'JORDAN – I want to f**k Kian Egan.' I remember well the day this indelicate headline appeared on the front page of the News Of The World in May, 2003. After all, I was in the then Westlife star's penthouse apartment in Fulham with him and his manager Louis Walsh.
Kian was almost Zen calm about it all. He sat by the piano playing Bach (his brother Gavin – who taught music at Sheffield University at the time – taught him the classical piano as a kid in Sligo).
"To be honest, when I met Jordan she seemed like a nice girl and then she obviously just took advantage of the whole thing and that was it," Kian said that night in London, before adding, about perhaps the most publicity-seeking and surgically redone glamour model of them all: "I've had Jordan come on to me 101 times in nightclubs. But what's the point? She's only coming on to me to sell the story."
Over 10 years later, Kian Egan is the King of the Jungle, having won I'm A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here! on ITV last December, and has become a bigger star than he ever was during his illustrious time – 40 million records sold – in Westlife.
Now, as he did then, Kian (who has long since happily married actress and singer Jodi Albert: the happy couple met in 2003 and later tied the knot in a Barbados wedding in May 2009) has a simple approach to surviving tabloid intrusion.
"Honestly? Ignore it. Just ignore it. It is not real. It really isn't,'' he told the Sunday Independent.
"None of that is real in my life. My real life is my two-year-old boy running around here this morning,'' he says, referring to Koa, "and him asking me not to go to work again because he's missing daddy. That's what's real for me. And me and my wife talking about having another baby. That's what's real. All these others things – it is just work."
His international fame certainly skyrocketed after he emerged triumphant from the jungle last year. Before going in, he admits, that he knew that it was going to a challenge physically as well as psychologically.
"You actually spend a bit of time with a psychiatrist before you go in. First of all, they are evaluating you and going through whether they think you will be able for it."
As events proved, the Sligo superstar was more than able for the demands.
"I had been in a band, so I was used to being around a lot of people and being in a situation where you had to make decisions as a group and as a unit. Being a member of band for a long time, that really helped me. I think a lot of things that annoyed people in there, didn't annoy me. I was just myself in there."
Now 33 years old, a Voice of Ireland judge as well having a debut solo album imminent, things have never looked better for Egan. And despite their busy careers, he and his wife Jodi are looking at adding to their brood.
"Of course, we'd love to have another baby,'' he says.
"That is something that we've always wanted. Jodi is busy at the minute and I am busy at the minute, but I definitely think we'll get to summertime and we'll start not being so careful about things like that, if you like.
"But you know that's if we are blessed with another baby. I suppose we take it for granted in life. 'Oh, of course we're going to have another baby.' We hope to have another baby. We can't leave the little guy on his own. He is such a great little character."