Ronan Keating: I wanted to run away from everything
Text & Photos: Ang Kai Fong
Videos: Fiona Lin
His solo career might have been marked by a never-ending series of successes but that’s not to say Ronan Keating’s had it easy in life – not when it means having to deal with your mother’s death at the age of 20, your close friend and bandmate’s sudden passing years later, then a break-up in your 14-year marriage, all in the public eye.
“I wanted to run away from it all,” the “Life Is A Rollercoaster” singer revealed in an interview with xinmsn last Friday. “I’ve been through some times I’ve never expected, I found myself in a headspace I never imagined I could be in… It’s not nice.”
The 35-year-old’s divorce from his childhood sweetheart Yvonne Connolly made headlines after news of his affair with a backing dancer broke in 2010. This, after 14 years of keeping up with his “perfect husband” image.
“Some things are my own fault,” the father of three admitted. “It’s hard to deal with that but then there’s all the things that are created because of what you’ve done, all the issues… those times were tough.”
“People” and “the songs (he) wrote and recorded” helped him through the rough years, Keating said, adding that he wouldn’t have been able to do it alone.
“It’s about having somebody to be able to lean on,” he let on. “Because we’re all very independent and sometimes we don’t do that. We think ‘I’m okay; I’m strong enough; I can stand on my own two feet’ but we can’t, at times. It’s hard to say that but I have been able to and I’ve had those people help me.”
Also turning to the one thing he knew best, the popular Boyzone member started writing again. “They (the songs he wrote) gave me positivity; they gave me hope; they gave me somewhere to focus on… and that was what I needed.”
Eighteen months on, the Irish singer is back to his roots, promoting his fifth and latest pop album which he thought was “the best record I’ve ever made”.
“Fires” – it was aptly named, for “long before there were lighthouses and electronic lights, fires are what guided people,” he explained. “I needed that help and I hope that this album can do that for people who need it, guide them when they’re in the darkest times.”
It’s clear the Dublin-born singer, who was just 16 when he began living out his life in the public gaze, is more than happy now that he’s back doing his thing – and there’s no stopping him, it seems.
“For me, longevity is the greatest achievement in my career. I hope that I can just continue to do this, I hope to be here again in another twenty years,” Keating said with a hearty laugh.
And his key to longevity is?
To not take yourself too seriously, he grinned.
“When I was really young, I wanted this so bad. I worked so hard that I took myself a little too seriously… I think you need to be able to stand back, look at yourself and laugh sometimes.”
The Australian X Factor judge laughed again when we quizzed him about his TV producer girlfriend Storm Uechtritz, whom he’s said to have met on the set of the reality singing contest.
“It’s private between us but we’re happy,” he said. “Life is good, thank god.”