- 09 Mar 04
An emotional Westlife have expressed sadness for McFadden's "amicable departure", with Bryan denying rumours of any ulterior career moves. Photos by Cathal Dawson.
The announcement of Bryan McFadden's "amicable departure" from Westlife was an emotional affair at their press conference, held at the Four Seasons, Ballsbridge earlier this afternoon.
After considering the decision for the last six months, it was only in the last week that Bryan spoke with fellow Westlifers. Speaking to media after the official statement was released, Bryan explained:
"It's very, very hard to juggle two lives when you've got a family and being in a band like Westlife, it is a huge commitment. To be honest for the last year, especially since Lily was born, I haven't really been able to commit 100% to Westlife and I haven't been able to commit 100% to my family, so I kinda felt it was unfair to both. I felt it was the right time to stand back."
Fellow band member Kian Egan was choking back tears as he read a letter to Brian on behalf of Westlife:
"We've enjoyed some unbelievable times with you throughout the years and always hold them and you very close to our hearts," said Egan.
"The last five days have been a huge strain on all of us and only us five in the room will ever understand that. We have enjoyed so many times with you on the road, we've shared laughter, tears, success, weddings, babies and most of all we've shared our dreams. Although we wish very much so that things could be different, we understand and respect your decision."
Despite rumours to the contrary, McFadden has emphatically denied that he has any plans to pursue a solo career.
"To be honest with ya for now anyway I just wanna concentrate on my family and being at home," he said. "I have absolutely nothing lined up. Not musically, not TV, nothing. I think the most important thing to do first of all is settle this with Westlife. I'm not even gonna think about what I'm gonna do for a long time."
Asked if his wife Kerry's recent success in television has played any part his decision, McFadden responded "absolutely not."
Kerry, meanwhile, was shedding tears at the back of the room where she stood clutching hands with fellow Westlife wives Gillian and Georgina.
The recurring theme of the press conference seemed to be the band's insistence that there was no bad blood within Westlife and that Bryan was not "pulling a Robbie" and "getting out while the going was good".
"They're my four best friends in the whole world and we've done so much over the last five years. I've told everyone this - it's got absolutely nothing to do with the guys, it's completely got to do with me.
"I think when Robbie Williams left it's because he didn’t like the other people in the band and they didn’t want him in the band," he continued. "I'm leaving because I've got a wife, I've got 2 kids, I need to spend more time with them. We all get on better than we ever have so it's not a Robbie Williams.
McFadden said that his bandmembers did not try to persuade him to change his mind: "The guys want me to be happy 'cause we are very, very close and the family is very important to us all. There's no point in me being in a band if I'm not happy and missing my family. We love each other so they respected my decision and they just want me to be happy."
With the band embarking on their mammoth seventy-date tour on March 29, Westlife have firmly declared their commitment to continue as a four-piece band.
An unperturbed Louis Walshe told press, "It's gonna be business as usual with Westlife and I think they're gonna be the big boy band of the world, as they always have been."
When asked if Westlife would consider filling Brian's place, or using one of the "leftovers from You're A Star" Walshe responded, "They're simply not good enough. There's nobody good enough. I've got four great people here now," he said before adding "and don’t forget there was only four in The Beatles."
Kian: "We have devoted our lives to this band, this is our passion. This isn't about anything but passion. We love this band so much and all we ever want to do is continue with it."
Mark, who remained largely silent throughout the press conference, was also pressed about his feelings.
"Hopefully we've shown you guys the real truth which is that we're very happy for Brian and we're very happy with the fact that he's gonna move on now and be happy in his life," he said.
"To be quite honest my only fear is that people will start making this into something negative and start trying to cause friction between us and Brian, writing things like Geri [Haliwell] and Robbie [Williams]. There is no bad blood and that is not a lie so we hope you can respect that. That's my one favour of you guys [the press] to please don’t try to make something bad out of something that's not bad."
Saty tuned to hotpress.com for the fans' reactions.