When Westlife’s Brian McFadden met Atomic Kitten star Kerry Katona on the Smash Hits tour in 1999, theirs was considered to be a pop match made in heaven.
The couple tied the knot 19 years ago today on January 5, 2002, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Rathfeigh, Ireland, followed by a 250-strong star-studded reception at Slane Castle.
Guests at the bash – which was strewn with £6,500 worth of lilies and said to have cost £100,000 in total – included their bandmates, S Club 7 and Dane Bowers.
But despite their pictures of wedded bliss – which they sold to Hello! magazine – behind the scenes Brian would later claim he’d already realised they weren’t meant to be.
Just 19 when he joined Westlife, Brian said he had only kissed one person before Kerry and was ‘overwhelmed’ by the fact someone loved him.
“I was very young when I met her and no one ever loved me before. So when Kerry came along and wanted me, that gap was filled and I felt good simply because I had someone to share everything with,” he told the Independent in 2007.
“I never stopped to think, ‘You really should get to know this person before you have kids, think of marrying or settle down.’
“So then, when we had the first baby, bought a house, spent time together and Westlife became the same thing over and over, I woke up one morning and realised, ‘This is not what I want to do with my life, I don’t see myself being with this woman in 20 years, she’s not who I’m meant to be with, we don’t have anything in common.'”
The couple – who have daughters Molly, 19, and Lilly-Sue, 17 – would later split in 2004 after Brian admitted he didn’t love Kerry any more in a tense phone call. He has always claimed their decision to split was mutual, she has insisted she begged him to stay.
But for Brian, the writing was on the wall weeks before their wedding when he admitted cheating with a lapdancer on his stag do.
He said: “That stag night story started our marriage off badly and if I’m to be completely honest, the day my marriage ended was that stag night, before I even got married.
“That was the time I felt, ‘This is not supposed to be.’ That was the first crack and everyone saw it.”
For Kerry – who was very much in love – the news was devastating. Especially as she reportedly found out by reading it in a newspaper six months after the fact while Brian was away on tour.
“That killed it for me. I loved Brian and I trusted him. I remember thinking: ‘But he’s the fat one from Westlife. Why would he do this to me?'” she reportedly told the now defunct News of the World at the time.
After their split, Brian moved on with Australian singer Delta Goodrem after they joined forces for his solo single, Almost Here.
Kerry later quipped that she could have steered fate another way had she accepted Brian’s invitation to join them in the recording studio instead of choosing to appear on Loose Women.
“I was Kerry McFadden married to Brian when I first appeared on Loose Women aged 22,” she told the ITV show in 2017.
“It was always my Brian this and that, and then one day Brian said to me: ‘I’m recording a new single with someone called Deltra Goodrem- come with me,’ and I was like ‘I can’t come I’m on Loose Women.’ Imagine if I didn’t I’d still be married…”
However, she admitted that Delta wasn’t the issue, adding: “If someone falls out of love with you there’s nothing you can do.”