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The most upsetting thing was it was in my hometown. I was shocked.” Feehily believes that despite big steps such as legalising same-sex marriage, there is a long way to go before homophobia is stamped out.
Feehily credits late Boyzone singer Stephen Gately for “helping him and probably lots of other gay lads to understand their sexuality and come out”.
Instead, I have unleashed a torrent of Weltschmerz.
"Honestly, we're not dull," protests Byrne, 31, who is married, with two-year-old twins.
As the only gay member in Westlife, Feehily kept his sexual orientation private and never had a boyfriend.
Unlike his band mates, Feehily did not discuss his private life in interviews, although he had dated women prior to his coming out.
After five years into their relationship, both were in engaged in February 2010, which was confirmed by Feehily himself via the social networking website Twitter.
In 2011, Feehily discussed the couple's plans concerning having children together and discussed their marriage plans.
'Marcus Michael Patrick Verdon "Mark" Feehily' (born ) is one of the lead singers of the Irish boyband Westlife.
And, of course, it's all my fault, by starting our chat with a mischievous (and as it turned out, incendiary) remark about their rather bland reputation and how one critic said Westlife "were so anodyne as to make Boyzone look like Led Zeppelin at their most orgiastic".
I had expected a smart-arse quip in response, maybe even a tongue-in-cheek defence of those infamous Val Doonican stools they perch on to croon, rising up on to their feet like automata for the mandatory key changes.
Filan laughs aloud in triumph: "There you go, I'm so crazy and cool that I'd forgotten I have my own helicopter. " I have come to Sony's offices in London to talk about Westlife's glittering 11-year career, their new album, Where We Are, and their much-vaunted musical edginess, acquired after a year off.
Having jettisoned safe, sanitised cover versions, their latest CD is packed with pop power ballads, sumptuously arranged by producers in the United States, and positively oozing with class.
“A man asked to take a picture of me, then four of his friends crowded round yelling, ‘What the f**k are you doing? He first disclosed he was gay in 2005 after seven years of keeping his sexuality private from the public.