Westlife’s Mark Feehily Tells Jean Danker That Coming Out Was “The Best Thing That Ever Happened” To Him
The Irish boyband were guests on the Class 95 jock's podcast, R U Okay?, where they opened up about lives and their thoughts on mental health.
Irish boyband Westlife has been in the spotlight since the late '90s and judging from how their concert next year at the Singapore Indoor Stadium is already sold out (they've since added a second show), they are still massively popular.
The group, made up of Nicky Byrne, 43, Kian Egan, 42, Mark Feehily, 42, and Shane Filan, 43, were in town recently to perform at the Singapore Grand Prix. They also dropped by Class 95 DJ Jean Danker’s podcast, R U Okay? to share their thoughts on mental health and how they stay okay.
Watch the full video below to find out why their kids are the reason Westlife is still going strong.
The group talked about the power of endorphins, with Shane saying that a visit to the gym always helps.
But of course, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
“Everyone will bang on about going to the gym 'cos it releases good endorphins, and it does, it’s proven. But it doesn’t fix every problem, so it’s important to mention that. But if you don’t do it, you’re certainly not giving yourself the best chance,” Nicky added.
Shane then brought up something that he heard in another podcast, where if you just plaster a smile or a laugh on your face, your mood will be instantly lifted, even if you’re not feeling great.
“You basically just smile, and it releases chemicals in your brain, that gives you happy thoughts,” Shane said.
Nicky then added that he’s now a believer in the art of laughing yoga, after doing it once on a radio show.
“I didn’t believe it, I thought, ‘This is absolute baloney’,” Nicky said, before continuing with a huge laugh, “And the more you do [this], what happens is that you end up actually laughing.”
On a more serious note, Mark also shared about how he was “in a dark place” before coming out.
Mark came out as gay in 2005, and is now engaged to Cailean O’Neill, who is not in showbiz. They have a three-year-old daughter, Layla, via surrogacy.
“I’m great now, the best I’ve ever, ever, been 'cos I feel like I know what my values are. It’s become more clear than ever recently,” he said.
“It’s not just me, but [for] anybody who’s in the closet and dealing with their sexuality, it’s a very lonely place, no matter where you are. Whether you’re in a boyband or you work in an office, or you could be a young teenager, you could be a 40-year-old person, it’s a lonely place,” he went on to share.
“It's a very dark idea, to not be able to be yourself. I think it’s under appreciated, to walk out your front door and to just feel like the you that you’re presenting to everybody is the real you,” Mark said, adding that people might not have the ability to be themselves due to their internal struggle, or the culture and society that they grew up in.
"When I said I was in a dark place, I guess the best way to describe it is that it was circumstantial, and it was 'cos of the situation that I found myself in, that I didn’t want to be in. It was very uncomfortable, and the simple thing of waking up and being yourself, it’s the core of who we are as humans,” he said.
Mark then continued: "When that’s suppressed, of course, it drains you of that magic thing that we all have, which is just love and life, and it can slowly wear you down over time, so the best thing that ever happened to me was that I came out. I learned very quickly that coming to terms with my sexuality and telling everybody about it and being myself was the best thing that I’ve ever done. I feel like it’s the real true beginning of my adult life."
Finally, Kian shared how he found a way to take care of his mental health.
“Kian just goes to the pub!” Shane joked, before Kian shared his actual answer.
“Actually, I used to be a very stressed-out character, as the boys know. I found a sport that completely took me away from it, I started surfing when I was in my mid-20s. And I find surfing is something that puts you in your moment,” Kian revealed.
“I think the biggest problem in life for us all is that we are constantly thinking about things that have happened in the past, or those that we think are going to happen in the future (…) [Surfing] lets you live all the worries behind, and it gives you a place to go and think about things as well,” he said.
Catch Season 1 of R U Okay? on meWATCH here. You can also Westlife's episode on YouTube below.