sure their home turned out the way they wanted.
The house has a home cinema with a huge screen and hundreds of movies to choose from. This is Shane’s favourite room along with the huge snooker room.
Gillian added: "We have spent a lot of time picking out the furniture and planning the décor but we are very happy with it."
Her favourite room has to be their main bedroom. “There is an ornate bed, lovely furniture and a few personal touches. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of as a kid.”
The couple though have insisted that they will not be doing a magazine photoshoot inside their home, saying they want to keep it as private as possible. Already, huge offers for photographs have been flooding in.
Westlife are doing a huge promotional tour of Europe at the moment for their album "Allow Us To Be Frank".
From: Sligo Weekender
Gillian and Joanna, sisters to open a shop in Sligo! (24th November)
Sisters Gillian Filan and Joanna Walsh are opening a new shop in Sligo town this week.
Anna Rose is a new venture for the sisters, but it is something they have been planning for the past number of months.
The shop will sell the latest jewellery designs handmade by Joanna, while Gillian will be looking after the marketing and promotional end of the business. The shop will also stock hats and bags.
Joanna (31) began making jewellery as a hobby, seven years ago. But, she never could have imagined that her hobby could turn out the way it has.
"I knew from day one that making jewellery was my thing. Whether I was going to make a living from it or not wasn’t a big part of it.. If I never got a shop I would still be doing it."
It is a time consuming job and the pieces she makes are very intricate. Hence, attention to detail is paramount.
Gillian (25), wife of Westlife’s Shane Filan, said: "Joanna just wouldn’t have the time to market the jewellery, so that’s where I come in. Together we make a good team."
The sisters, from Maugheraboy, have spent the last number of months planning to open a shop, but the only obstacle was finding the right premises.
"Once we found the premises, it was all systems go to get it up and running," said Gillian.
Gillian has long been a supporter of her sister’s, as she wore a specially made piece for her wedding to Shane at Christmas last year.
"That piece was very special to me. I still keep it in its box at home." She has also worn Joanna’s jewellery for VIP magazine .
But it’s the everyday pieces that both have a fondness for.
"I like to wear simple pieces during the day and different ones at night," added Gillian.
Joanna’s pieces are all handmade and she is available for consultations with customers.
The wedding market is something she hopes to break into, as women are always looking for that special piece for the biggest day of their lives.
"We are both really looking forward to the opening and everyone is welcome."
Anna Rose on Rockwood Parade will be officially opened at 12 noon this Saturday November 27.
Shane's chopper (12th November 2004)
Westlife's Shane Filan has splashed out hundreds of thousands of pounds on a helicopter — now all he has to do is learn to fly it.
He says: "I’ve always wanted to get my pilot’s licence. Until I do, I’m going to rent it out so it will nearly pay for itself over a few years. The boys slag me off about it, but I love it."
Shane is hoping the payday from the band’s new album Allow Us To Be Frank will help.
It is currently second in the midweek album chart.
Track listing for the new Westlife album, Allow Us To Be Frank (21st
1. Ain't That A Kick In The Head
2. Fly Me To The Moon
4. Let There Be Love
5. The Way You Look Tonight - (duet with You're The One winner)
6. Come Fly With Me
7. Mack The Knife
8. I Left My Heart In San Francisco
9. Summer Wind
11. When I Fall In Love
12. Moon River
13. That's Life
A bit about Shane and Gillian in Miami (5th September) (Thanks to Nadia
for typing it up)
Shane Filan & Gillian Walsh
Miami is a magical mix of sunshine, shops and salsa. Well-honed hunks rollerblade on South Beach, while all-American girls flex their gold cards in the upmarket boutiques.
Shane Filan certainly didn't look out of place as he strolled along sunkissed South Beach with his gorgeous wife Gillian.
Far from being an old married couple, the duo embraced the cool feel of the place, famous for its pastel-hued Art Deco buildings and vibrant nightlife, and made sure they had fun. Gorgeous Gillian even showed off her model-like figure in an incu-wincy frilly pink and white polka dot bikini.
Even though Shane and Gillian were together for years before they married last year, it looks like none of the passion has gone out if their relationship as they frolicked and smooched on the beach and in the surf - it was almost as if all that sun had gone to their heads.
Nicky and Shane whisk Georgina and Gillian off to Miami beach for sun, sea and shopping
(8th July) (Thanks to Ciara for typing this up)
Miami is a magical mix of sunshine, shops and salsa. Well toned hunks rollerblade on South beach while all American girls flex their gold cards in the upmarket boutiques.
Two of the Westlife boys, Nicky Byrne and Shane Filan, both sporting South Beach style, certainly didn't look out of place as they strolled around town. And their wives also looked the part. Shane's spouse Gillian showed off her model like figure in a frilly white and and pink poka dot bikini (Pml reminds me of that song, she wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow poka dot bikini or summit...shut up Ciara!) while Georgina looked stylish in a turquoise mini skirt and matching bikini.
Even though both couples had been together for a long time before marrying last year, it seems none of the passion has fizzled out of their relationships as they frolicked and smooched on the beach.
Although Nicky and Shane spend a great deal of time together on the road as half of boy band Westlife, it looks like their wives get on just as well as the boys do.
After a spot of sun, the ladies got in to the spirit of things and headed off to do some shopping. And they were spoilt for choice in Miami - famous for it's art deco buildings. The world was their oyster in the Southern American city, as there are plenty of chic designer boutiques such as Gucci, Prada, Versache and Tiffany and co to choose from at the glitzy Bal Harbour Mall on Collins Avenue. Or, if they were looking for a famous American department store there's both Bloomingdales and Macy's at nearby Adventura Mall.
You could say they were buying without wings.
Westlife's Gillian brings jewellery party to Sligo (1st June) (Thanks to
Chelle for typing this up)
By Sandra Coffey
Westlife wife Gillian Filan is helping to bring a first to town for Sligo women this Thursday night.
Gillian (25), wife of Westlife singer Shane is jointly hosting a jewellery party for women in the Embassy Rooms.
