X-factor judge and pop supremo Louis Walsh has said that if he knew Boyzone's Stephen Gately was gay at the time of picking the five members for Boyzone he would have thought twice about choosing the singer.
The outspoken music mogul said his reservations about including a gay member in the band was due to the fact that "it wasn't cool then to have a gay guy in the band".
Walsh made the admission in an interview with the Irish Times in which he said he had no idea Stephen Gately was gay when he auditioned for Boyzone -- and only discovered the truth two months after the band's formation.
"I had no idea, on my mother's life," he said. "He was absolutely paranoid about it coming out. I remember I put him sitting on Ruby Wax's knees and married him off to Mandy Smith. In the end, he was forced out by The Sun."
The pop manager also explained how he didn't know Westlife's Mark Phelan was gay when he hand-picked him for his subsequent boy group.
"I didn't know about Mark either. Even his best friends in Sligo didn't know. When he said he liked Mariah Carey and Eurovision, alarm bells went off," he quipped. "But I didn't say anything."
The Mayo-born music boss made the admission as he voiced his views on unfair prejudice saying: "I think people are racist and homophobic. They just pretend they're not. It's the way we're brought up."
His comments come in the same week that Boyzone became the first boyband to feature a gay couple in their video.
As part of the music video for their new single Better, singer Stephen Gately pairs up with a male actor for the hands on scenes. Although the other Boyzone members teamed up with girls, Stephen wanted to move things forward.
Speaking about the scenes he said: "For me, it's just me being me and I don't think there should be a real big issue about the whole thing anyway."