I really relished being hated by fans, says ex-soap star Jason
He once played heart-throb Luke Musgrove in top TV drama Brookside, but Dublin actor Jason Kavanagh says his soap days were surreal.
"When I recall memories from that time, it was almost as if it was happening to a different person," he told the Herald.
"It feels like I'm watching a movie of someone else's life when I look back on those days."
In the early Noughties, Jason was dating fellow soap star Natalie Casey and was at the forefront of some of the show's most scandalous storylines.
"I was part of the first drug date rape story ever broadcast on English-speaking television," he said.
"It caused a lot of press at the time and led to a lot of other story- lines that hadn't been explored on TV before."
However, being part of such a topical story does have its down sides.
"I was a reviled public figure for a while," said Jason. "I loved it. People found it hard to differentiate between me and my character, so for a while I had to go out wearing big baseball caps or glasses with no lenses in them in an attempt to disguise myself."
It wasn't all bad, though, as Jason also had a very substantial fan base.
"I used to receive a lot of letters back in the day," he said.
"A lot of them were nice teenage cutesy letters and cards, but some of them I must admit were much more intense.
"Some women would send me letters asking me to save them from their awful relationships - that was quite intense because I was only in my early 20s at the time."
Jason went on to star in BBC2 drama Tinsel Town and appeared in a number of successful stage plays in Ireland.
However, his focus is now on the family business of Genius clothing and footwear stores.
The enterprise's Exchequer Street store celebrated its first birthday with quite the bash on Thursday night.
"It was a brilliant night, we had such a good time," said Jason.
"Having the band Missing Andy over to help us celebrate was incredible as well.
"We couldn't have had a better party if we'd tried."