Gillian's older sister Joanna (31) designs jewellery and the two from Maugheraboy have combined to launch a joint venture in Sligo.
The jewellery party is offering women a chance to come and view Joanna's work. Three of Joanna's pieces may look familiar. Gillian wore her sister's jewellery for the recent VIP magazine shoot with other Westlife wives Georgina Ahern and Kerry McFadden. She also showcased another piece at last summer's French wedding of Georgina Ahern to Westlife band member Nicky Byrne. Gillian also chose to wear her sister's jewellery at her own fairytale Christmas wedding last December.
Joanna has been designing her own jewellery for the past seven years. Now, she designs for private clients but she fondly remembers the early days spent selling on Tobergal Lane.
"It's where I started off. I can still remember those early days."
Joanna started making her own jewellery as a hobby when she lived in San Francisco and on her return to Sligo in 2000 she sold the pieces locally, mainly in the Cat and the Moon shop on Castle Street.
She was based in Cork for a time and is now living in Dublin.
"I don't wish to become the next buzz brand of the year and have no intentions of creating large quantities of mass produced jewellery," said Joanna.
Instead she has one-on-one consultations with customers and designs a piece based on their taste and the outfit they are wearing with it.
Vintage glass and clasps, swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls are her main materials. She is fast becoming recognized for her multi layered chokers and bracelets.
Now she is launching her business in Sligo and recognises that having sister Gillian on board is an added bonus.
"She models all my jewellery for fashion shoots. She will also be there on the night to help out."
Anyone with an interest in jewellery or are looking for that once-off special piece, should go along on the night.
There will be a wine and cheese reception followed by the jewellery display.
The jewellery party is taking place in the Embassy Residence Lounge this Thursday June 3 from 7-10pm.
They may be a man down,but the Lads have proved they're still the west
(24th May - thanx to Chelle for typing it up)
Shane Filan has revealed that Westlife have scrapped plans for a duets album.
The singer has exclusively told 'The Star' about the bands plans for their first record since Bryan left.
He said the group-who have just finished a record 10 night run in Dublins Point Depot, have abondoned the planned album of celebrity deuts after they realised it wouldnt be possible to tour the record.
Shane (25) explained "How could we bring 12 different singers on the road with us? That would be impossible - so instead we're planning a new Westlife album with maybe one or two duets on it. No one is definite yet but Lionel Ritchie looks like being one of them, and Donna Summer could be another, we're due to do a TV show with Donna in a few weeks and we'd love to have her involved."
The lads have been keen keeping a close eye on former bandmate Bryan since he quit the band two months ago-and they kept a keen eye on Chris Dorans performance of his song at the Eurovision last week.
And while Chris didnt score many votes on the night,he gets the Westlife sympathy vote!
Shane said "I feel for Chris - or anyone who comes second last in anything. The songs that finished the Eurovision top 10 were all disco tracks,Thats the way its gone in the last 10 years,Theres a lot of politics involved in the voting-but I didnt think 'If My World Stopped Turning' is the best song Bryan has ever written, I've heard better songs from him"
Shane revealed the four piece have now accepted life without Bryan."It something you get used to after a while. At the beginning, Bryan leaving was really weird, In a way we had no choice because it happened three or four weeks before the tour, so we were stuck with it and we had to make it happen without him, because of that we've worked harder on this tour than any other tour we've done before" He said.
"We made the singing and choreography the best we could make it". The question that was on everyones mind was 'Could Westlife make it without Bryan?'
"I think the answer to that, and im basing it on reports we had back from people, is Yes, Sure ,its different but its something we've all gotten use to-doing it without Bryan.
Shane also took the chance to vehemently deny reports that hes planning a Solo career, despite rumours hes been working with Take That legend Gary Barlow.
"Absolute rubbish, Not True. Its never been a thought really. We all want to stick with Westlife for as long as we can, it would seem premature to end it now-especially as we've just played 10 nights in The Point."
Shane is adament he has no definite plans for the future. "I dont know what Ill do beyond Westlife, Im big into property and I suppose'd love to get into developement,That and Retail. Ive got Two Morgan shops already-one opened in Sligo and the other in Galway.We're thinking of opening another one but not sure where"
The Muliti millionaire musician is indeed passionate about property, for proof just look at his massive eight bedroom home he and his beautiful wife Gillian are about to move into, in Sligo.
The mansion boasts nine bathrooms,a snooker room, a music room with a grand paino, a tv lounge, a sitting room and stables for Shanes beloved horses.
He smiles "Its taken a while but we'll get into it soon, four weeks and I'd say we'll be in there. Its all getting done up at the moment, the floors, the ceilings.We started from scratch."
Despite waiting five months to carry new bride Gillian over the threshold, Shane says he couldnt be happier since he married her in Ballintubber last December.
"Being married is brilliant, some day I want to have kids and relax a bit, thats all ahead of us right now and its hard to put a time and date on things like that"
Gillian has being enjoying herself recently-spending time in the lime light with fellow westwives Kerry Mcfadden and Georgina Byrne,The trio recently stepped out at the VIP live fashion show in Dublins RDS.
Shane said "They're good friends and when they were asked to do something,they said theyd do it, It was a bit of fun,Some of the news papers gave them stick and some of them were really supportive but you always get that, I of all people, know that!"
Gillian used to be in a girlband called "Fushion" (Thanks to Chelle
for typing it up) (15th May)
The fellas out of the boyband (IOU) have always supported the girls in Fusion, going to competitions, to the heats and all, to cheer them on. The boys mess aroud posing for Ciaran Carthys camera and trying on the girls costumes. Fusion is a four piece, besides Avril O'Hanlon there is Sabrina Kiernan, Helena Hegerthy and Gillian Walsh. Gillian is just great for instilling confidence in others. They might be a bit nervous but she would always be the one to say "Lets go out there and kick some ass!!"
News on Gillian's sister.. (10th May)
With her blonde hair, high profile relationship and penchant for expensive jewellery, Gillian Walsh could be Ireland's answer to Crystal Carrington but it's sister Joanna who's the real gem in the family dynasty.
