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Vogue McFadden: Brian is all I could have wished for

Vogue McFadden says she wasn't planning to get married until she met her husband Brian. Now living in London, she tells Barry Egan about her career and experiences as a child in Ireland

Barry Egan ·

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WINNING SMILE: Vogue McFadden says her parents were shocked when she went to Australia with pop star Brian who, she says, is a very sensitive person and also her best friend. Photo: Gerry Mooney. Opposite page: Brian and Vogue in Melbourne last year. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty

'Nature gives you the face you have at 20," Coco Chanel once said. "Life shapes the face you have at 30. But, at 50, you get the face you deserve."

At 28, Vogue McFadden still has the visage of a Ford-Model-cum-cherub, despite the fact that the hazel-eyed Dubliner thinks she's bordering on an old hag with "only two years to go to 30!" (Exclamation marks are practically de rigueur in a Vogue sentence.)

Vogue was born on October 2, 1985 in the Rotunda hospital. "Just like Brian," she adds in reference to husband Brian McFadden, who came into this (West) life on April 12, 1980.

"It kills me when Brian says: 'Ohhh, nearly 29!' I hate it," the model-turned-DJ-turned-TV-star harrumphs.

"I'm an old granny now!" she hisses, "because I don't really go on the piss that much. I just can't handle it. I get two-day hangovers."

Then, in virtually the next breath, the 5ft 11in blonde chortles: "But I feel like I'm still 20. I felt like I was young when I got married. I was 26 -- and that is young. Even though Brian got married when he was four," Vogue says in reference to the ex-Westlife star's disastrous union with Kerry Katona, about which he himself said he had "no idea" what he was doing when he married Kerry in January 2002.

Vogue says she wasn't planning to get married so young. Fate just intervened. She and Brian met one night in April, 2010, in Krystle nightclub on Harcourt Street in Dublin. "I was walking to the bathroom and he did the Madonna vogue sign at me with his hand and said nothing. I think people have done that to me a million times but it seemed to work for him."

What happened next was that, upon her return, she and Brian talked to each other for seven hours straight. "It was mental." Vogue says she waited at least a week before she told him that he was nothing like what she expected. "But the thing is, once you get to know Brian you love him, and everyone does. He is much nicer than me! That's the funny thing. Brian is a lot nicer than I am!"

Less than a month later, Vogue went on holiday to Australia with him (he was a judge on Australia's Got Talent). She told everyone she was going to see her brother Frederick. "I was actually going to see Brian." When Vogue got to Australia, she decided she wasn't coming back to Ireland.

Her mother Sandra's reaction to this revelation out of the blue that Vogue had moved Down Under was predictable. "She nearly died! My family were really worried about me. I had just come out of a long-term relationship as well. So they all thought that maybe I was losing the plot a bit ... not on the rebound but just because I had changed so much -- I just dropped Ireland and decided I wanted to stay there with him."

Asked what was her poor mother's and sister Amber's reaction was when she told them that she was dating tabloid bad boy Brian McFadden, Vogue -- the second youngest of four siblings (the others are Amber, 30, Frederick, 33, and Alexander, at 18) -- grimaces and laughs: "Ohhh! Probably the same reaction that everybody else probably would have if they don't know Brian. And it was the same thing that I thought about Brian before I met him. Just like -- 'Him!' Because everyone thinks bad things about Brian because he has had seven years of bad press when he hasn't been living here. He doesn't retaliate over anything that's written about him in the press, because it makes it worse, but so then everyone has their set opinion of Brian, mine included."

And before you met him, what was your opinion of Brian McFadden?

"I wasn't a huge fan of him, to be honest. When I saw him I was like, 'There's your man'."

Vogue got engaged to your man in November, 2011, on a hill in Perth at a Dave Stewart concert. Brian proposed just as Vogue's favourite song Here Comes The Rain Again came on. They were married on September 2, 2012, in a castle in Florence, Italy -- with Brian's two daughters from his first marriage to ex-popstar Ms Katona, Molly, now 12, and Lilly-Sue, 10, as "mini bridesmaids". The big phat Italian wedding, complete with guests such as Danni Minogue, was captured on the front covers of Hello! magazine in the UK and OK! magazine in Australia. Those who thought Brian and Vogue's relationship would last a wet week were doomed to disappointment. Their marriage is a solid one.

The marriage of Vogue's parents Sandra Cassidy and Frederick Williams ended when Vogue was six years of age. Vogue remembers her mum and dad arguing, but she wasn't too upset in hindsight because she had a good relationship with her dad and her mum. "For a couple of years my mum was looking after us and she was working two jobs [among them one at Aer Lingus].

"Mum, never complained," Vogue recalls, adding that when she was eight she and her mum and Amber and Frederick left the family home in Portmarnock and moved to Offington in Sutton to live with Sandra's partner, Neil Wilson, a Scottish property developer, now retired. (He and Sandra have a son, Alexander, 18.)

The break-up of her mother and father's marriage when Vogue was so young didn't affect her psychologically in later life. She says she never had difficulties in romantic relationships. "I never had trust issues. My step-dad is great. He is very grounded. He is very into education, and unbelievably strict. We weren't allowed out after school at night. He was strict, but not in a bad way. I mean, I would probably be that strict towards my kids because we all turned out quite well, even though me and Amber were monsters when we were younger. Especially me! I was the biggest monster. I used to get suspended from school."

These suspensions at Santa Sabina secondary school in Sutton were for, she says, "a lot of talking. I wasn't rude to people but I was constantly disrupting people. My auntie was our Year Head and she said that I was the worst pupil she's ever had!" she says with a laugh.

Vogue's biological father, Frederick, died in November 12, 2010, aged 67. "It was awful, but I have come to terms with it now," says Vogue (who has an older "half-sister" Alison from a previous relationship of her biological father's).

