Stephen Gately Biography

Stephen Patrick David Gately (17 March 1976 - 10 October 2009) was an Irish pop singer, songwriter and actor, who, with Ronan Keating, was one of two lead singers in the boy band Boyzone. All of the band's studio albums hit number one in the UK, their third and last being their most successful internationally. He had a Top 10 solo album in 2000, after the band's initial breakup. Gately went on to appear variously in stage productions and on television programmes as well recording further solo material. In 2008, he rejoined his bandmates as Boyzone reformed for a series of concerts and recordings.

Gately wed Andrew Cowles, first in a commitment ceremony in Las Vegas in 2003 and more formally in a civil partnership ceremony in London in 2006.

Gately joined Boyzone upon their formation in 1993. He shared the majority of lead vocal work with Ronan Keating. By the time Boyzone originally rested the band in 2000, they had achieved six #1 UK singles.

An appearance at Ireland's Meteor Music Awards in February 2008 launched the reformed Boyzone, with touring taking place throughout 2008.

After success with Boyzone, the band decided in 2000 to move on to solo projects. Gately was the first with his debut solo single titled New Beginning and later a debut solo album of the same name.

The album New Beginning included 12 brand new tracks including a version of the classic "Bright Eyes" which he recorded for the soundtrack to the new TV version of Watership Down. He also became the voice of one of the characters ('Blackavar') which was created to look like him.

On 29 May 2000, the single "New Beginning" was released and reached number #3 in the UK charts. Two weeks later the album was released and also entered the charts.

The second single taken from the album was "I Believe". Released on 2 October 2001 this song also featured on the soundtrack to the film Billy Elliot and just missed the UK top ten, peaking at #11. Gately was inspired to record this track after he had seen the film. He attended the premieres of the film both at the Edinburgh Film Festival and at the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square, along with the actors from the film including Julie Walters and Jamie Bell. In May 2001, Stephen's third single, "Stay", was released and reached #13 in the UK chart. That month, with his single still on the charts, his record company, Polydor, dropped him from their label.

In January 2007, Gately was heard in Horror of Glam Rock, a Doctor Who audio drama produced by Big Finish Productions for BBC7. For this audio play, Gately recorded an original song, "Children of Tomorrow", with music by Tim Sutton and lyrics by Barnaby Edwards; this was his first solo track since 2001's "Stay".

In December 2002, Gately took the lead role in Bill Kenwright's new production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which previewed in Oxford in December 2002 before moving to Liverpool over Christmas 2002 and finally to London's West End and the New London Theatre in Drury Lane in February 2003.

In September 2004, Gately took on a different role: the evil Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, at the London Palladium until March 2005.

In October 2004, Gately announced that he wanted to be the first artist to perform in space whilst taking flying on a Virgin Galactic flight.

Gately made his pantomime debut at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley in December 2005 starring as Dannii in Cinderella. In April 2006 he took on the role of The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury.

Gately also took part in Channel Five's All Star Talent Show in October 2006, performing the slice and dice magic trick which he only had a week to learn, coming second to Toby Anstis. He was also in the second series of ITV's Dancing on Ice with his dancing partner Kristina Lenko. They went out in eighth place on 10 February 2007.

In March 2007, Gately provided his vocal talents to the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio play, Horror of Glam Rock.

In April 2007, Gately appeared on Match of the Day, providing commentary on Ireland's game against Germany. His astute analysis led to calls for his permanent appearance on Match of the Day but nothing came of this, much to Gately's disappointment.

In September 2007, Gately began touring the UK in an 11-week run of Stephen Schwartz's rock musical Godspell, but withdrew from the production after just three weeks for contractual reasons.

In 2008, Gately appeared in the independent horror film, Credo which was released in the United States as Devil's Curse.

In 2008, Gately rejoined his old bandmates when Boyzone reformed, following the success of revived contemporaries Take That. Boyzone released a brand new single, "Love You Anyway", followed by a new compilation album in October 2008. December 2008 saw the release of a second new single, "Better". The video for the song generated controversy, as scenes depicting romantic couples included a shot of two men embracing, in an inclusive nod to Gately's homosexuality, leading it to be condemned by, among others, the pastor of the Dromore, Northern Ireland Reformed Presbyterian Church.

During the three years prior to his death, Gately had been writing a children's fantasy novel called The Tree of Seasons. In an April 2009 interview with the Press Association he declared that he was nearly finished, had publisher interest, and hoped for a Christmas 2009 release.

Personal life

On 16 June 1999, The Sun newspaper covered its front page with what it described as a "World Exclusive" and the headline, "Boyzone Stephen: I'm gay and I'm in love". At the age of 23, Stephen gave the story to the newspaper because he feared a former member of Boyzone's security was about to sell the story. The Sun had two further pages on the story as well as an editorial. Gately also revealed that in 1998 he had started a relationship with the then 27 year-old Eloy de Jong, who had been in the Dutch boy band Caught in the Act. They had first met in 1995.

Gately and de Jong split up in January 2002 and Stephen moved back to Dublin. After remaining single for a while, Gately then started dating internet businessman Andrew Cowles, who had been introduced to him by mutual friends Elton John and David Furnish. Gately and Cowles held a commitment ceremony in a wedding chapel whilst on holiday in Las Vegas in 2003. On 19 March 2006, Gately entered into a civil partnership with Cowles in a ceremony in London.

His manager Louis Walsh was unaware of Gately's sexuality when he selected him for the band and has said that, had he known, he would have thought twice before picking him, citing that "it wasn't cool then to have a gay guy in a band".


Gately's body was discovered on 10 October 2009 while on holiday in Majorca. The cause of death has yet to be determined, although it was reported that he had "gone out for drinks, returned to his accommodation and fallen asleep, but never woke up." Boyzone manager Louis Walsh is quoted as saying: "We're all absolutely devastated. I'm in complete shock. I was only with him on Monday at an awards ceremony. We don't know much about what's happened yet. I only heard after The X Factor and we will rally around each other this week. He was a great man."

Gately's bandmates and Louis Walsh are expected to fly out to Majorca on 11 October 2009.
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