The 31-year-old jewellery designer made the charms worn by Gillian at the recent V.I.P fashion show. And yesterday at the vaults in Dublin Joanna's designs were flying (without wings) out the door.
Joanna also created the jewellery worn by Gillan and her bridesmaids at her wedding in Mayo. Both sisters have grand designs Gillian has already bought two Morgan stores (That's Shane, who bought them) with Shane's sister Mairead. Now that Joanna has established herself as a designer in her own right the pair also plan to team up.
Westwives in Fashionshow (3rd May) (thanx to Shaz for typing this up)
The elite gathering of fashionistas cheered and the brightly coloured lights danced on the stage - it was nearly showtime. Making their way from the backstage arena, the glamorous threesome appeared, their blonde hair gleaming, their make-up immaculately applied and their tanned, toned figures showed off their designer outfits to perfection. Striding out confidently between her fellow 'westwives' Kerry McFadden, in her Pucci-print mini dress, was, to now one's surprise, a natural on the catwalk. But for Georgina Byrne and Gillian Filan, it appeared a more daunting experience and occasionally, you could see it in the shy dip of a head or an uncertain footstep. The VIP Live Fashion Show, which took place last Thursday at the RDS in Dublin, was Georgina and Gillian's first foray into the limelight as stars in their own right, their moment to establish themselves as something other than mere appendages to their famous husbands. For, as we shall see, life as a Westwife, privileged and pampered though it may be, is not always the fabulous existence most of us would imagine. When you have all the money you want, no regular job and your husband is away earning his next million, it can be pretty lonely for the wife left behind. And then there is the Posh and Becks thing. It's fine to bask in his career for a bit but eventually you want a bif of the kudos for yourself. That certainly seems to be what's eating Taoiseachs's daughter Georgina, married to Nicky, and Sligo-born Gillian, married to Shane, both of whom have yet to distinguish themselves in any manner other than being the wives of famous Westlifers. Now, it would seem, the two wueieter members of the Westwives are planning to change all that. In fact, Ireland on Sunday has learned that Georgina Byrne- bored rigid with her pampered, leisurely lifestyle of manicures and expensive beauty therapies- has designs on more than just a bit of modelling, with rumours abounding that she is about open her own high-fashion boutique and put her much-talked-about business qualifications to use. Padding around their mock- Georgina Malahide mansion on her own, filling her days with leisurely lunches in the village, shopping and pounding for hours on the treadmill are no longer enough, it would seem, for the svelte and statuesque 26-year-old. To add insult to injury, even her little sister and of her best friends, Cecelia, is travelling the world as a best-selling novelist and has found fame in her own right. It is time, Georgina has decided, to come out from the shadows of both her husband and her father.
All three women- Gillian, Georgina and Kerry, seem determined to shed their kept-woman image. Now, in a deal rumoured to be 'more than generous', the trio are featured on the front of the current edition of the social magazine VIP. The Westwives were an obvious choice to launch the VIP Live Fashion Show, according to its editor, Emer O'Reilly-Hyland. 'They give it a nice celebrity angle, which is what VIP is all about,' Ms O'Reilly-Huland told IoS.' They also bring it lots of different elements, their lives are extraordinary. People are extremely interested in them now, which has been proved by the sales of the current edition and tickets for the fashion show.' For Georgina, it was, in fact, her second foray into modelling- having just done a turn on the catwalk for her favourite designer, Synan O'Mahony. For Gillian, it was an entirely new experience. Rarely photographed, Gillian was always the quietest of the Westlife ladies. Yet now, she seems to be blossoming into a real pro, instantly striking a flattering pose whenever there is a photographer around. Insiders say that Georgina has taken the 24-year-old Sligo girl under her wing. When she was first revealed as Shane's girlfriend several years ago, she was rarely seen out of her student uniform of jeans and sweatshirt. Now, she just wouldn't be seen in a sloppy outfit and is a fervent fashionista- thanks partly to her business venture as 'manager' of the Filan's Morgan shops in Galway and Sligo. Her gel nails- at around €80 a go- are always perfect and the stylists at Sligo salon Wizard ensure that her golden tresses stay that way.
All three women are regularly spotted out shopping in Grafton Street's best realers, laden down with bags. They also regulars in boutiques such as Julien in the St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre In Dublin, wich sells the kind of young, trendy, high-fashion lines that the Westwives are always keen to be seen in. 'All the clothes are sourced in London and Paris and have a particular look,' said one regular at the shop. 'It is pretty revealing stuff and the three Westlife Wives seem to love it. I have seen Gillian and Kerry in there together. Inn fact, it must be one of Kerry's favourite shops because she's in there around once every three or four weeks and I have seen her spending about €300 a time. Georgina goes in a lot with Nicky as well, she will try to things on while he waits outside the changing rooms to give his opinion.' But Georgina is an intelligent young woman, with a business management degree from the instute of Technology in Tallaght and it is entirely predictable that she would now want to exercise her achievements. Since the short sint she did in the administration department of the Clontarf telecommunications company, Conduit, in 2002, she has rarely worked. Instead, she has enjoyed the luxury of time to turn transform her image, traing her natural Bertie- coloured brown hair for a long blonde locks thanks to her hairdresser, Michael Leong and learning the tricks of the trade from top make-up artists like Cathy Ireland of Laura Mercier, whose cosmetics she loves. She has also transformed her once dumpy shape into a lean, toned figure that is the envy of any woman who has battled with her weight. 'She's this totally dedicated gym bunny now,' a close source said. 'She is really into keeping fit and works out almost every day. She's also into healthy food and you can see it by her figure. She is quite tall and at times she almost look too slender.' In fact, according to those who move in her circles, it seems quite likely that Georgina will use her passion for fashion and keep fit in her quest for independence. 'She's spent the last five years following Nicky around while he's been touring,' explained the showbiz source. 'But now, she's really ready to do her own thing for herself. In fact, I would go so far to say that she is hungry for it and we know that she's actively looking for something to really sink her teeth into.'
