#TBT: The hottest Irish couples of the noughties
Let's face it - Celtic Tiger couples were the best kind of the Irish celebrity couples.
1. Lisa Murphy and Michael Flatley
Before his 2006 wedding to fellow dancer Niamh O’Brien and before her on/off relationship with solicitor Gerald Kean, Michael Flatley and Lisa Murphy were very much a thing. After meeting in Lillie’s Bordello (where else?), the pair enjoyed a publicly extravagant romance - filled with expensive Caribbean holidays, diamonds and lots and lots of PDAs. However, the couple parted ways in 2006 and the circumstances of the split are notoriously ambiguous.
2. Brian McFadden and Kerry Katona
There was a time when she was Britain’s pop princess (!) and he was one fifth of Ireland’s biggest boyband. And during the early noughties, Brian McFadden and Kerry Katona were Ireland’s undisputed golden couple. They married in 2002 in Co. Meath and have two children together – Molly and Lily-Sue. Sadly, the unlucky-in-love pair failed to find happiness after their 2004 separation, with Brian dating Australian songstress Delta Goodrem before marrying and recently filing for divorce from Vogue Williams. Former Queen of the Jungle Kerry’s tumultuous love life has been much documented in the tabloid media and following her divorce from second husband, Mark Croft in 2011, Kerry announced her separation from her third husband, George Kay in October 2015.
3. Fran Cosgrave and Natasha Hamilton
It would appear that the Atomic Kitten girls took quite the fancy to Irish men back in the day as Kerry’s ex-bandmate, Natasha Hamilton enjoyed a highly publicised relationship with Celtic Tiger IT-boy and one-time reality TV star, Fran Cosgrave from 2000-2003. In case Fran has been erased from public memory, let me remind you that he was the inaugural winner of Celebrity Love Island back in 2005 and it was infamously alleged that his appearance fee was nothing more than a bottle of Jack Daniels. He is reportedly now a nightclub owner and Hamilton most recently appeared in Celebrity Big Brother. The former couple share a son together – Josh – who was born in 2002.
4. Marcus Sweeney and Leigh Arnold
Restaurateur Marcus Sweeney and actress Leigh Arnold’s relationship could easily act as a metonym for Celtic Tiger Ireland. Similar to Flatley and Murphy’s frisson, it was extremely high-profile, unashamedly lavish and defined by expensive nights spent in private members clubs. Of course, there was that notable incident back in 2009 when Marcus created a fracas on the door of celebrity haunt, Krystle when he and Leigh were refused entry to the afters of the Peter Mark VIP Style Awards. The couple split in the same year.
5. Adele King (Twink) and David Agnew
National treasure and panto dame, Twink’s 21-year marriage to oboist David Agnew ended in 2004 and the divorce process was lengthy and dramatic, to say the very least. Indeed, little needs to be said about the estranged pair as the infamous “zip up yer mickey” voicemail, in 2006, left on her ex-husband’s phone when she found out that he had fathered another child has become the stuff of Irish celebrity legend. The pair officially divorced in 2010 and Twink went on to say that she would always love Agnew.
6. Bertie Ahern and Celia Larkin
Following his 1992 separation from wife, Miriam Kelly – the mother to their two daughters, Georgina and Cecelia, former Taoiseach Ahern began a relationship with civil servant Celia Larkin until their split in 2003. Ahern and Larkin became known as Ireland’s "first couple."
7. Samantha Mumba and Sisqo
Cast your mind back to a time when Samantha Mumba was Ireland’s answer to Britney Spears and her every move was tracked with insatiable media interest. During this time, her love life was obsessively monitored, which meant that quiet 2004 night in Lillie’s with new beau - R&B star Sisqo made for front page news. They ended their romance a year later in 2005, but that was not before Sisqo accompanied Mumba to the London premiere of Spiderman 2, where the songstress wore a diamond-encrusted Scott Henshall dress that was reported to be one of the most expensive dresses ever made, costing in the region of €10.5m.
8. Glenda Gilson and Brian O’Driscoll
We know, we’ve featured this couple before on our Hottest Celeb Couples of 2003 list, but it would be historically inaccurate and disrespectful to ignore one of the most talked-about relationships of the early noughties in a list that is dedicated to such a specific field of interest. G.G. and B.O.D. were everyone’s couple goals back in ’03 and despite their respective subsequent marriages, a little part of us still mourns the loss of our Justin and Britney. Sad times, bad times!
9. Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend
After meeting on the set of 2001 movie, Trapped, Dublin native Stuart Townsend began a 10-year relationship with Hollywood megastar - the South African-born actress, Charlize Theron. The pair famously never married, instead Stuart bestowed the actress with a much commented on “commitment ring.” The pair were regularly seen in Ireland and Charlize even accompanied Stuart to the tragically now-defunct Meteor Music Awards back in 2008. Theron and Townsend split in 2010 and according to Stuart’s brother Dylan, he now resides in Costa Rica with his “new family.”