From Boyzone to God’s own

Shane Lynch
Shane Lynch now.

Kicked out of school at 14, Shane Lynch was a real problem child. But he proved his critics wrong by rising to fame in 1992 with boy band Boyzone.

With his moody, dark looks and multiple tattoos, Shane didn't quite fit the band's clean cut image. Indeed, it seemed that throughout his years with them the former mechanic was intent on rebelling against conformity. Infamously, he embarked on a drunk, expletive-filled rant at the 1999 MTV European Music Awards.

"Every time I spoke I had no respect for myself or anyone else," he confesses. "I was a very angry individual and I was lost in the world."

At the height of its fame, when Boyzone was enjoying a string of number one singles, albums and sell-out tours, Shane should have been one of the happiest men alive. However, he found himself in a "dark place and lost".

"I had everything in terms of materialistic things — a £1m house, a Mercedes, a Porsche. I had everything money could buy, but I wasn't happy," he admits. "I was quite lonely and I was searching for something else. It's true what they say, money can't buy you happiness.

"For a while I tried to fill the void in my life with all the kind of sex-drugs-and-rock-'n-roll things which are supposed to be cool," he recalls.

"I dabbled in the occult and was dancing with the devil, and doing all sorts of negative things looking for escape from myself. I'd lost respect for myself."

When Boyzone took a break in 2000, after seven years of non-stop touring, he found himself with too much time on his hands to dwell on things. His marriage to Esther Bennett, the lead singer in now-defunct girl band Eternal, crumbled as Shane became withdrawn, moody and in his own words "an extremely angry man". The pair split up in 2002.

Shane Lynch then
Shane Lynch then.

"I was very immature and selfish during that time, but I worked my way through that, found my Christian faith and understand the world and myself nowadays," Shane explains.

The change came about when he shared his struggles with a friend and was advised to turn to God. In November 2003, he was baptised [immersed in water] as an outward sign of his new-found Christian faith and now tours the UK telling his story.

"I turned to God and asked for His help and He gave it to me," he says simply.

Recently, Shane shared his story in his autobiography called The Chancer, which he wrote "to encourage others to make the most of the opportunities life presents them with, rather than get hung up on material things".

"I was written off as a child, not for being dyslexic, but as a problem child not getting on in life or with the school system. However, not being able to read or write did not stop me from being successful. I had to take a chance on things and I 'chanced' my way through school by cheating in my exams and using my charm. That's where the title of the book comes from.

"It's plain to see around us that there are so many people searching for comfort and happiness. That's why there are so many turning to drink and drugs," he explains. "But I'm no-one to tell anyone how to live their life. I'm simply telling them about mine."

In August 2007 Shane married his long-term girlfriend Sheena White, a former backing singer for Westlife. They met at church and have had two daughters.

"Some people mocked me when I announced that I was a Christian," Shane recalls. "But this is no flash in the pan experience. I am stronger, freer and happier than I have ever been in my life and it gets better and better.

"I owe everything to Christ. I have been freed of everything ... Every day is a brand new adventure. I am a better man for the faith which has been placed in my heart," he declares.

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