Indeed, Georgina herself has made it patently clear she is ready to go to work. 'We have just got married, we've got our careers ahead of us so there is still lots left to do,' she said in a recent interview. 'I've spent al lot of time travelling with Nicky but now that I have gotten my business degree, I'm going to put it to good use in the near future.' And in a true 'new-man' style, her pop star husband is right behind her. 'Nicky has always given her credit for being there for him and he's anxious that she now has time,' said the source. 'Georgina wants to prove herself now and she'd be willing to start at the bottom and work her way up. She's not the type who expects favours just because of who her dad or husband is.' It seems unlikely however, that modelling will be Georgina's new career. 'She really loves fashion, ' said the source. Herself and her mother Miriam has always been into their appearance, so we're expecting she will open up either a fashion boutique or something to do with the beauty business. 'But I doubt it will be a beauty salon, it's now like she'll want to go into competition against her dad's ex-girfriend's place in Drumcondra.'
Gillian, too, is an educated young woman. The petite blonde graduated from Sligo's Institute Of Technology two years ago with a business management degree and since then has overseen the opening of two Morgan clothes shops, one in her hometown of Sligo and one in Galway. 'She's pretty hands-on,' said a local source. 'You could see her in the shop a few times a week but only when she's actually in Sligo, she still travels with Shane a lot.' In fact, Gillian has admitted to spending all her time with her husband since their wedding last December. 'We've been inseparable since we got married, ' she said. 'We weren't really like that before, we could do our own things and that would be fine.' Gillian leaves the day-to-day running of the shops to her sister-in-law, Mairead's name that are actually on the deeds,' explained a source. 'But Gillian has a real passion for clothes and plans to devote more time to the business. 'When not travelling, Gillian has spent her time planning the final touches for their fabulous new home located on land owned by Shane's parents in Carroe, just a mile outside Sligo town. The couple are hoping their luxury, six-bed roomed mansion will be completed by the summer. And like Georgina, Gillian is also a huge gym fanatic. 'When she was at Sligo IT, she was always in the gym,' one local said. 'She was always well turned out, not like your typical student at all. She always seemed really shy and you never heard of her giving interviews or anything like that.' Of the three, though, it is Kerry McFadden who is the best equipped to deal with life outside Westlife and it is she, some say, who has inspired the other two to get out there and make careers for themselves. Kerry has already enjoyed huge fame in her own right as a music and television star and has now eclipsed her former Westlife husband. Already a mother to toddler Molly and infant Lily, the 22-year-old blonde has admitted she gets a lot of help from Bryan's Artane-based family but is also proud to be a hands-on mother. Of the three, it is also Kerry who has revealed her own ambitious streak. 'She really busted her ass with Atomic Kitten,' said a source, 'In fact , once she met Bryan, she found it took up way too much time. Since then of course, she's had the two girls but she also kept busy. 'There was her stint as judge on You're A Star and she did a couple of presenting jobs for the British satellite channels. She was also good about getting out there and doing openings. For instance she opened a chemist down in Sligo last year.' But while the other two girls have some academic qualifications behind them, Kerry depends on her own innate business sense. 'She may now have any qualifications but she does know the value of money and she's willing to work for it. She didn't have the easiest of childhoods, which has probably made her pretty strong, ' the source said. And it is not the only way in which she is different from Gillian and Georgina. For, since her own career was reunited with her stint on I'm A Celebrity…. And of course, Bryan's dramatic departure from the band last month, it stands to reason that Kerry now longer sees as much of the other Westlife ladies and is now something of an outsider. It is because of this, many believe, that the Westwives brand they so successfully launched this week could already have reached its sell-by date. What remains to be seen, however, is who of the three will emerge as the natural businesswoman with the Midas touch. Or will Georgina and Gillian ever manage to match the fame enjoyed by Kerry, or indeed, their husbands. It will not be easy for the ladies of leisure to compete with Kerry in the fame and success stakes. And abandoning their lives of luxury for ones filled with responsibility and hard work may prove to be more difficult than they imagined. Regardless of success, though, it must be comforting for the Westwives to know that they have a husband's fortune behind them to soften the possible blow of failure should it all go belly-up.
Gillian gets the groove (25th April) (Thanks to Byrnes Dirty Hippie on the
Few ladies could upstage the first lady of Irish pop royalty Mrs Nicky Byrne, Georgina Ahern - but the newbie to the Westlife wimmin Gillian Walsh was sure doing a good job in the latest issue of VIP.
Up until now Walsh aka Mrs Shane Filan has allowed her light to shine somewhat under the Katona/Ahern bushel, but no longer apparently.
Wearing a spaghetti-strapped white top with indigo jeans and a heavy belt buckle, Walsh's hair was down and flush to her cheeks and she carried off a cheeky pose that would look perfectly cheesy on most other folks. The 24 year old blonde posed alongside the unusally-effervescent Georgina Ahern, herself no stranger to the limelight at this stage with her various modelling appreances, but it was Walsh who outshone the first daughter.
With the funky threads and youthful pose, there was a remarkable resemblance between her and Geordie MTV presenter Donna Air.
And while thats not neccessarily a bad thing.. we could be spared the grating Newcastle accent.
Shane: I'm a one girl man (4th April)
Westlife's Shane on why the band has a bright future
By Mickey Mcmonagle
They've just launched their latest sell-out world tour, their last album was a massive success and they have more fans than ever so why are people writing off Westlife just because one member has called it a day?
Since Bryan McFadden quit the band four weeks ago, speculation has been rife it was the end of the road for the Irish balladeers. But according to ladies' favourite Shane Filan, 24, quitting has never been further from the remaining foursome's minds.
He said: 'We're all very positive, we're very determined to show the world we're not like the Spice Girls or Take That. People thought we were splitting up a year and a half ago, we didn't. We did a very successful album and now we're doing a big tour on the back of it. The media always try to make out it's going to be over for us it's happening again and we've got to fight it.
