Stephen Gately’s battle with pills and depression before Elton John saved him

The nineties brought Stephen Gately more fun and adventure than he could ever have dreamed of – but the good times ended abruptly as the millennium hit.

Not only had Boyzone decided to split, but months earlier Stephen had been forced to come out as gay after a former bodyguard tried to sell a story to the media.

And as he embarked on a solo career, the depression Dublin-born Stephen had suffered on-and-off in Boyzone returned with a vengence.

"I was depressed for three years when the group split. Even when I was doing my solo album, I didn't feel 100 per cent," Stephen – who died 10 years ago today – told The Mirror in 2006.

"I missed the guys. It was weird being on your own in Asia promoting yourself and not having your buddies there. I had to get help."

The situation became worse when his career flopped as bandmate Ronan Keating's soared, and in 2001 he was dropped from his label.

Doctors gave him antidepressants – on which he became dependant – and he reportedly began having suicidal thoughts.

"I was a zombie. On these antidepressants you can't even laugh or cry," he said.


His relationship with Dutch singer Eloy De Jong also crumbled in 2001 under the pressure of the relentless promo trail.

And when a member of Boyzone's entourage bumped into the singer by chance, he said Stephen appeared to be in a bad way.

"I was really shocked when I set eyes on him. He looked vacant and spacey," the friend told the Daily Mail.

But everything changed by what Stephen called a "bolt out of the blue" – namely a voicemail from Elton John and his partner David Furnish.

"Listen Stephen, we feel that you're down," Elton said.


"We're at our home in Nice – we want you to come down. Come stay, if you want to."

Two days later Stephen was on a flight to France, where he and former drug addict Elton "talked over things."

"It was all very intimidating at first, but I thought, 'what have I got to lose?'" Stephen recalled.

"They've been really supportive of me and always phone up to see if I'm okay. Elton has a sixth sense if there's something not right with someone – he's really in tune like that.

"When I got to sit down with him he was so genuine, so nice, and just wanted to offer words of encouragement. No pressure, he just asked me how I was, and we had a lovely, lovely time. After that my life just changed."

And it really did change. In 2003 Elton and David introduced Stephen to handsome internet tycoon Andrew Cowles.


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