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People: Actress Sheelagh O'Kane's special relationships

The actress and theatre director, who is in her mid-40s, is currently directing the Youth Lyric’s production of classic tale The Great Gatsby in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. She lives in Belfast with her husband Paul Muldoon, who has a son from a previous relationship, Danny (15).

My husband Paul

Paul and I met on a night out at Christmas time a few years ago. I had been out with friends and we ran into more friends and Paul was with that crowd.

We swapped numbers and I didn't think anything would come of it, but he did call. He's from here originally but was living in England at the time so we started up a long-distance relationship.

He works in IT and after a couple of years he started looking for a job over here so he could move back home. We've been married now for three years.

We're both very busy but we actively make time to spend together.

Paul has a son, Danny, from a previous relationship and he comes and stays with us. We get on really well.

My best friend, Jane McSorley

Jane and I met when we were in primary school. Her family moved away but we got to know each other again when we both ended up at Dominican College for secondary school.

She was bridesmaid at my wedding and I was bridesmaid at hers. I'm also godmother to her children.

Jane now lives in Edinburgh, so we don't get to see each other as often as we would like.

My parents, Brian and Sheila and stepdad Kieran

My dad, Brian, died before I was born so I never knew him. I'm the youngest of six and mum didn't remarry until I was about eight- years-old to Kieran McMullan, who became my dad.

Kieran was a doctor but he passed away in 1993. He had became a real mentor figure to me. My brothers and sisters are Brian, Deirdre, Bronagh, Grainne and John. Deirdre passed away from cancer a couple of years ago. My mum has been brilliant, given everything she has gone through. I really admire that she is still bright and breezy and has a more active social life than I do.

We're all still in Northern Ireland and are a very close family. Everyone has always been supportive of what I do. It was Kieran who was the one who encouraged me to keep going at acting. He was always glad that I was following my dreams.

Person I go to for advice

It tends to be a mixture of my mum and a few friends. I can rely on all of them for very straight-talking advice.

My mentor

There have been a few who have been influences on me throughout my career, and Michael Poyner is one of them.

There's also Aidan Browne and Arthur Webb, who are directors of the Youth Lyric. They're good friends now, so they know me and know what advice to give me.

My secret celebrity crush

I seem to really like every film that the actor Bradley Cooper has been in, to the extent that Paul's even getting a bit worried about it!

Fantasy dinner party

I would invite Elvis Presley as apparently he was really good fun and easy to talk to and, of course, he could take out his guitar and play.

Next, I'd ask comedians Lee Mack and David Mitchell; they're both very funny and would keep the whole table in stitches.

Finally, I'd invite Paul, my husband, as we don't get enough time to spend with each other anyway!

  • The Great Gatsby is on stage at the Waterfront Hall until tomorrow. For details, visit

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