He went in for an operation because he had an aneurysm in his stomach, she says. "It was either going to burst or he could be on his own and he would definitely die or else they could try and remove it. He didn't really want to do the operation. I told him he had to do it. We went for dinner in my auntie's house in Rush on a Sunday."

Frederick went into the Mater Hospital on the Monday and had the operation on the Tuesday, "but he just never woke up". In January, Vogue is going to a medium to try to talk to her father in the afterlife. "I just want to make sure he is all right."

I say that I'm sure he is more than happy with how she has turned out.

"I think he would be delighted for me because I'm doing what I want to do in TV and everything like that," she says, adding that perhaps her dad "wouldn't have liked me to be with anybody. He wouldn't meet my previous boyfriend even after five years. Maybe it was because I was his youngest".

Her father, a used car salesman, "sorted of lived the life of a man who had a lot of chances. He drank and smoked and put butter on his chips. He was not healthy at all! But he was such good fun. Amber and I used to go on the piss with him every Sunday down to Skerries. We were very close to him.

"Brian is quite similar to my dad in the way he goes on sometimes. He takes the piss out of people and he has his opinions on certain things that are a bit archaic, like my dad."

There is a theory often floated by psychologists that women are drawn to men who resemble their fathers, I point out to her.

"That is so creepy!" she grimaces. "I think I just liked Brian's personality and he was a good bit of craic. It was only when I got to know him more that I noticed there were similarities between him and my dad. Mainly he smoked his face off and he drank vodka and coke -- and my dad smoked his face off and drank vodka and coke. Although Brian has promised to give up smoking on the first of January. He has to. I can't stand the smell."

Ah, yes -- smell. Last month while starring, albeit controversially, in RTE's Vogue Does Home & Away, Santa Sabina's most disruptive pupil said in the documentary that the Irish expats Down Under were a pongy bunch.

How does it feel to have insulted so many Irish people?

"It was so bizarre, because I love everything Irish. The thing that annoyed me about that getting so blown out of proportion is that I hate that people thought that I was being anti-Irish because that is so not me. On some days I smell. It depends if I've had a shower, but I use Mitchum -- it is so effective you can skip a day!"

If Vogue McFadden didn't exist you'd have to make her up. She is a force of nature -- an endless source of post-Sex and the City badinage. She is also, by her own admission, a moany bitch. "If I won the Lotto I would probably whinge about the fact that I had to go down and collect the ticket," she whinges.

And then: "Brian is definitely getting better looking with age. Look at him in Westlife! I would not have fancied him in Westlife!"

I get a text from her beloved husband: "I'm one lucky boy. Vogue is the sweetest kindest most beautiful woman I have ever met. Not only is she a great wife but she is my best friend, too. If she starts playing golf we will then literally do everything together."

Possibly what keeps Vogue from joining Brian on the golf course is her pronounced obsessive compulsive tendencies in their London home (they moved there late last summer from Australia). She is bordering on anal retention about matters domestic.

"I have this thing where I have to iron my sheets. It drives me nuts if they are not ironed! Everything has to be exactly in its place! I like everything to be spotless. My mum irons socks! She is way worse than me. I can't stand anything being messy and everything has to be done a certain way," Vogue explains, "which is bad for Brian because he is not used to cleaning up after himself".

How does she stop herself from turning into Brian's second mother?

"Oh, it has been a long road," she harrumphs. "He was so bad when I first met him -- to the point where I was in disbelief at how little he would ever do. Now he has got quite good. He puts his clothes away. He knows the way I like everything done, so he will do it that way."

I am almost frightened to ask Vogue how she likes things done around the house, but I feel the fear and do it anyway.

"I like our cases packed a certain way. Because we were travelling around so much it needs to be done a certain way. You can have a pile for your tops, your jumpers, your gym gear. If he didn't pack right, it would stress me out. I would unpack his ... and repack it the way I wanted it."

Next week, she is flying off to Spain to spend the Yuletide with her husband and family at her mother Sandra's place in Sotogrande. "I'll be peeling all the vegetables and cleaning up afterwards," Vogue explains. "I love family.

"I think 30 would be a good age -- I still have lots of things I want to achieve," Vogue told Hello! magazine about having children the year of her marriage to Brian.

"I would like babies when I'm around 30. But it really depends on work because I really want to get to where I want to be, career-wise, before I start a family," says the young Dub who first made her mark on Irish television with RTE's Fade Street ("The first episode aired the night before my dad died," she says.)

"I definitely want to have kids. I will move back to Ireland when I have kids, but not for a few years. I think there is plenty of time to have kids. Me and my best friend have a pact that we're going to get pregnant together when we are 30."

In the meantime, Vogue and Brian have a dog called Winston, a two-year old Beaglier who looks like a little old man with a scrunched-up face.

Moving away from little old men with scrunched-up faces, I ask her what Brian McFadden is really like.

"Brian is quite sensitive," Brian McFadden's radiant redeemer replies. "He cries at movies all the time. We all cried at Saving Mr Banks. "It was actually, really sad, me, Brian and his two girls all crying ... and I am sort of stoney normally but that got me ... "

That stoniness of emotion doesn't thankfully extend to her husband dearest. "I love Brian more and more every day. We have a really great relationship and he is always there for me through good and bad. He is my best friend and the best husband I could ever have asked for."

And then in the next breath about her loved-up bon mots, Vogue hoots: "Ultimate cheese! Bang of Stilton off that!"

Irish Independent

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WINNING SMILE: Vogue McFadden says her parents were shocked when she went to Australia with pop star Brian who, she says, is a very sensitive person and also her best friend. Photo: Gerry Mooney. Opposite page: Brian and Vogue in Melbourne last year. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty
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rian and Vogue in Melbourne last year