Stephen Gately (born 17.3.1976, died 10.10.2009)
Stephen Gately was a member of the Irish boy band, Boyzone. He also had a successful solo career as well as having participated in a number of stage acting projects.
Stephen Gately: Childhood
Stephen Gately was born and raised in the working class area of Sheriff Street, Dublin. Stephen was the fourth of five children, with whom he shared a room as a child. Stephen's father, Martin Gately, was a decorator and his mother, Margaret, was a cleaner.
Stephen attended St. Laurence O'Toole's primary school and then North Strand Technical College. Whilst at school, he performed in a number of school plays, including Juno and the Paycock. For some years, Stephen Gately was estranged from his parents. In 2008, he was reconciled with them and visited them with his partner, Andrew Cowles.
Stephen Gately: Musical Career
Stephen Gately auditioned to join Boyzone in 1993, beating over 300 applicants to the job, along with Ronan Keating, Mikey Graham, Shane Lynch and Keith Duffy. The band's debut performance on Gay Byrne's The Late Late Show became infamous for the band's lack of vocal display and dubious dancing abilities.
Managed by Louis Walsh, who is now famous for his judging position on X Factor along with Simon Cowell, Boyzone had their first success with the release of 'Love Me For A Reason', which reached number two in the UK Singles chart. Throughout the 1990s, Boyzone had a heavily publicized rivalry with Take That.
In 1999, around the time of the release of Boyzone's greatest hits album, By Request, Stephen Gately publicly announced that he was gay. It was reported that a newspaper had threatened to break the story, so Gately was pressured into making the announcement himself. Boyzone split in 1999 but reformed in 2008, after Louis Walsh brokered a meeting between the former members.
During the split, Stephen Gately was the first to launch a solo career. His debut solo single was 'New Beginning', taken from an album of the same name. The track reached number three in the UK charts. The track featured a cover of Mike Batt and Art Garfunkel's 'Bright Eyes', taken from the soundtrack to Watership Down. The second single from the album was 'I Believe', which was included on the soundtrack to Billy Elliot, which starred Jamie Bell and Julie Walters. Despite Gately's third single 'Stay' reaching number 13 in the charts, his record company Polydor dropped him from the label.
In 2002, Stephen Gately landed the lead role in Bill Kenright's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. He also went on to play the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. In December 2005, Stephen Gately starred in a pantomime production of Cinderella, in Bromley. Gately also starred in Dancing on Ice in 2007. He and his partner, Kristina Lenko, went out in eighth place.
In October 2008, the newly-reformed Boyzone released a new single entitled 'Love You Anyway', followed by 'Better', in December of that year. Boyzone had around 30 songs that they intended to record for a new album, slated for release in 2010. However, Gately's untimely death put the certainty of this record release on hold.
Stephen Gately: Personal Life
Prior to his death, Stephen Gately had been writing a children's book entitled The Tree of Seasons. Ronan Keating has promised that the book will be finished and published posthumously.
Following their split, Gately's first known boyfriend, Stephen Howard, became a heroin addict and committed suicide in 1995.
Stephen Gately was introduced to Andrew Cowles by mutual friends Elton John and David Furnish. Cowles and Gately entered into a civil partnership in 2006, at a ceremony in London, where they lived.
Stephen Gately died whilst on holiday in Majorca in 2009 with his partner Andrew. The coroner's report showed that Gately had died of natural causes and had a build up of fluid on the lungs. Stephen's funeral took place at the Church of St. Laurence O'Toole in Dublin. Cheryl Cole flew to Ireland to attend the funeral, along with thousands of mourners. Public tributes have been made by the likes of Bertie Ahern, Elton John, Stephen Fry and Westlife.
On 16th October 2009, the Daily Mail published an article by Jan Moir that linked Gately's death to his homosexual lifestyle. The article attracted a record-breaking number of complaints to the Press Complaints Commission.