'Obviously Bryan leaving was a big shock but now we're going to defy the odds again. That's our plan. We want to stick around for the next five years. We enjoy it too much to stop. Bryan wasn't happy but the rest of us were so there's no point in stopping.
'We feel we've really got a point to prove, to show the world we can do it as a four piece. Bryan not being there is hard but we've got to get on with it. The tour helped we went straight from the press conference to rehearsals so didn't have time to sit around thinking about it.'
While Shane won't quit the band like Bryan, he does understand why the father-of-two felt he had to turn his back on them.
He said: 'There are a lot of reasons why Bryan left. Just being in a band made him unhappy. When you're in a band people tell each other, 'We've got to do this or that'. Bryan didn't like that. He wanted to live his own life. He felt he'd done enough of Westlife, he'd done his six years and that was enough for him.
'It's like being in a football team, you have your position on the pitch like we have our positions in the band. Some people hang up their boots eventually, that's just the way it goes. In fairness to him, he was unhappy for quite a few months, he was missing his family and wasn't getting to see a lot of them. He thought he should chill out for six months or a year, spend time with his family and maybe do his own thing. We have to respect that decision, we can't hold somebody.'
Shane's empathy for Bryan perhaps comes from his love of his own family he married childhood sweetheart Gillian Walsh, 24, in December at Ballintubber Abbey, County Mayo.
He said: 'Gillian and I have been together for six years. Being in a long-term relationship helps keep your feet on the ground and your head grounded. It lets you concentrate on your work and go back to your happy, normal life. I've always tried to keep life as normal as possible but it's never going to be totally normal because of the fans, success and money we've made.
'But it's not about the money, it's about a happy life. Bryan made a lot of money but he wasn't happy so didn't want to continue making money he wanted to stop and be happy. That's a good way to understand how he was feeling.'
Shane is convinced the stability of his home life is vital to his happiness and helps him cope with the pressures of fame.
He said: 'Being married has been a big help. We've always broken the rules in Westlife if we had girlfriends we said we did, we never lied. If we wanted to get married we didn't hide it from the fans. I think it's very important we did that.
'Gillian is my solid rock. Whatever has happened, whatever may be getting me down, she's always been there for me. I chose to live the one-girl life and that's kept me sane. It kept me away from all the nonsense you can get involved in. If fans aren't happy with that they just have to deal with it we have to be sane at the end of the day and have to have as much of a normal life as possible for Westlife to continue.
'If that means one of us getting married, if that makes that person happy, then people should support and respect that. It makes us happier as a band and makes the band last longer.'
And lasting longer seems to be Westlife's sole aim. It's clear Shane is fired up for their next assault on the music world.
He said: 'We're in a strong position after the last album. It was a make-or-break record if it wasn't successful we probably would have called it a day. The fact it worked so well made us determined to do another one.
'We're doing the duets album next, working with legends such as Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. That's because our fan base has got a lot older recently we see a lot of housewives going daft at the gigs on a girls' night out. We want to give them the songs they loved when they were younger. It's good to cover all the angles.
'We're already planning dates for next year's tour and if the duets album is successful, we'll do a straight Westlife album after that. We'll keep making albums as long as we keep selling them.
'There is no definite shelf life for us now because our fan base's age group has grown so much. When they stop coming to the concerts, we'll stop making albums.'
It looks like Westlife will be making albums for quite some time - their latest tour's Glasgow dates sold out as soon as tickets went on sale. And while many pop stars moan about life on the road, Shane laps up the lifestyle.
He said: 'Touring is the most enjoyable part of Westlife you get to have more fun. You're doing the same gig every night so in a way you know you're going to go on and do a good show. It's a great buzz to go on stage every night for an hour and a half because you've worked so hard doing months of preparation before it. When you finally get to perform in front of people it's a really good feeling.
'Being away on tour is something we're all used to. We tour for three or four months every year and it's the best part of the year. You get to have every day off and do a gig at night. You can play golf, relax, go shopping, do whatever you want to do during the day.
'Luckily with the likes of Glasgow we get to play six shows so we're there for over a week you get to live in a city for a while and see the sights. You can settle a bit before you move on to the next place.'
And despite their whiter than white image, Shane reveals the boys have good memories of partying in Glasgow and they plan to hit the clubs again. He said: 'We're not mad party animals but we like to have a drink every now and then.
We usually wait until the weekend and go out after the show.
'We try to keep it to twice a week on the first tour we were out six nights a week. Now we realise you have to look after yourself and take care of your voice.
'Glasgow is a great town, it's very like Belfast when it comes to the crowd. They just go daft. We love going to Glasgow, it's a great night out afterwards as well. We're really looking forward to getting up there because the show is the best show we've done so far.'
Shane insists he hasn't considered his future beyond the band even in the wake of Bryan's departure.
He said: 'It hasn't made me consider my own long-term options because you can always go solo but can't always be in Westlife. You can only be in Westlife as long as it's successful and the fans are enjoying it. When the going is good you don't end it you go and do other stuff afterwards.
'Singing is what I'm good at. I've always liked it. If the band does end someday I'd like to keep singing but it's not something I'm thinking about. We're concentrating on the band now more than ever.
'Some day I will have time to sit down and think about what I want to do after Westlife. may want to start building houses or buying property or getting into different areas of life.
'There are lots of other ways of being happy and making a living. Either way, I'll be singing whether it's on MTV or in the pub down the road, I'll be singing somewhere.'
Shane Filan will be the next to quit Westlife according to his former manager Ronan Keating
Just a week ago Bryan Mcfadden sensationally announced his departure from the band.
And now it looks like Filan, 23, is set to do the same. Ronan, who launched a solo career in 1999, when his Irish outfit Boyzone split up said: "I have always thought Shane will be the one to break out to be on his own.
You need a lot of ambition and passion to make it as a solo star and Shane has got those qualities. He is the one in the group who has looked like to me to succeeding
All the boys are talented but he has always stood out as special and he is incredibly ambitious."
Shane himself has hinted that he's about to go it alone. In the band's last ever interview as a five-some he told hot he was desperate to carve out a solo career.
