Shane Lynch: ‘I had everything money can buy but wasn’t happy’
Kicked out of school at 14, Shane Lynch was a real problem child. But he proved his critics wrong by rising to fame with Boyzone.
To the outside world Shane Lynch had it all — everything and anything money could buy. At the height of his success with Boyzone, he should've been the happiest man alive with a string of No 1 singles, albums and sell-out tours. But, he wasn't. On the inside, his life was a daily battle of self-destructive behaviour.
"Many scenarios led me to the point of trouble. I had everything in terms of materialistic things — £1m house, a Mercedes, a Porsche. I had everything money could buy, but I wasn't happy. I was quite lonely and I was searching for something else. It's true what they say, money can't buy you happiness," he admits.
With his moody, dark looks and multiple tattoos, Shane didn't quite fit the band's clean cut image. One could be forgiven for mistaking him for a gangsta-rapper with his individual style of dress. Indeed, it seemed that throughout his years in the band the former mechanic was intent on rebelling against conformity. It was this type of behaviour that led to Shane's expletive filled outburst at the 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards in Dublin where his fellow band members, Ronan Keating, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham and Keith Duffy looked mortified at his drunken rant on how the band wasn't splitting up.
"Every time I spoke I had no respect for myself or anyone else. What I was saying or how I was behaving had no reflection on any of the boys," he explains. "I was a very angry individual and I was lost in the world. "
Shane decided to tell his story of how he eventually found God and turned his life around in his new autobiography 'The Chancer' in a bid "to encourage others to make the most of the opportunities life presents them with".
"It's plain to see around us that there are so many people searching for comfort and happiness. That's why there are so many turning to drink and drugs," he explains: "But I'm no-one to tell anyone how to live their life. I'm simply telling them about mine."
Shane's problems escalated in the late Nineties when he received visitations from demons appearing in his troubled, fitful sleep which he blames on dabbling in witchcraft and the occult.
When Boyzone took a break in 2000, after seven years of non-stop touring, he found himself with too much time on his hands to dwell on things. His marriage to Easther Bennett, the lead singer in now defunct girl band Eternal, crumbled as Lynch became withdrawn, moody and in his own words " an extremely, angry man." The pair split up in 2002.
"Around that time I proceeded to write a book. I wrote it in anger and I wrote things that I didn't really mean. It was more or less like a therapy session for me," he explains. "People turn their nose up at therapy, but they shouldn't. By the time I talked about it, I realised I didn't feel that way anymore and I didn't publish it."
However, it was when he confided in a friend and was advised to turn to God that Lynch finally turned his life around. In November 2003, he was baptised a born-again Christian and now tours the UK telling his story. "I turned to God and asked for His help and He gave it to me," he says.
The completion of his new book marks a turning point in Lynch's life and comes after numerous requests for him to tell his story. Kicked out of school at 14, he cheated his way through his exams having never got to grips with reading and writing.
"That's part of the reason I wanted to tell my story," he says. " I was written off as a child, not for being dyslexic, but as a problem child not getting on in life or with the school system. However, not being able to read or write did not stop me from being successful. I had to take a chance on things and I chanced my way through school by cheating in my exams and using my charm. That's where the title of the book comes from as."
The 31-year-old believes that others should make the most of their life's experiences, rather than get hung up on material things.
"When you die, all that is written on your gravestone is the day you were born and the day you die. There's nothing about the stuff in the middle — the decisions you make and the consequences you have to deal with."
Now, life couldn't be better for the former school drop-out. Last August he married his long-term girlfriend Sheena White, a former backing singer for Westlife. They met at church and temporarily split in 2006 when Shane took cold feet regarding their future. He went on to star in the reality TV show Love Island but left after five weeks to try and make amends with Sheena. The couple married last August at Kinnitty Castle, Co Offaly and are expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet later this year.
"We're completely over the moon. At the end of the day, that is why we got married — to try and start a family."
Personal life aside, he is currently back on stage touring with Boyzone on their Back Again — No Matter What tour. "(Ex-manager) Louis Walsh did always say that it would happen. We have such loyal fans and it's bigger and better than it ever was."
The Chancer by Shane Lynch with Steve Legg, Canaan Press, £14.99