Kate and RonanBy Kate Waterhouse

Ronan Keating found success as the lead singer of Boyzone and as a solo artist has sold more than 22 million records. Now the Irishman is a mentor and judge on Australia's X Factor. Kate Waterhouse caught up with the 34-year-old to chat about family life, moving into film and if he really thinks Three Wishez can win The X Factor.

What made you do an Aussie talent show?

X Factor is such a massive show back home and I know the format very well. Simon [Cowell] asked me to do it so I thought, ''Yeah, I'll give it a go.''

Is Simon hands-on?

Yes, [in] all of them. He watches closely, he gets sent all the shows after they have been aired. It's his baby; it's his product so he nurtures it.

Who do you think is going to win?

I think Reece [Mastin] is a great shot. I'm trying to get Three Wishez to the final. Groups have never won, so it's a really big deal and I'm doing everything I can.

Were you disappointed that Altiyan Childs seemed to waste last season's victory?

Yes. He was given everything on a plate and I've watched a lot of these shows … and 90 per cent of the contestants have pissed it all away. It's unbelievable. What happened with Altiyan is that it was too much, too soon. But he's … recording another album and I still believe in him. I think he's a talent.

What was the craziest thing a fan did at the height of your Boyzone fame?

We had some crazy things. I had a girl who pretended to work at the hotel, knock on my door and pretended to have room service … I remembered her face so I knew straight away, so I just said, ''No, it's not for me, you've got the wrong room,'' and pushed [her] tray out, locked the door and called security. It was freaky stuff.

How do you juggle The X Factor and family life?

It's not easy on the family and that's the biggest strain, the biggest problem is it's not easy to jump on a flight [to Ireland] every other week. I would consider moving the family down if Yvonne would do it and if I had enough work here because I can make albums anywhere.

You've had ups and downs but are you and Yvonne in a good place?

Yes, we are doing well. It's been hard, it's been really tough. But she is strong, she is so good, she's an amazing woman. I'm very lucky.

Will your kids follow in your footsteps?

My boy is definitely going that way and my daughter, 10, she's all of a sudden found this little voice. It's beautiful! I'm really proud of them. I would never put pressure on them. It's only if they come to me and say, ''I want to be a great musician.'' If they say they want to be famous, forget it. The celebrity thing doesn't go down well in our house.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Making movies would be great. I made my first film this year. It's coming out at Cannes in May. It was an amazing experience. I didn't want it to end and I've got another one on the cards.

Have you always wanted to get into movies?

Yes but I've never been good enough. I read for Moulin Rouge for Baz Luhrmann and I was hanging with [Leonardo] DiCaprio the other night and we were talking about it because he read for it as well and he didn't get the part, either. We were laughing because it was a singing-acting part, so … I did the singing part perfectly but then [Baz] gave me the script and I was crap. Leo was laughing and said: ''I had the total opposite. I went in and read the script with no problem but singing - I was howling.'' Ewan [McGregor] got it. It's not bad when someone like Obi-Wan Kenobi gets it.

WE WENT TO Osteria Balla, The Star.

WE ATE Parma ham with grana padano chunks; raw fish dressed with lemon and olive oil; spinach and ricotta gnocchi in burnt butter and parmesan; wood-grilled Yamba prawns.

WE DRANK Bloody Marys.

RONAN WORE Ksubi jeans, Chronicles of Never T-shirt.

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