"When we finish all of us want to stay in the entertainment industry." He said. "I want to go off and do my own singing thing."
Shane has always been compared to Ronan, the only ex Boyzone member to have a huge impact on the charts.
And now with Westlife's future in doubt, it could be the ideal opportunity for him to get out.
The band and their fans were left shaken last week Bryan dropped the biggest pop bombshell since Robbie Williams left Take That.
Bry said he was leaving Shane, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily and Nicky Byrne so that he could spend more time with his wife Kerry and their daughters Molly and Lilly Sue.
The band have vowed to carry on without him but if Ronan's prediction is right and Shane departs, chances are Westlife will be no more.
Horoscope news (Thanx to Chelle) (14th March)
As the zodiac crab, Shane is intuitive and emotional,if not a little phychic! He feels things deeply and knows how to put his heart and soul into things. The down side may be a slight moodiness or crabbiness when he feels out of sorts, but he shares this in common with manager Louis Walsh, so there is always a listening ear that understands him both at work and home.
Shane also has venus in cancer which dictates his emotional and romantic responses. His sensitivity is further heightened by this extra dose of lunar illumination.
Gillian is all set to wear a smile on her face well into the future, as her knight in shining armour remains devoted and romantic over time. With Venus in Cancer Shane can be timid and therefore modest about his achievements. Success is not likely to go to his head.
Shane can be quite extrovert when he warms up. This placing needs a lot of mental stimulation and gets bored easily. He responds well to travel and his moon sign reveals that he is deeply committed to Westlife on an emotional leve. Fans can breathe a sigh of relief, for Shane is not likely to take the initiative on a solo career unless circumstances change, he is too invested in what he has brought him happiness, wealth and health so richly he deserves.
Congratualtions on your recent nuptials! Your love for the fair Gillian has spawned a fairytale come true, for now your princess will create a wonderful home of peace and harmony in Sligo. Your castle will be your fortress for years to come and there's not a dungeon or tinge of darkness on the horizon to threten your happiness.
Your so charming, that sleeping beauty didn't even have to fall into a slumber, before you planted a kiss on her lips and rescued her.
Of course you know that being the personable face of Westlife you could happily embark on a solo career. No don't panic I'm not recommending you go down this road, I'm merely pointing out that you are the only Westie with a hope in hell of going solo long term.
As described married life is all set to fill you with boundless joy in the time to come. It's plain to see you're both in it for the long haul. Fair play to you and Gillian, for your happiness is assured, so prepare for the line of nappies and the pitter patter of tiny feet: You need at least six kids rattling around you for completely blissful madness.
Of course once family life kicks in your priorities will start to change. I also pick up on an especially gifted daughter all set to land in your lap. She will inherit your singing talents, as well as being quite artistic and a bit of a drama queen.
Lil' radio interview with Shane, about the leave of Bryan (11th March)
Interviewer: Hi Shane
Shane: Jodi how are ya?
Interviewer: I’m fine how are you doing?
Shane: Not too bad
Interviewer: How are you feeling about it all now it all out in the open?
Shane: um *sighs* A bit relieved I suppose in a way coz the last 5 days have been very kinda obviously hush hush and trying to sort it out amongst ourselves first before obviously everyone found out. Umm but you know it’s a very emotional day for us the 5 of us umm a very weird day but ya know, Bryan I think is happier umm with his decision now and that I think is the most important thing that he’s happy and that we’re all happy in our life ya know and ya know sometimes things might sound great to people but ya know your job isn’t everything I think at the end of the day you’ve gotta be happy with your family and your personal life and that’s the most important thing.
Interviewer: Of course, now we saw in the press conference you were all very upset umm but is that upset bordering on anger as well considering you’ve got the tour coming up?
Shane: No to be honest we’re not really angry at all, ye cant be angry with someone Jodi that’s not happy ya know ye gotta respect his decision and I hope all the fans respect his decision it’s a very important decision you have to make but for us now obviously we’ve got the tour ya know it’s coming at a hard time for us now obviously to get this tour now together but we’re gonna get it together, it’s gonna be a fantastic show it was gonna be with Bryan but now it’s gonna be without Bryan we have to look at in that aspect and in that positive kinda way ya know and we’re going back to rehearsals now in about half an hour to keep our cool and we’ve got our first show in 20 days in Belfast but it’s gonna be a very kinda weird moment for us I think that night as well but it has to be in our eyes the best show of our life ya know
Interviewer: Is it a farewell tour?
Shane: No no definitely no not a hope umm no we’ve already planned the next album we’ve an album coming our in November first week of November it’s gonna be umm a duets album, even before Bryan left, he was doing the duets album, we’re gonna do the album and we’re gonna have a lot of big names on it and stuff every song on it is gonna be a duet. We might have a single out before then umm on our own as a band and after that then obviously we wanna tour, we wanna, we wanna stick together Jodi, that’s the way that we feel we’re only half way, we feel this band over the last year really have defied the odds that we’re sticking together and ya know we kinda gonna go on as a band and unfortunately Bryan isn’t gonna be a part of that but it’s just one of those blows ya kinda gotta pick yourself up and try and get on with it ya know. We need the luck now I think.
Interviewer: You’ll be fine.
Shane: Alright take care Jodi
Interview: *laughs* ok then bye
"Im Glad Ive got my Gill" (Thanx to Chelle again) - 8th March
The sexy power packed Mercedes 4X4 Thunders around the roads of Sligo, piloted by one of the most famous pop stars in the music industry today.
Its a head turing, status symbol motor that was the stuff of fantasy for the famous six years ago.
Car fanatic Shane Filan is living the hollywood dream with an amazing lifestyle funded by the multi millions that Westlife rake in from their CDs,tours and merchandising.
At the age of 24, Shane has packed more experiences into his short life than most people will do in their lifetime.
Shane first hit millionaires row a few years after he left college to become an overnight pop idol with Westlife.
But despite his enormous wealth, fame and the adulation he enjoys from beautiful women around the globe, Shane has retained his down home family values.
