Yvonne Keating on her children spending time with Ronan's girlfriend Storm
‘Your kids... are with someone else. And it is not your best friend and it is not your mother’
Yvonne Keating says she finds it difficult when her children spends time with their father Ronan Keating and his new partner Storm Uechtritz.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent Life, mum-of-three Yvonne (40), who was married to the Boyzone frontman for 14 years before they split in the summer of 2012, said she struggles with it but says the time the children spend with Ronan and Storm is “great for them”.
The former couple have three children together – son Jack (14), and daughters Missy (13) and eight-year-old Ali. Their marriage collapsed following allegations of an affair between Ronan and backing dancer Francine Cornell in 2011. The couple attempted to fix their marriage but a year later, decided they should split.
“It’s not easy. I have never tried to claim that myself and Ronan still.... I read an article at the weekend saying how, ‘Oh, we reunited for Ali’s Communion’. It makes it sound all so easy. It’s not. And it would be unjust of me to imply that it is all so easy to all the other estranged couples out there.
“You know, women and men who want to pull their hair out with the frustrations of dealing with an estranged wife or your children going off to live with someone who you don’t necessarily even get on with.
“What I find difficult at the moment is your kids going off to spend time with their father – which is brilliant for them and they absolutely love it – but you have got to, kind of, let go of them, because they are with someone else.” It’s thought she is referring to Storm Uechtritz, Ronan’s girlfriend of 19 months.
“And it is not your best friend and it is not your mother,” she added.
Yvonne accepts that this is part of the new vulnerability she is embracing following her split from Ronan.
“Yeah, but I still struggle with that. And I’m sure Ronan struggles with it too,” she says, referring to the time their children spend with her partner of two years John Conroy.
Yvonne is appearing on RTE One’s The Family Project. Her episode will be broadcast on Monday night at 8pm.
In it, Yvonne is a mentor to a woman in Kilkenny.
“For me, this programme is a lot about education. She didn’t finish her Leaving [Cert]. She wants to go back to education. She is concerned about her children’s education and she wants more for her kids.”
When Yvonne first read the proposal for the programme on paper, she was immediately interested in meeting the woman, “but I am not hugely ambitious when it comes to my career. My kids come first. So I don’t say yes to everything.
“Yet, when I read it, I thought I could really see the struggle this woman is going through. I was really interested in helping, but then I was really cautious of turning up on her doorstep, all glamorous with a magic wand. They said, ‘How are you going to be her mentor.’ I said, ‘How am I going to help her?’
“I thought to myself, ‘First of all, I’m just going to listen to her.’ Because I’m sure, if she’s finding things tough, I know that when I’ve opened up to people, the problem has been halved. I thought she would probably appreciate someone just listening.
“And not just me – a TV show. And to know that people will come and help her with suggestions and comments. In actual fact, when I went down to her, I thought her situation was going to be a lot worse. I thought she was going to be totally helpless. In reality, she is an amazing woman.”
Read the full exclusive interview with Yvonne Keating by Barry Egan in today's Sunday Independent Life