’He was distraught’: Shane Lynch spoke about Stephen Gately being forced to come out

Boyzone’s Shane Lynch told his Celebrity Big Brother housemates about how former bandmate Stephen Gately was forced to come out as gay.

Speaking about it with fellow housemate India Willoughby she asked if Gately had been openly gay when the band started.

Lynch said: "Obviously me and boys (in the band) knew Steo (Gatley) was gay. It wasn’t even a question because his boyfriends used to come on the road with us.

"I think in the early 90s when we came over to the UK, being in a boy band and being gay - nobody had come out. It was not the done thing to do."

Prompted by Willoughby asking if management was involved, Lynch said their management swept it under the carpet.

"There’s an understanding among celebrities, or whatever you want to call it, but he was meant to be dating Baby Spice (Emma Bunton from the Spice Girls) and all that kind of stuff."

Lynch said they used red-herrings but a phone call while on tour changed everything.

"We were in Germany on tour and he got a phone call to say that the press were going to run with a story on him.

"He was distraught. They said to him ’you can tell your story, or we’re going to print our story.’

"It nearly destroyed him. It really nearly destroyed him."

Lynch said that after the phone call Gately came out and it lifted a weight off his shoulders, with Lynch praising the support Gatley got from Boyzone’s fans.

"From that point, he just flourished... He grew into this beaming man of joy."

Lynch added Gatley being gay had never been a problem for the band.

"Steo was our brother... Of course, it was never a problem for us boys. We took great care of him for life.

Stephen Gately and Shane Lynch of Boyzone in 2008. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

"He was older than I, but he was my little brother. I always had Steo under my wing. He was a joy of life.

"I have a strong place in my heart for him."

Gately died in October 2009 due to a congenital heart defect.

Previously on the show, Lynch spoke about how the band had changed since Gately passed away, saying: "Every time we got together as a group, the four of us came together, it was very apparent that he was alive, when we came together.

"Because that was our bubble. He’s so there. So we’ll always be five, regardless of visually what you see. He will always be there."

Boyzone has continued as a four-piece since Gately's death and announced that the band will go on tour this year to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

In an Instagram post last May, the band announced that "plans are being hatched for new music and lots of touring throughout the year.


By Steve Neville

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