"The X Factor" Australia judge Ronan Keating has given his first interview about his romance with TV producer Storm Uechtritz, and he has announced that his singing group Boyzone is changing its name to BZ. In an interview published in the Mirror's Sunday People issue dated February 3, 2013, Keating says that he is amazed that Uechtritz wants to be with him, considering his past as an unfaithful husband.
Keating, 35, and his estranged wife Yvonne, 37, married in 1998 and separated in late 2011 but didn't announce their separation until March 2012. Uechtritz, 30, is reportedly separated from her husband, Tim Ivers. Keating and Uechtritz, who used to be an "X Factor" Australia producer, went public with their romance in September 2012, around the same time that she moved in with Keating, who has homes in London, Dublin and Sydney. He and his estranged wife have three children together: 13-year-old Jack, 11-year-old Missy and 7-year-old Ali. The kids live with their mother in Dublin.
In 2010, the Keating spouses separated after he publicly admitted to having an affair with Francine Cornell, who used to be a Boyzone backup dancer. Keating made a public apology for his infidelity, and the married couple reunited, but the spouses split up for good in 2011. So far, they haven't filed for divorce, but she has moved on and is in a serious relationship with cameraman John Conroy. Keating commented to the Sunday People of his estranged wife: “I love my wife. Family is everything to me.”
In an October 2012 interview with The Sun, Keating's ex-mistress Cornell, 28, commented on Keating's relationship with his wife: "He loved her dearly — she was the mother of his children — but he wasn’t in love with her."
Since it's unlikely that Keating and his estranged wife will get back together, he says he feels lucky to have Uechtritz, who is the new love in his life. Uechtritz (who now works for "The Voice" U.K.) and Keating live together in London when he's not in Sydney for "The X Factor" Australia.
Keating said in the Sunday People interview that all three of his kids like Uechtritz. He added: “I’m incredibly lucky to have found Storm after the hurt I caused. Finding her has been everything. She is incredible and a beautiful woman; she is just very lovely. Storm has taken me from a very, very dark hole to being very happy. It’s great to meet someone who wants to be with me for me, rather than for who I am. I’m happy again and finding someone new has helped me with that so much.
“I’m in London a lot with Storm. We don’t talk about work, it’s not good for a couple to do that. But Storm is so fantastic at her job. She is brilliant. She is very, very busy and I’m on tour at the moment. I’m away and, of course, I miss her a lot. That’s hard. My kids are in Ireland so I spend a lot of time there, too. They are just everything. They’re so strong and I have so much admiration for them.”
After Keating finishes his tour for his 2012 solo album, "Fires," he will go on a 2013 tour with the group formerly known as Boyzone. It will be the group's second tour since the death of Boyzone's Stephen Gately, who died of an undiagnosed heart condition in 2009. Gately was 33.
Keating told the Sunday People: “When Stephen died, I realized how fragile life is. None of us embraced the first tour with out Steo. Now we are planning our second one without him. We are going to change the name because we’re not Boyzone anymore. We’re a four-piece now we’re no longer a five-piece.”
The other members of the group are Shane Lynch, 36; Keith Duffy, 38; and Mikey Graham, 40.
Boyzone used to be managed by "The X Factor" U.K. judge Louis Walsh before parting ways with him in 2011. The concert dates for BZ's 2013 tour are to be announced.