Tuesday 25 June 2019

Model son of scandal priest makes catwalk debut

Claire McNeilly

THE son of the controversial ‘Singing Priest’ who had an illicit relationship with his housekeeper has made his modelling debut in Belfast.

Ross Hamilton Cleary first strutted his stuff on the catwalk at the Magners Light Spring into Summer event at St George’s Market on Tuesday.

And, last night, the gorgeous 32-year-old was a big hit with the fashion world once again after this time stepping out in the Remus Uomo collection at the ‘Deadly Designer’ themed show.

Speaking in Belfast, the model said he was no stranger to the limelight.

“I’ve been dealing with being in the public eye since I was 16 or 17, because the scandal first broke the week after my dad died,” he said.

“Before that, I was looking to be an actor and it was quite uncomfortable at that point ... But I’ve dealt with my demons since then and I want to get on with my life and I might as well put myself in the public eye as I’m already in it.” He added: “I did some photographic work years ago, but this is my first time on the catwalk and we’ll see where it takes me. I’m also putting myself out there as an actor, so this will hopefully help with stage fright!” Dublin-based Ross caused a media sensation over a decade ago after it emerged he was the son of Father Michael Cleary and his housekeeper, Phyllis Hamilton.

Fr Cleary — who hosted his own TV chat show and phone-in radio show — released bestselling albums as ‘The Singing Priest’ and wrote a book about the challenge of faith in the modern world.

A month after the Ballyfermot priest died, aged 60, from cancer in 1993, details of his secret life slid into the public domain. In 2001, his common law wife Phyllis died at the age of 60, from cancer.

The budding actor said he felt he was finally coming to terms with his immense loss.

“I would love it if mum and dad were still around to see me start on this new path,” he said.

“But I know that they’re not going to be here to see whatever successes I’m going to have between now and the future and I’ve already made peace with that.”

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