'People expect there to be bulls*** behind the stories, but it's a smooth break-up,' says Brian McFadden
Published 19/10/2015 | 07:32
Google Brian McFadden and look at the news results. It's all personal stuff, isn't it?
McFadden's separation from his second wife, Vogue Williams; McFadden talking about his two children; McFadden's new partnership with a Scottish vodka brand (that last one is a bit of a curveball).
There's little or no mention of the former Westlife member-turned solo singer's new music. Not that this is of any surprise to the man himself.
"Yeah, I never really understood it," says McFadden (35). "At the beginning of my career, I probably courted it a little bit more, you know, selling stories to magazines for money about my personal life, but that was a long, long time ago.
"I guess if you start it, you've gotta accept that that's gonna go on for a long time, so I don't really care anymore. With social media, it's kind of hard to have a personal life, because we give so much up on Twitter"
Well, that's ironic. Just last week, Brian McFadden posted a picture of himself with the aforementioned Vogue Williams at an event in London.
After three years of marriage, the pair announced their split during the summer, and their decision to remain close friends - and to publicise this online - has left many showbiz writers scratching their heads.
"I don't really think about it like that," says McFadden. "We don't find it that interesting. We're just getting on with our lives. We have our friendship, and that's the most important thing to us.
"We didn't have a messy break-up, and people always expect there to be some kind of bull**** behind the stories - 'of course they're fighting, but they're just saying it's amicable'.
"For us, it was [amicable], we had a very smooth break-up, and we're still very good friends.
"It seems to be everyone else that's making a big hoo-hah over it," he says, laughing. "We're happy and that's it, and everyone else seems to be making such a big issue about the fact that we're friends after breaking up. Hopefully, it'll get easier for everyone else to accept."
Last month, McFadden's comeback single, Call On Me Brother, failed to leave a dent on the Irish charts. It wasn't supposed to, he insists. It's all about the album (due in 2016), and the only reason McFadden has decided to reignite his music career is because he wants to.
Music is his "first love". If everything goes well, then that's cool. If it doesn't, it's no big deal. Music is one of many strings to the London-based performer's bow (for a while there, McFadden was a hit Down Under on Australia's Got Talent, and has also enjoyed success as a radio DJ and television host, with ITV's daytime cooking show, Who's Doing the Dishes?).
There never was an ambitious, 10-year career plan after leaving Westlife in 2004.
"I don't think I ever thought about it," he says. "When I was working in McDonalds, if you had told me that six weeks later, I was gonna be signed [with Westlife] in the UK and touring with Boyzone, I probably wouldn't believe you. I never try and think forward, and to be honest with you, I'm pretty happy with how my career has gone."
I wonder if McFadden ever regrets leaving Westlife before they experienced a second wave of success as a four-piece?
"Maybe if we all had taken a break for six months - possibly a year, at the time that I left, then maybe I would have stayed and we would have carried on but that's all hindsight now," he says. "The boys didn't want to take a break, so I don't regret my decision."
Indeed, Westlife thrived for a further eight years following McFadden's departure. That must have come as some shock to the system?
"No, I always thought the band was gonna continue," he responds. "They were happy doing what they were doing. I was the one that wasn't happy, not taking a break and not being able to spend time with my family. I was actually surprised when Westlife did end. I thought they would have probably lasted forever."
But isn't 14 years at the top is one heck of a lifetime for a boy band? "Not really, because Westlife was never a boy band, in the original sense of a boy band," he argues.
"It wasn't like New Kids on the Block where they're dancing around, wearing colourful clothes. Westlife were always more of a pop vocal group, really." But doesn't he remember the matching white outfits? "Nothing wrong with them," he replies, "it got us a deal with Daz, didn't it?"
Moving swiftly along, would McFadden ever consider a reunion with his former band mates?
"It depends on the situation. If it came up at the right time, and it felt right for everybody, I'm sure it could possibly happen, but right now, it's not right for anybody and no-one's even talking about it. Everybody in the world's talking about it except for the five members.
"To be honest with you, even if they were to do a reunion, there's probably more of a chance that the four of them would get back together, because they were together as a four-piece longer than a five-piece."
Still, never say never. McFadden's daughters, Molly (14) and Lilly-Sue (12), from his first marriage to Kerry Katona, have expressed an interest in following in their father's footsteps. But he's not having any of it.
"I want them to have an education," he insists.
"The most important thing to me is they have their education first, and once they have that, they can try whatever they want, and then they'll get my full support."
Living in London means McFadden is closer to his kids, even if he is considering a full-time move back to Dublin in the New Year.
"Putting my family and friends first now is the most important thing," he says. "I enjoy working, but I'd never put work before my family again. I did that for too long."
So, is Brian McFadden happy? "I am. I'm not the happiest I've ever been, but no matter what's going on in my life, I'll always be happy."
Brian McFadden plays Whelan's on November 4