The year in showbusiness

Melanie Finn

From celebrity deaths to high-profile marriage splits, 2010 has been busy. Our showbusiness editor Melanie Finn has a look back over the most memorable incidents in the entertainment world


The millionaire ex-boyfriend of model Katy French, Jimmy Mansfield Jnr, had a huge fall from grace after a court heard how he was caught drink driving in his dad's €500,000 Rolls Royce. Dublin District Court was told how he uttered the memorable words: "I'm drunk as a f***ing fool," when stopped by gardai. The incident happened on the Naas Road, close to his father's sprawling Citywest hotel, after officers spotted him driving erratically. When they quizzed him, he was found to be very unsteady on his feet with a "strong smell of alcohol from his breath" and a dishevelled appearance. He was banned from driving for three years after a blood/alcohol test found him to be twice the legal limit.


The Herald revealed how former Miss Ireland Aoife Cogan bagged one of Ireland's most eligible bachelors in the form of rugby star Gordon D'Arcy. The pair managed to keep their relationship quiet for a few weeks before news of their romance hit the headlines.

Although Aoife has admitted that she's more of a soccer fan than a rugger hugger, the pair's relationship is still going strong nearly a year later.

Just a few weeks previously, Rob Kearney broke many more female hearts after stepping out with the new woman in his life, British actress Susie Amy -- the couple are also still smitten with each other.


Star gazers were spoiled for choice when it came to gossip, given the string of salacious stories spurred on by the 'Rumble in Ranelagh'.

Top beauty Glenda Gilson was left in tears after being caught up in an on-street bust up with her former flame Johnny Ronan at the start of the month. The 29-year-old was enjoying a night out in Ranelagh with friends when she had a public altercation with the Treasury Holdings boss, with whom she had an on/off relationship for three years. The Xpose presenter was seen looking visibly upset after the spat, which was seen by a number of shocked witnesses. But there was more to come in this saga, after it emerged that one day after the fight, Ronan had jetted off with Rosanna Davison and her college pal to Marrakesh.

He had bumped into the beauty queen in the bar of the Ritz Carlton in Powerscourt and the pair had a few drinks before deciding to head off on the impromptu trip away. The gang stayed at the luxury La Mamounia hotel while in Morocco and Rosanna said she mainly hung out by the pool and caught up on sleep before they returned to Dublin.

She always maintains it was an innocent trip away with two friends and she had no idea about Johnny's spat with Glenda the previous day.


The month ended with the tragic and sudden death of 2fm personality Gerry Ryan and a nation went into mourning. He was found dead by his partner Melanie Verwoerd at his Leeson Street apartment on April 30, amid suspicions that he suffered a heart attack.

It has now been revealed that he had cocaine in his system when he died, which triggered a cardiac arrhythmia. He had been out celebrating the night before with a group of pals in Town Bar and Grill after successfully negotiating a new contract to front a Saturday night TV show for RTE.

Tributes for the Clontarf dad-of-five flowed in from well-known personalities from all over Ireland and beyond, including Bono, Chris Evans, Louis Walsh and Michael Flatley.

A Late Late Show tribute to him screened on the day he died pulled in record figures of 908,000 viewers, making it one of the most-watched shows of 2010.


The month saw the start of marriage problems for Boyzone star Ronan Keating and his wife Yvonne.

On May 20, they released a statement through their British publicist Dawbell PR, saying they had split after 12 years of marriage.

The shock announcement said it was with "great sadness" that the couple announced their separation but described it as amicable and said they would "work together to provide the best for their children". Shortly afterwards, reports emerged linking the crooner with sexy backing dancer Francine Cornell. The dad of three has since been working hard to get things back on track with his wife.


TV beauty Grainne Seoige was officially back on the market after announcing through her agent Noel Kelly that her marriage of eight years was over. She and her husband Stephen Cullinane had been together for 11 years but it was thought their relationship had been over for more than six months before they confirmed the split.

Just two days after releasing the shock statement, the pair made the unusual decision to go on holidays to Spain with Grainne's 16-year-old son Conall. The break-up came less than 18 months after Sile Seoige's split from hubbie Glen Mulcahy and fuelled rumours that Grainne was planning a move to the UK after taking on a number of presenting roles at GMTV. Just two months later, ITV's new breakfast show Daybreak named her as its Features Editor. The same month saw Ryan Tubridy confirmed as taking over the 2fm slot left vacated by the death of Gerry Ryan, describing it as an "honour and a privilege" to step into his late pal's shoes.


Ireland rugby hero Brian O'Driscoll married his gorgeous partner Amy Huberman (top right) at a star-studded affair in Lough Rynn castle, Co Leitrim. Described as the showbiz wedding of the summer, the happy couple were joined by many big names from the world of sport and entertainment including Brian's teammates Rob Kearney, Paul O'Connell and Gordon D'Arcy. They marked their nuptials with a two-day bash at the Mohill castle with their wedding party costing an estimated €70,000, as their guests enjoyed a complimentary bar, a five-course meal and even received goody bags to take home.


RTE announced its new schedule for Autumn 2010 and finally confirmed after months of speculation that The Afternoon Show was being replaced by two new lifestyle programmes. The show had been marred by allegations of bullying and in-fighting among its crew.

Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh's temporary replacement Maura Derrane was given her own show called 4 Daily, with former Afternoon Show presenter Sheana Keane dropped from the schedule.

Broadcaster Claire Byrne was given a new slot co-fronting the Daily Show with Daithi O Se, who also presented the Rose of Tralee for the first time ever in the same month.


Beanpole presenter Ryan Tubridy and girlfriend Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain split after 18 months together. The Late Late Show host and former Rose of Tralee called time on their romance after deciding things were not working. The pair first met after Ryan interviewed Aoibhinn on his TV programme and they got on like a house on fire. He described her in an interview with the Herald as "magnificent" and things appeared to be going swimmingly for them.

After their split, matters were confused further after he brought her along to the launch of his new book on JFK a month later. He described her as his "date" for the evening but was then spotted walking along Dun Laoghaire pier with a different brunette stunner.


A Ballyfermot Tesco worker stunned everyone by making it through to the finals of The X Factor -- and a new star was born. Single mum-of-one Mary Byrne (51), pictured below, wowed viewers with her bubbly personality and amazing voice as, week after week, she managed to stay in the gruelling competition, despite battling laryngitis, sleepless nights and also going through the menopause. Programme boss Simon Cowell described her as "emotional and believable" and a bright future was predicted for the talented crooner.


It was the beginning of the end for Cork broadcaster Neil Prendeville who was alleged to have carried out a lewd act while travelling back from a junket to London. He famously used a Cara magazine to try to conceal his movements, but not before an eagle-eyed journalist spotted him and the story hit national headlines. Mr Prendeville later apologised and insisted he had no memory of events on the flight after consuming both alcohol and Nurofen pain-killers prior to taking off. He described the incident as "a terrible personal experience" and advised others not to follow in his footsteps.


This month was dominated by the sensational revelations following the inquest into the death of RTE's Gerry Ryan.

Not only was it revealed that he had ingested cocaine prior to suffering a heart attack sometime in the early hours of April 30, 2010, it also emerged in medical evidence that it looked like he had been a habitual user.

A garda probe was launched to find out who had been supplying the illegal drug to the star.

RTE remained tight-lipped on the whole statement until a week later, when the station admitted that its coverage of the extent of cocaine consumption in Ireland was "less than it could have been."