Before the talent show Popstars was ever conceived, a pre-pubescent Ronan Keating showed up at an audition for Ireland's first boy band, beating some 300-odd singers and dancers to join the fivesome Boyzone, an Irish version of Take That.
The boyz, the brainchild of music manager Louis Walsh, found their zone early, working mostly with re-treads of Seventies pop tunes. Their first release, a cover of the Detroit Spinners' Working My Way Back To You,
peaked at number three on the Irish charts. The follow-up, a re-make of the Osmonds' Love Me For A Reason,
topped out at number two.
Fast-forward five years and the outfit's track record remains golden. Led by Ronan born on March 3, 1977, their first 14 singles broke the top three in the United Kingdom, propelling album sales in excess of 12 million and paving the way for such crossover success stories as B*Witched and The Corrs
, as well as the wildly successful Westlife
, a second-generation Boyzone, conceived and managed by Ronan (although he later said it was a marketing ploy) and Louis Walsh.
At the tender age of 21, Ronan married Irish model Yvonne Connelly at a secluded ceremony on the Caribbean island of Nevis in April of 1998. He is, however, an old soul. "I joined Boyzone when I was 16, and I've travelled around the world three or four times, meeting loads of different people. I feel like I've done what a lot of other people don't do until they're 30 or 40 years old. The next step for me was to marry the woman I love and who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with." A son, Jack, was born on March 15, 1999, and a daughter, named Marie in memory of the singer's late mother, who died of breast cancer, followed two years later. Their second daughter, Ali, was born in September 2005. Ronan, the youngest of four, has said that he hopes to amass an entire brood while they're both still young.
While his first child was still in nappies, Ronan was preparing to pull a Geri Halliwell
and leave the boys behind. He tested the solo waters with When You Say Nothing At All,
the soundtrack of Notting Hill
, and when the song hit number one in the UK, Ronan set about recording his self-titled debut album. The first single, Life Is A Rollercoaster
, broke sales records and propelled the album to a number one debut in July 2000. His second offering, Destination
, went double platinum and hit the number one spot too, his third, Turn It On
, featured a duet with US country music star LeAnn Rimes, and was followed by a greatest hits compilation in 2004.
His fourth studio album Bring You Home
was released in 2006 – the year that Take That staged a spectacular comeback to the charts. Their success again paved the way for Ronan and the boys, who themselves decided to reunite in 2007. In November they played a medley of their hits on annual show Children In Need
, and not long after announced a 29-date UK tour kicking off in May 2008. "We've been talking about getting back together for some time now. I can't wait to be back on the road and all the guys feel the same," said the star.
But following a successful comeback tour came a dose of personal failure for Ronan Keating
. In May 2010 Ronan announced that he and his sweetheart Yvonne were splitting after 12 years of marriage.
"The separation is amicable and they will continue to work together in order to provide the best for their children," said a spokeperson for the couple.