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It's bye zone

The happy-ever-after has ended for another celebrity couple, and part of us doesn't like it. Boyzone crooner Ronan Keating and his former-model wife Yvonne Connolly living happily ever after in their expansive mansion in Abington in Malahide is the fairytale ending we want and expect from our stars and minor icons.

We might begrudge them their millions, but we certainly expect them to be happy with them. And for 12 years after marrying in 1998, Ronan and Yvonne appeared just that; happily married and a glamorous team who lived the celebrity high life while raising their three children, Jack, Marie and Ali, in an exclusive gated estate where neighbours include Westlife's Nicky Byrne and Georgina Ahern.

They were the glamorous patriarchal and matriarchal figures of the boyband scene -- and recently they threw open their luxury home to the family and friends of the late Stephen Gately, offering support and condolences to those grieving after Stephen's untimely and tragic death.

A solid couple by all appearances, friends and family would undoubtedly have turned to them at this time, and many are reportedly shocked at the news that they are now splitting up for good.

In the same way we didn't want Cheryl and Ashley Cole to break up, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt to go their separate ways, or Andrea Roche and PJ Mansfield to say adieu, we would also prefer if the Keatings had survived the trials and tribulations of married life.

We love our celebrity fairytale romances, and the more beautiful and more successful the couple, the more we want them to be happy forever. We want to read about it in glossy, celeb magazines. They are to be beacons of romance in a fairly unromantic world.

Yet the bubble has burst for Ronan and Yvonne and no one, it seems, saw it coming. Yvonne was a picture of radiant elegance when she turned on the style and stood by her man's side on March 23 to support Ronan at his sell-out concert at the Grand Canal Theatre, one of the first events to take place at the new city centre venue. And later, Ronan paid tribute to his stunning wife on the night, thanking her for her continuous support and love.

A gorgeous Yvonne and their three kids, as well as Ronan's father and siblings, sat in the audience cheering on the star throughout his performance to rapturous applause from fans.

And really it is no wonder we had this one down as an enduring romance built on continuous support. As a good-looking and talented young couple -- him on stage and her on the catwalk -- their exuberance was tested by the tragic premature death of Ronan's mum, Marie, from breast cancer.

Ronan and his mum were very close, and Yvonne was recognised as having got him through this terrible time. And, in spite of their young age when 21-year -old Ronan married 24-year-old Yvonne in the Caribbean, it was thought they were well matched for their beauty and talent.

In the mid-1990s, there was a buzz about Yvonne the same as there is about Rosanna Davison today. And, regarding Ronan, he was the hottest bachelor in town.

But Yvonne won her man, and after helping him over his mum's death, she seemed set to be his love and protector for life.

Sadly, yesterday, the romance came to its end with an announcement on the Boyzone website: "With great sadness Ronan and Yvonne Keating today announce their separation. The separation is amicable and they will continue to work together in order to provide the best for their children. The family ask for privacy at this difficult time."

Unfortunately, we have lost yet another fairytale couple, and another romantic dream has been dashed. All that is left for us to do now is wish them the best as they go their separate ways -- because undoubtedly they will go on to great things apart.

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt split up in February 2005 after four years as Hollywood's golden married couple. Jennifer's recent movie hits include The Break-Up and Marley and Me. Brad continues to enjoy a hugely successful film career and now has six children with Angelina Jolie.

Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole looks to be bouncing back following the stress of her split from footballer husband Ashley. The X Factor judge is expected to divorce her estranged husband after the World Cup.

Boyzone star Ronan has confirmed that he will take up a job on the Australian version of The X Factor. The singer has been offered a post as a mentor on the Aussie franchise of Simon Cowell's reality TV talent contest. The position will involve him staying in Australia from June until November. Earlier this month he was reported to have said his family will fly out to stay with him for some of the time, but that situation may have changed.

Meanwhile, last year Yvonne was being talked up as a possible presenter on the TV3 show Xpose.

"Even family and friends have asked me about that rumour," the beauty laughed at the time. "I have not been approached, and I doubt I will be. A gal like me with no experience fill the shoes of the irreplaceable Lorraine Keane? I don't think so."

Could a TV career now beckon for the beauty who will be seeking to make a name for herself once again in her own right?