Shane Filan has revealed that Louis Walsh “lost it” and slapped him in the face following a bad audition with Simon Cowell during the early days of his music career.
The former Westlife star described the incident as “crazy” and said he thought his life was over following Louis’ extreme reaction.
Shane makes the revelation to Pat Kenny on the next episode of Pat Kenny In the Round.
He explained that he turned up to Westlife’s audition, in which he met Simon Cowell for the first time, “worse for wear” and Louis was NOT happy.
“I did a very bad audition. I was out the night before, I wasn’t in great shape. I arrived up and Louis saw it straight away,” he said.
We walked in and we met this man called Simon Cowell for the first time. It didn’t go well and Louis wasn’t very happy with me afterwards. He kind of lost it. He slapped me in the face. It was crazy. He was shouting “what are you doing” and he was shaking me and saying “I was counting on you in there”.
He added: “I thought my life was over. I thought that’s it, I’ve ruined my life. It was horrible but [Louis] said ‘don’t worry, don’t worry, I’ve got a plan’.
“So, he dyed my hair blonde and grew it long for about three or four months and he said we’ll get him back. He won’t even recognise you. Louis always says ‘trust me, trust me’ so that worked, thank God.”
In a previous interview, Simon commented: “When (Westlife) first came along, they were the ugliest boy band in the world. Seriously, like you couldn’t get uglier.
“I said to the manager at the time, ‘Forget it!’ And then he re-auditioned and one of the ugly ones dyed his hair blonde for the second time I saw them and he got back into the group.
“I didn’t recognise him but it all worked out fine and they sold about 50 million albums.”
The programme, which airs on Monday at 9 p.m, also sees Shane opening up about his well-documented bankruptcy crisis, and admitting his wife Gillian was not just his rock, but his “boulder” through the tough times.
“She’s just unreal. She’s class. I could’ve been very unlucky to meet somebody else that would’ve reacted completely differently,” he said.
“There was nothing that was going to stop us. I remember telling her at the time, when we knew it was really bad, I remember standing in the in Sligo and I said, look we could lose this house. It’s not looking good.
“She said I don’t care, we could live in a cardboard box and that’s the type of woman she was, that was her comment. That’s when you realise Pat, life is going to throw some ups and downs at you, but if you have a happy family and three perfect , you know I don’t need anything else. You just need to get by and I don’t need much more.”
During the interview, the singer also teased about a potential Westlife reunion.
“You know Pat, it’s a question we get asked a lot and it’s something that could happen, but it is four or five people that have to make that decision, so it depends where we all are individually in our own lives at that stage. But yeah, it could happen of course,” he admitted.