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SHANE LYNCH EXCLUSIVE: DAY TWO: 'I was a real animal, a beast.. but becoming a born again Christian saved me'.

Byline: PAUL MARTIN

SHANE Lynch today reveals how life as a pop star in Boyzone became a living hell.

The millionaire heart-throb has opened his heart for the first time about his wild boozing, womanising and inner rage that cost him his marriage, career and self-respect.

In an explosive interview with the Irish Mirror, Shane, 28, revealed: "I was an animal and I look back at myself and see a very unhappy guy.

"Life in Boyzone was great most of the time but towards the end I turned into a beast. In the end becoming a born again Christian saved me. It stopped me boozing, mouthing off at people and being angry.

"I lost my marriage and a lot of my self-respect. The last year in Boyzone I was drinking too heavily and so unhappy inside.

"I was desperately unhappy that Boyzone were splitting up and I was rebelling against the business that put me where I was. I would dress differently to the other guys to show that I wasn't part of the machine any more.

"I would go to showbiz parties and sit around drinking until 4am.

"I was never an alcoholic but booze was at the root of a lot of my unhappiness and I'm so much more in control now."

At the depth of his depression Shane staged one of the most memorable stunts in pop music history. As Boyzone collected an MTV Award in Dublin in front of 100million TV viewers, the star stunned the VIP audience by blasting: "There has been a lot of f***ing s**t in the newspapers about us splitting up. We're not going anywhere."

Many say that was the beginning of the end for the band as a scruffy looking Shane, decked out in a tracksuit and sucking a tooth pick, shocked their legions of young fans.

But Shane insists it was a stroke of genius: "People think it was because I was drunk and angry but it actually wasn't.

"Put it this way - that night at the Point the biggest stars in the world were there - Eminem, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, P Diddy.

"But who was on the front page of all the papers the next day? It was Boyzone. You have to be canny in this game and I did what I had to get us in the papers.

"After I said that none of the guys were mad at me. I went dressed like a scruff because I didn't want to tempt fate. My idea was that if I dressed like we weren't going to win the award then we might win it.

"If I had got all suited and booted then we probably wouldn't have won. That's why I ended up looking so casual while the rest of the lads were in these pounds 5,000 designer suits."

While Shane's boy band career was going into free fall, his marriage to Eternal singer Easther Bennett was also on rocky ground.

He married the singer in 1998 at a secret ceremony - but the rest of his bandmates were not there.

By 1999 there were rumours that the couple were living separate lives and within two years Shane admitted his marriage was over.

He said: "I don't speak to Easther any more - my belief is that an ex is an ex for a reason.

"Looking back getting married was not the right thing to do. But it happened at a time in my life when I was making lots of decisions I shouldn't have been making.

I WAS all over the place and didn't know what I wanted. In the end my marriage paid for that.

"We were apart most of the time and it's impossible to have a proper relationship like that.

"I do regret having a failed marriage but I still want to get married again some time in the future when things are right."

Shane says he is in his "dream" relationship now with 24-year-old singer Sheena White. Unlike his marriage to Easther, he says he's never been away from Sheena for more than two weeks.

And despite his wild boy image, Shane confessed they haven't even slept together in the 15 months they have been dating.

"Finding God has helped me become much more of a disciplined person," he said. "We haven't had sex, we are waiting until we marry. I think that is the right way to be because you end up putting more effort into the relationship and not getting carried away with the physical side of things.

"I know Sheena is the girl for me and we're going to be together for ever. She sees the new me and I'm not the guy that people saw in Boyzone."

After yesterday's revelations in the Irish Mirror that Boyzone will never tour again, Shane is content to leave the past behind.

"I made good money out of Boyzone - enough to give me an amazing lifestyle so I am very grateful. I have accepted that the band will never get back together so I am concentrating on my own rap group Red Hill now.

"We are on the verge of signing a record deal, but whatever happens happens."

Talking of his old Boyzone bandmates, Shane said: "I would say my best friends from the group are Keith and Stephen.

"I keep in touch with them and have a real soft spot for them. I'm so pleased to see them doing well in their careers.

"I meet up with them all the time and we go out and have a bit of fun together. They are great guys.

"They are all doing their own thing and don't need the money - they are doing their careers because it gives them a sense of pride."

So now the wild boy has been tamed what does the future hold?

"My big ambition is to have kids one day," he said. "I know Sheena feels the same way too.

"Obviously all that would come after marriage and all but bringing up children would be the ultimate goal.

"Until then I'm concentrating on my relationship and my career and then we'll see what happens."

CAPTION(S):

BOOZING: Shane in September 2000; GET THE POINT: Childline concert in 2001
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2004
Words:1039
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