Just after Christmas the singer married his childhood sweetheart, Gillian Walsh, first cousin of Kian Egan. He reveals that he's looking foward to becoming a dad in the near future. So how does the next couple of years stay so normal? "Well" he laughs "I dont have any yes people in my life, my life is obviously extraordinary, but as a person im no different nor do I feel any different to anyone else, Gillian is very grounded, I respect her, my family have alwasys been there for me, I obviously have so much regard for mum and dad, I'd never do anything to upset them, but its not like im going to go off the rails anyway. What you see is what you get, Im the same guy off stage as the guy you see on stage.People interested in a career in pop or showbiz often ask 'what should I do?' and the simple answer is 'Be yourself' You cant fool people into believing you're something your not, people will see through it"
As a hunky heart throb with all the trappings of success Shane could have had his pick of beauties from around the world, but its his gorgeous childhood sweetheart, Gillian, who has held his love through out the phenomenal transformation of his life. Shane admits he almost failed his leaving cert because he was so besotted with Gillian,"Ive said this before, Gillian is stunning and shes got the perfect package for what I look for in a woman, and apart from her looks, Gillian has a great personality, you can live your life one way, Im a one woman guy, thats the way I've wanted it to be, I always wanted to find true love, I wanted to live my life this way and luckily I found Gillian before the band, I'd say I'd go mad in the head if I hadn't got her, there are so many temptations and it kind of plays with your head a bit. Fame causes many problems for people, it changes how people look at you, if I hadnt got Gillian I think I'd find it hard to trust any girl I met"
In the early days of Westlife Shane always denied having a girlfriend to protect Gillians privacy, who was doing a business studies degree at Sligos institute of Technology, "I didnt say anythign for a couple of years because its something we wanted to keep quiet" He reveals "Gillian was in college and she didnt want any hassel, she didnt want to be treated any differently to anyone else" Now going on six years in the fast lane of pop, Shanes schedule is busier than ever with plans this year to tour South Africa and China, it leaves little time for homelife.
Meteor Pary Gossip - by PAUL MARTIN (Thanx to Chelle) - 6th March
Hollyoaks babe Jodi Albert gas revealed she is not ready to become the next Westlife bride saying "I'm far too young for that"
The stunning 20 year old who is dating Kian Egan, told me she wants to concentrate on her career before taking the plunge.
Jodi said "I'm far too young for that, there are so many things I want to do first career-wise, Kian and I have a great relationship but we're not ready to go into marriage yet"
Asked if when the big day comes she would sell the photographs to a celebrity magazine she said "I'd have to think about that one because you'd have to weigh up all the options at the time. When people offer you big money you'd have to think about it but it would depend on whether it takes over the whole day and ruins it"
While she wasn't sure about her wedding plans she was left in no doubt about what Kian thought of her dress. "He really liked it" she said, that was plain to see at the aftershow party in Lillie's Bordello, Kian didn't take his eyes off her all night.
The Meteor awards turned into a battle of the aftershow parties as stars danced the night away. I teamed up with music boss Louis Walsh to tour the parties first stop was the official party in Spirit,we then headed to Ireland's top showbiz haunt Lillies Bordello where Westlife had booked out the VIP suite for an exclusive bash.
Westlife Star Shane Filan and wife Gillian were among the first to arrive, she told me "It's been an amazing night so we're out to have some fun now" After a week which a charity cruelly blasted the couples wedding guests for not donating enough money at the reception Gillian commented "We're just keen to put it all behind us and get on with things. It's been a tough week but we can let our hair down tonight"
Jungle queen Kerry Mcfadden was dishing out the hugs and kisses,when I spotted her giving Mark Feehily a huge cuddle she laughed "Ok Paul you've got the story-Mark and I are having an affair" Perhaps Kerry is plotting a pop comeback she was locked in conversation with Louis Walsh for over an hour.
Bryan Mcfadden may have worked with Simon Casey on last years You're a star show but thats where the friendship ends, asked if he'd someday like to see Simon win best pop act he screeched "No of course not,thats like saying you'd like your next-door neighbour to be the father of your kids"
SHANES SORROW (27th February - typed up by Chelle again, thanx hun!)
Exclusive: Hurt Westlife Star hits back in hospice donation row.
Westlife star Shane Filan last tonight told of his hurt and anger at allegations that his wedding guests were misers for not donating enough to charity.
IN an exclusive interview with the Irish Mirror the singer said "Whether it was 1,000e or 50,000e donated we were trying to do an honourable thing and make a positive difference"
He revealed how:
His wife Gillian had been reduced to tears by the accusations.
They never promised a guaranteed amount to the NWH in Sligo, and
Only a fraction of the guests were celebrities with big money to spend.
The 24 year old star from Sligo said "Im hurt by the report that the hospice said they were disappointed with the money we raised, If anyone else had walked in and handed over 10,000e in donations they would have been thrilled, My wife is very upset too and this wasnt some kind of huge showbiz wedding, she was in tears-who wouldnt be when the open the paper in the morning to read things like that about the biggest day in their life?
There were only about five VIP guests at it and the rest were close friends and family-not multi millionaires"
But despite his anger, the kind hearted star even urged more people to donate to the hospice adding "Forget my experience, I would still definitely urge as many people as possible to keep donating money to the charity, I could never be so selfish as to say that I dont want them to receive donation from anyone else, The people who work there are really friendly,nice,helpful people,thats why we wanted to help them from the wedding day, we just wanted some good to come out of our big day,thats all. I dont think anyone who went to the wedding deserved to be called misers, These are our close friends and family, people we love and respect, it was a magical day and the bottom line is we also managed to raise a good amount of money. That 10,000e could make a difference and help someone and I think no matter how big or small a donation people should always be encouraged to do their best to raise money for charities"
As a storm brewed yesterday over the charity donation released an official statement"
Finbarr about this all..
Yesterday Shane Filans Brother Finbarr-who was best man at the December 28th wedding at Ashford castle-praised the couples generosity.
