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Melanie Morris: Everyone thought Ronan and Yvonne was just a temporary separation. We were wrong, this couple are so over

And so, it seems, there is no happy ever after for Ronan and Yvonne Keating after all.

I was quite surprised to see such a definitive statement from the couple in the newspapers over the weekend. I think we all were. Because, hang on, what happened to Australia? Last heard, Yvonne and the kids had joined Ronan and the lot were posing for photos, giving us hope that they'd ironed out their differences and got their marriage back on track. It's what we all secretly wanted, even the most cynical of us.

Ronan just didn't fit the 'bad boy' image. He's not a scoundrel or a cad. He's a nice Dublin lad, from good, honest stock and, we all thought, with strong family values. We even sneered a bit at his habit for 'God Bless'ing and 'Please God'ing. The fact that he started, and is actively involved in a cancer charity in honour of his late mother made him even more saintly.

Then, when we heard he'd been off doing more than a bit of a tango with a Boyzone backing dancer, it didn't sit right. But it was true. And who could blame Yvonne for needing a bit of 'time out' to assess the collateral damage.

I'm afraid I didn't take her seriously when I saw the immaculately presented, ringless photos of her in the papers. I thought it was all for show. A paparazzi-style clip around Ronan's ear. I assumed that while Yvonne would make Ronan jump through a few hoops, and be seen to hump gym gear across the road to the the spare house, I didn't actually think it'd be there for good. I don't think I'm alone in saying I honestly, truly didn't believe it'd end like this.

What I always liked about Ronan and Yvonne as a couple was their very natural, very low-key way of life. The didn't seem to seek out the limelight. Sure, Ronan is in show business, and fulfilled all the necessary obligations that such a job presents, and Yvonne was always very impressive eye-candy, but the pair seemed very intent on getting on with their lives. They didn't court publicity, they didn't jostle for the spotlight. They, with their kids, seemed to be a tight and loving family unit.

I can remember, years ago, sitting beside Yvonne at a dinner, and seeing her very discretely texting under the table. She was checking in with her husband, then touring abroad, to wish him luck before he went on stage. It was the sort of gesture that showed how highly Ronan came in her priorities.

Fast forward to May 2010, and to hear that the same couple had split came like a bolt out of the blue. Sure, Ronan's affair made for juicy headlines and certainly kept offices around the country (and beyond) buzzing, but didn't we all assume Yvonne's public displays of affliction were, actually, part of an act? They were childhood sweethearts, for goodness sake, and didn't he return to the family home within weeks? Separate bedrooms or not, I think I speak for the majority when I say we thought Splitsville was somewhere they'd only temporarily visited.

The story eventually dipped beneath the headlines and Ronan headed Down Under. While we were told it was all over, we didn't believe it, and then - ha-hah! - felt justified in our defiance when word filtered back that Yvonne and the kids had joined him. There were even the pictures to prove it. Safe in the knowledge that all was back on track, I even chastised the couple in this paper for 'crying relationship wolf'.

Now who's howling? I'm genuinely sad to see that -- thump -- in spite of the momentary glimmer of hope last month, it's not to be. It's all off and Ronan's staying in Oz for ages.

To coin a phrase, 'birds don't fly backwards'. By and large, once a relationship is broken, it's very difficult to pick up the pieces and carry on as before.

It's obviously too broken for the Keatings to fix.

I'm sure Yvonne regrets finding that phone, and the texts on it. It obviously opened a can of worms that she had to act on. And now, it's sad to read such a final statement from their spokespeople. There's no Hollywood ending here, no last, saving scene before the credits role. Real life is obviously a lot more complicated and in the Keating's case, this really is The End. How terribly sad.

Melanie Morris is editor of IMAGE Magazine