Shane interview - Sunday World MagazinePublished: January 2005?
Typed up by: Me
By Eddy Rowley
More than a year after he wed his childhood sweetheart Gillian Walsh (a cousin of band mate Kian Egan) in a fairytale ceremony, Shane Filan is a picture of happiness as contentment. As she strolls along the sweeping balcony of a London penthouse, the millionaire singer glances over at an exclusive apartment block where Robbie Williams is one of the residents. You can sense Filan (25) is thanking his lucky stars.
The pop idol makes no reference to Robbie who is constantly bemoaning the fact that he can’t find love, nor to former Westlife star Brian McFadden, who is battling the personal hell of a marriage break-up, but you can be sure the stark contrast in their lives in not lost on him.
Dressed casually after swapping his sharp dark suit for jeans and T-shirt, Shane, appears to be totally confident that he has found the right partner in life.
“Married life is fantastic; it’s everything I hoped and more. I’d recommend it to everyone he tells SWM. “Obviously it’s different strokes for different folks, but for me it was the right thing to do. It was the best day of my life. It was the best fairytale wedding I could have imagined. Since then, myself and Gillian have become even closer.”
Just before Christmas, Shane and Gillian finally moved into their palatial home in Sligo. It was a momentous moment in their relationship, which was marked by tears of joy.
“We were crying and hugging each other as we wandered through the rooms”, Shane reveals to SWM. “I couldn’t believe that, finally, we’d got it. We had been looking at it going up brick by brick and it seemed to take forever. It was an exciting time, and a frustrating time.” “No it’s finally completed. It really has been worth the wait because it’s perfect. I feel very content with the way my life is, especially since I moved into the house. That was a milestone in my life. I have my dream house and it’s sorted. And, of course, I have Gillian sharing it with me. We’re just so happy together”, says Shane. “The minute Westlife got a few number ones I said ‘Right, we are building a house. I’m going to make loads of money now, everything is going great, so I can build a big house’.”
Despite living an extraordinary life, Shane has never lost touch with his roots and his best pals are still guys from his home town. “I have a group of friends back home”, he says, “Two of my best mates are Brian and Keith. They have stood by me. I have other mates as well; there’s Paul, Rory and a few other lads, But mainly it’s Keith and Brian.”
“I’ve known Brian since I was four and Keith I’ve known for 10 or 12 years. It’s great that through the band they’ve still stayed loyal because sometimes it can affect relationships. You just go different ways and some people might not be able to deal with it. The people that do obviously stay your friends.”
Throughout the six yeas of major league success in the music industry, there has never been a whiff of scandal, not a single kiss-and-tell story, surrounding Shane. He has emerged a superstar with his reputation and integrity intact.
“There are things I wouldn’t do because of my family and my mates”, Shane says, commenting on his behaviour as a pop star. “You don’t want your family looking at the papers and seeing you falling out of clubs. I don’t think, outside the band, my personality has changed. I don’t think any of us have. I think we’ve dealt with it really well.” “We know that we are lucky, but we’ve also worked hard. We’ve worked our arses off in the last six years. It’s what you make of it as well as being in the right place at the right time and getting the breaks. That’s something the five of us had, and now the four of us still have, it sets us apart from a lot of other groups. We are still willing to put in the work.” Despite spending the last six years touring the world, Sligo town has never lost its appeal for Shane.
“I have a very normal life in Sligo”, he says. “I hang out with my pals, go to the local clubs. We get treated the same as everyone else.” “The only time we get treated a bit differently is when we run into students who are not from the town. There’s a college in the town, so there are students from all over. They’re not used to us, so we get a bit of attention from them sometimes.” “But it’s never bad, it’s only fingers pointing at you, that kind of thing. I’ve never had abuse thrown at me. In general I get peace in Sligo.”