X Factor Australia: Ronan Keating’s former mistress Francine Cornell says he promised to marry her
As we reported a couple of weeks ago, X Factor Australia judge Ronan Keating has found new love with TV producer Storm Uechtritz following the breakdown of his marriage to former wife, Yvonne Keating.
And of course, as fans of Ronan’s will most likely know, his split from Yvonne came after the pair tried and failed to heal the rift caused when it became public knowledge that Ronan had had an affair with dancer Francine Cornell, who he met in 2009.
When the news of his infidelity broke, Ronan publicly apologised to Yvonne for the pain he’d caused her, and he vowed to do everything in his power to make his marriage work.
But of course, that proved impossible and the pair separated amicably. However in today’s Sun, Francine has spoken out for the first time about her affair with the Boyzone singer, claming that he told her he would marry her…
She claims that Ronan wept as he told her, “In 20 years, we will be married.”
Francine also revealed that Yvonne had called her after the news of the affair went public, to ask if she was in love with Ronan.
She began by saying, “I have constantly been painted as the scarlet woman who ruined a perfect marriage. It couldn’t be further from the truth.
Of meeting Ronan when she was a backing dancer for Boyzone, Francine said,“Ronan was lovely. After a while I noticed he’d look at me and I thought, ‘Am I doing something wrong?’ I was secretly panicking.
“One day near the end of the tour he came up to me at a soundcheck and said, ‘I’m really sorry I keep staring at you, I can’t help it’.
“Any girl would be flattered, but it made me a little nervous.
“Then one night after a show in Newcastle, everyone on the tour went to the bar at the hotel.
“Up until that night I hadn’t had a proper conversation with Ronan. He can be very quiet. But gradually people drifted away and we had a one-on-one conversation.
“We found out more about each other — we were both on the same wavelength. It was as if we had known each other forever. Everything was very easy and natural.
“Not a lot happened on the tour, though we kissed. One night we sat up talking, eating a packet of Monster Munch together.
“We were chatting and I realised the relationship I was in wasn’t right, because I was feeling something for somebody that was more than I was feeling for the person I was in a relationship with.
“However when we walked away from the tour in June, Ronan didn’t have my number and I didn’t have his. ‘That was that’, I thought — ‘Back to our real lives we go’.”
She added, “A couple of days later I got a phone call and it was Ronan. He had got my number from his bandmate Stephen Gately.
“Ronan said, ‘I needed to speak to you, I miss you. I want to see you. I’m in London next week, will you come and see me’?
“I was relieved I’d spoken to him. I went to meet him and that was that. It was so good to see each other. We’d really missed each other.”
Their affair began in earnest then, of which Francine said, “I said to him numerous times, ‘You’ve got to go back to your wife and kids. If it’s not working for you, come and find me’.
“He led me to believe that his relationship with Yvonne was more platonic than anything else.
“He loved her dearly — she was the mother of his children — but he wasn’t in love with her. Life on the road meant they’d led separate lives.
“It doesn’t condone what I did, but that’s the place he was at.
“Sometimes Ronan and I would agree that we would end it and that we wouldn’t ever talk again.
“Then he’d ring up crying, saying, ‘I can’t do this any more, I need you, I need you. I can’t not have you in my life’.
“He was the one who pursued me, most definitely, I made the mistake of falling for it and not having the strength to walk away.”
Francine went on to say that during the affair, the late Stephen Gately became her confidant, and after his sudden death in 2009, she and Ronan turned to each other for comfort.
She said, “Ronan took the news really badly as he was in a bad place to start with emotionally.
“His life was in tatters. He and Yvonne had grown apart, so he needed me then more than ever.”
Of Yvonne finding out about her husband’s affair, Francine said, “She was furious and acted like any woman would.”
And finally, when asked if she’s jealous of Ronan’s new love Storm, Francine said, “I think a part of me wishes that could be me — that that could have happened then.
“But now is different and I just wish him well.”