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Mary's not my aunt, says Westlife Nicky -- it was just a twitter joke

Westlife's Nicky Byrne says he had no idea that a joke about Mary Byrne, left, being his aunt would cause such stir.

The Dublin-born singer explained how he caused a stir on his Twitter page when he made a light-hearted quip claiming that he and the talented Ballyfermot singer were closely related.

Nicky, right, told the Herald how his satirical comments were quickly taken out of context by fans and the media, who wasted little time in bombarding him with questions about the gag.

The 32-year-old singer says he did his best to clarify the matter immediately by posting another comment which made it clear it wasn't true, however the damage was already done by then. It all got a bit out of hand before I knew it," Nicky said.

"I was just having a laugh by posting that she was my aunt on Twitter. She's not obviously but I thought it would be funny to just say something about her being my favourite auntie.

"The next thing I knew Louis (Walsh) was phoning me asking what was going on. It was all just a joke. I don't think anyone took it too seriously or was too upset about it. It just goes to show the power of Twitter though," he added.