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Inside Louis Walsh's private life away from cameras: From love life to fallout with Ronan Keating

The former X Factor judge is notoriously private about his love life

Louis Walsh on 'This Morning' in 2017
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
6 March 2024
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Louis Walsh is a regular fixture on our TV screens now that he's appearing as a housemate on ITV's brand new series of Celebrity Big Brother. The music mogul is a familiar face to the nation thanks to Saturday night staple The X Factor, on which he appeared as a judge on and off from 2004 to 2017. 

As Louis makes himself at home in the iconic Big Brother house, find out all we know about his life away from the cameras, including his love life and public controversies. 

WATCH: Louis joins the likes of Princess Kate's uncle Gary Goldsmith in the Big Brother house

Louis's love life

Louis, who hails from County Mayo, in the West of Ireland, has remained notoriously private about his love life over the years.  

During a 2013 interview with The Sunday Times, Louis declined to answer a question about his sexuality. "I can't... Don't go there," he said. "I can't. I think your private life is your private life... I'm happy. Happy as Larry!"

louis walsh
Louis has always remained very private about his love life

Public controversies

Notoriously outspoken, Louis was never one to hold back his opinion on The X-Factor and even found himself at the centre of various off-camera controversies over the years thanks to comments he made about his famous friends. 

Kate rose to fame hosting The X Factor with judges Sharon Osbourne, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh
Louis is best known for his judging role on The X Factor

Fallout with Ronan Keating

Louis worked with Ronan Keating for many years, both as the manager of Boyzone and when the latter embarked on his solo career. 

After going their separate ways, the pair had a falling out, with Louis previously telling the press: "He wasn't the most talented one - he's not a great singer and he's got no personality."

The music manager also labelled Ronan as "talentless and spoiled" during a 2012 interview with Q Magazine

Ronan Keating in a black suit© Shutterstock
Louis worked as Ronan Keating's manager for years

The negative comments didn't end there, however. The following year, Louis told The Times he had "nothing to do with" Ronan and referred to the singer as a "little manufactured pop star who actually believed his own publicity". 

"Ronan thought he was George Michael. He didn't write his own songs," he said. "I picked all his songs. I picked every single hit he had. He said he didn't want to be a karaoke artist. Well, that's what he is."

Ronan also didn't hold back and later told Closer magazine: "That man absolutely tried to ruin me and if he thinks we can ever hug and make up he can forget it. I haven't heard from him in three years and I wouldn't have a problem if I never saw him again. He's not a nice character."

Feud with Girls Aloud

Louis's feud with Girls Aloud is thought to have started over a decade ago when he was managing the band and made a comment about their appearances. Kimberley Walsh previously told BUILD Series LDN: "We were doing our video for Love Machine in 2004 and Louis Walsh waltzed in and said to us, 'Oh, none of you are fat any more! Brilliant, that's great.'"

Louis then went on to judge alongside Cheryl on The X Factor, and the pair famously bickered across the judging panel, with co-star Simon Cowell even comparing them to Tom and Jerry. 

X Factor Judges Dannii Minogue, Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell in 2010© Ken McKay/Talkback Thames/Shutterstock
Louis and Cheryl were both judges on The X Factor

In December last year, the Irish TV personality admitted that he doesn't keep in touch with Cheryl. "I don't have a relationship with Cheryl, I don't bother," he told Ladbrokes. "I haven't seen her, I haven't heard from her. We didn't get on great on X Factor because she didn't get the fun of it. She didn't understand that side of it."

Defamation case and impact on mental health

In June 2011, Louis was falsely accused of sexually assaulting a man in the toilets of a Dublin nightclub in a story published in The Sun. While the TV star received over £400,000 in libel damages and the man was later imprisoned for the false accusation, the story had lasting effects on Louis's mental health. 

louis walsh © Photo: Getty Images
Louis's defamation battle took a toll on his mental health

"There was one particular moment when I was in the hotel in London, in The Kensington, and I was watching Sky News and I was on it - it was the front page of The Sun - and I was thinking, 'No one is going to believe me'," he told The Belfast Telegraph in 2015. 

"I didn't know I was going to get out of the dark place, but Paul Tweed and Gavin Bonnar got me and they sorted me out. Without them, I wouldn't have got through it. Simon was totally supportive, and Elton John called me the following day. He said, 'I know what happened. I know it's not true. This is my mobile number.' It was great to get a bit of support. It was the greatest reality check I've ever had in my life."

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