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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Seoige just latest to see marriage break down under strain of fame

NIAMH HORAN Entertainment News Reporter

Published 25/01/2009 | 00:00

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The marriage of RTE presenter Sile Seoige has become the latest in a long line of celebrity relationships to dissolve under the bright lights of fame.

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As she announced her "amicable" split from technical director Glen Mulcahy, the 29-year-old Connemara starlet joined the ranks of Irish personalities who have watched their careers flourish as their marriages frittered away.

Friends of Seoige say they were "not surprised" upon hearing the news and described Sile as "an extremely ambitious person".

The Galway-born presenter who commuted between her husband's home in Galway and her job in Dublin -- where she stayed five days a week since landing the Seoige presenting gig, met Mulcahy before she made the move to mainstream TV.

Another person who has had to deal with the breakdown of a marriage after climbing the golden rungs of stardom is RTE newsreader Sharon Ni Bheolain.

Last September, she was forced to release a statement that her short marriage to freelance cameraman Kevin Cantrell had come to an end as rumours abounded in media circles about the presenter's private life.

The pair, who were married for six years and have a five-year-old daughter, Faye, separated in 2005 -- just as Ni Bheolain became a permanent fixture on the Six One News.

Fellow blonde newsreader Claire Byrne is yet another media beauty who experienced the difficulties of marital breakdown as her career skyrocketed.

As the smiling image of the pretty news anchor was beamed nightly into thousands of homes across the country, her private life was slowly falling asunder.

The former TV3 star split from radio company boss Richard Johnson in 2006 after just three years of marriage.

Referring to the "horrendous" break-up she described it as "the worst part of my life" and said: "It was really difficult. It's something that I feel I'm emerging from now. Anyone will tell you that it's a pretty horrendous thing to go through but to have to do so in the public eye makes it 10 times worse."

Other stars who eventually discovered that love and fame are often immiscible include RTE broadcasters Ryan Tubridy and larger-than-life Gerry Ryan -- who split from his childhood sweetheart Morah after 26 years of marriage.

Before the split from wife Anne-Marie Power, Tubridy spoke of the pressures a show business career puts on family life. In 2004, he told the RTE Guide his wife was the "picture of tolerance". "I'm probably not the easiest person to live with. I probably talk about myself too much and the job."

Speaking since about the difficulties of dating when you're one of the most well-known faces in the business, he said: "Now I know what happens when I go somewhere with somebody. If anyone benefits from being seen with me, well done to them, I can't help it," he said.

Other high profile splits include Prime Time co-host Miriam O'Callaghan, who split from RTE host Tom McGurk, before meeting second husband Steve Carson.

Fellow RTE presenter Mary Wilson also endured a painful marriage split with the station's soccer correspondent Tony O'Donoghue in 2005 after 11 years together.

RTE's Charlie Bird spoke at length about the pain of a marriage breakdown in his autobiography This Is Charlie Bird. He split from his wife, Mary O'Connor, in 1998 after a 24-year marriage.

In addition to the stress of your relationship subjected to public scrutiny, partners of rising stars have to deal with early starts, long working hours and, perhaps the most difficult of all, their partner's sex symbol status among the viewing public.

TV3 news presenter Colette Fitzpatrick previously spoke about the admiration TV stars enjoy, saying, "We all get items sent to us in the post -- letters and postcards and things. Some people have a favourite presenter and will send them little presents," she explained.

"You do get all sorts of compliments, but you wouldn't want to take it too seriously -- it's just a by-product of the job."

Across the water, former GMTV star Fiona Phillips is one of the few personalities to admit the great strain that working on television places on a marriage.

The presenter, who quit the breakfast show, said that the early starts required for the job affected her relationship with her husband.

"Every time I open a crowded cupboard in our minimalist house I think: 'God, is no one else going to sort this out?' It's all down to me. Some women have criticised me for saying that you can't have it all, but you really can't."

A new year, another marriage split, and it seems the star's anti-feminist assertion is beginning to make a lot of sense.

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