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DIGS 'N' REELS; Flatley has a jibe at former dance partner Jean & hit RTE show.

Byline: By PAUL MARTIN Ireland's No1 showbiz writer

MICHAEL Flatley put the boot into his former dance partner Jean Butler yesterday.

The 48-year-old quipped: "I haven't watched TV for 20 years - and it's not just because of Jean Butler on Jigs 'N' Reels."

The entertainer made the dig at the popular RTE show and Jean who shot to stardom with Flatley after their smash 1994 Riverdance performance.

Jean, 36, is now one of the judges on the programme and has burst back into the spotlight with her new TV role.

Flatley made the comment as he launched a Lord Of The Dance show at the Citywest hotel, Dublin.

He said: "I never watch TV - I'm just too busy and have lots going on with work projects.

"I've hardly watched TV in the last 20 years - and that isn't just because of Jean Butler on Jigs and Reels.

"I don't like spending time in front of the TV when I could be out doing things with my time. I'm an outdoors person."

After Riverdance, Flatley and Butler toured with the production for a year and then the American dancer abruptly quit over a contract dispute.

Since then Flatley has gone on to make millions but has always had a strained relationship with Butler.

Turning his attention to family matters, Flatley said he was still in dreamland since becoming a dad last month to Michael Jnr.

He told the Irish Daily Mirror: "Little Michael was awake all last night so I'm feeling really tired, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

"I muck in and do my share. It's the least I can do to do the diapers and feeds and all. I'm a completely changed man. That's what being a parent does to you.

"We are going off on holiday to France and the Bahamas in the near future which will be a lot of fun.

"My wife Niamh has just been incredible and is an amazing mother. She amazes me."

Meanwhile, The star will celebrate on Saturday when he receives the Freedom of Cork.

Lord Mayor Michael Ahern will grant Flatley the Freedom of the city during the hour-long ceremony which will involve traditional music and verse.

Flatley will be joined at the special event by his 32-year-old wife Niamh and their young son.

showbiz@irishmirror.ie

CAPTION(S):

JUDGE: Jean Butler; KICK OFF: Flatley with dancers at Citywest Hotel, Dublin, yesterday Picture: COLLINS; LOVE: Michael with new wife Niamh
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 31, 2007
Words:411
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