He said "Shane and Gillian asked the folks to donate money to the hospice, they didnt tell them. Our aunt died 10 years ago of cancer and the hospice in our area helped her at that time, any chance we get we all donate and help out because we really believe its a very deserving charity.
I know people who donated money through the wedding invitations which had a bank account number provided, and people did actually bring gifts, I also know friends of mine who went and donated by normal channels as they didn’t want to be known they were donating because they were going to Shane Filans wedding."
He said he personally carried 800e to the donation bucket after one table bet on how long shanes wedding speech would be.
Finbarr also told of his disappointment at the outcome of Shanes kind gesture.
He said "In the future people like Shane and Gillian may be wary of putting their names forward to be associated with a charity that may come back and bite the hand that feeds"
Shane and Gillian angry at hospital (27th February) (Thanx to Chelle for typing
We are very disappointed by the coverage in a number of papers regarding the charitable donations generated by our wedding, which was very deliberately a private celebration for close family and friends.
We did not request that our guests make a donation to the NWH instead of presents, but our guests were under absolutely no obligation to do so.
However, we know for a fact that donations were made via normal channels, which would not appear to have been generated by our wedding.
Many preferred to give gifts while others made donations to their own charities on our behalf.
We gave no guarantee to the NWH as to any minimum amount they could expect, and are shocked and surprised that they would decide to go public with the amounts recieved,and even give indications as to who donated.
We deliberately chose a local charity, which is supported in a variety of ways by the very same local community that made up 95% of our guest list.
We had always understood that charity is a private and personal matter, but apparently that is not the case.
Our guests, family and friends have been described in very disparaging terms, prompted by the actions of the NWH.
Whatever their reason for seeking this publicity, their actions have embarrassed allot of people.
This may serve their purpose of generating further donations, but we found the actions of the NWH far from charitable"-Statement from Shane and Gillian Filan
Wedded to Westlife (24th February) (HUGE thanx to Rach
4 $hane a.k.a Lynx from the official boards for typing it up!)
Shane Filan is settling down to married life - but he isn't ready to give up his busy schedule with Ireland's biggest boy band.
"We didn't have any Westlife records playing at the wedding", reveals Shane Filan of the Irish pop pin ups. "The last thing I wanted was to hear our music coming through the speakers!"
The 24-year-old married his childhood sweetheart Gillian Walsh at historic Ballintubber Abbey in Co Mayo in Ireland at the end of last year.
Shane revealed the newly-weds chose (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, the theme music to the hit film Dirty Dancing, as their first dance.
"It's a song which is very special to us," says Shane. "The lyrics mean a great deal and sum up what we mean to each other.
"To be fair it was over in a flash because the DJ put an uptempo song on next and everyone joined us on the dance floor."
Having enjoyed a fortnight long honeymoon in The Maldives, Shane is now back at work with band mates Bryan, Kian, Nicky and Mark.
They are currently preparing for the release of their new single Obvious on Monday. The track, by Shane's own admission, is true to the Westlife sound - a ballad.
"It's a back to basics song for us," says Shane "We feel ballads are what we should be doing so why change? It's what the fans want."
The single release will be closely followed by Westlife hitting the road for a major UK arena tour which kicks off at the end of next month. The 41-date show schedule includes a trio of gigs at the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield on Thursday 29th April, Friday 30th April and Saturday May 1.
"We have just started thinking about what songs to put in the set and practicing dance routines," says Shane. "We also want to make some dramatic entrances and exits to keep it interesting and fresh."
"The medley went down really well last time, so we will be keeping that in, It's going to be cool. We want the show to be a real talking point and better than ever before."
The end of the UK tour will then see the band head across the globe as far afield as Cape Town, Beirut and Toyko and then back home to Europe.
Shane says audience reaction to the band's shows differ greatly across the world: "In Japan the fans are very reserved. They won't scream while we are singing and then when we get to the end they clap. It's all very civilised. When we go to Indonesia you can't even hear yourself sing for the noise. It is fever pitch. I think part of the reason is that we don't get over there very often so the fans want to make the most of it."
The summer will see the band heading into the recording studio to work on their sixth album.
Shane revealed the group has big plans for their next creative efforts - an album of duets with some of the biggest names in music.
"Nothing is set in stone just yet but that is the plan," he says. "We think it would be a great idea. But for it to work we need the A-list celebrities - Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie and Elton John. It's just a question of wheter they want to work with us!"
Westlife's success speaks for itself. They have now clocked up worldwide sales of 32 million, picked up two BRIT Awards and MTV award. And then there is their domination of the Record of the Year which they have now won three times. They are reigning 2003 champions after picking up the gong for their own rendition of the Barry Manilow classic Mandy.
"Beyone's Crazy In Love was my record of the year," admits Shane. "But the fans decide and our fanbase voted for us - simple as that really."
Looking to the future Shane is hoping for at least five more years of chart success with Westlife but hasn't ruled out a hot at solo fame.
"It is something I would consider, but only when Westlife split up. To be fair, I cannot see myself doing anything else but singing for a living.
"Where that is, be it at the top of the charts or in a pub, who knows."
Married Life is best! (24th February)
(Thanx to Chelle for typing this
Westlife star Shane Filan has revealed that the last two months of his marriage have been the happiest of his life.
The singer says he loves been married to wife Gillian - after getting hitched in Mayo just after Christmas.
He said "It's been the best two months of my life, we've been so happy since the wedding, we feel a lot closer now and I just feel a lot happier" He said they loved their honeymoon in the exclusive resort in the Maldives, he added "It was very peaceful, but thats what we wanted"
Shane said they are looking foward to moving into their luxuary home in Sligo in six weeks time, he said "It's a big six bedroom house with a snooker room and a cinema, it's nearly finished"
Shane also said he invested in a helicopter to beat rush hour traffic between Sligo and Dublin. "I've always wanted one" the star claimed, Shane recently jetted off to India with the band to film their latest video for their single Obvious, he said "It was in the middle of nowhere on a deserted beach, we were out there for four days and got to see a bit of India aswell"