From issue 25, Winter 2015
He rubbed shoulders with Barack Obama, the Pope and the Queen, but bad property investments brought Westlife singer Shane Filan’s world crashing down around him.
From the helicopter high-life to handouts, the last five years have been tough for Westlife star Shane Filan. Fourteen No.1 singles, 46 million records sold, and yet within days of a sellout concert with the band in June 2012, Shane was pronounced bankrupt. So where did it all go wrong?
“For the previous five years I’d been leading a double life,” Shane told The Mirror newspaper.
“I’d started a property company with my brother Finbarr when Ireland was booming. But we’d got in way over our heads just as the global economy was crashing. We owed £18million and that day the banks had demanded all the money back. I just broke down and sobbed when I heard,” he says.
“My world was crumbling around me. My three small children Nicole, Patrick and Shane Jnr were upstairs in bed thinking everything was grand because Daddy was a pop star. It was the most horrendous time of my life.”
Money worries can hit us all hard, but sometimes you need to go through the dark times to come out better the other side. Shane stuck at doing what he knew best and now he’s got a new record deal, he’s on tour again and he’s just published a gripping autobiography that reveals the highs and lows of his life.
“The banks were throwing money at people back then,” says Shane. “Yes, I made bad decisions but they also made it very easy.” Those bad decisions involved investing in lots of green field sites to build on but planning problems slowed them down and Shane got more and more into debt, until it overwhelmed him.
Shane credits his wife, Gillian, with getting him through the worst times: “Every day she’d say: “You’ve still got me, we’ve got the kids. We’ll be fine.”
Recovering from bankruptcy or major debt takes time, but Shane shows that with good advice and the support of loved ones it can be done.