Monday 11 December 2017

What is it like to have a celeb as a BFF?

Three stars tell Andrea Smith how fame doesn't matter when it comes to long-lasting friendships

From Una Healy having every single one of The Saturdays as her bridesmaids, to Gordon Ramsay and that, er, well-known culinary expert David Beckham opening up a restaurant together, what's not to love about celebrity VBFs?

We're used to star-studded 'friendships' springing up among the glitterati quicker than you can say 'photo-op', but when it comes to the crunch, celebs will always turn to the pals who knew them before they hit the big time. When they had their old noses and dodgy perms.

We met three well-known Irish personalities with their long-time BFFs, and asked them to spill the beans on their friendship.

Lisa Murphy and Rachael Glennon

Lisa Murphy and Rachael Glennon, from Ballinteer, have been friends since secondary school. Rachael lives with her partner Paul and their children, Lauryn, Sarah and Matthew, and she runs her own chartered accountancy practice, Glennon and Co.

Lisa is the star of TV3's Dublin Housewives, and the owner of the New Lisa Life beauty salon in Sandycove. Sadly, her engagement to celebrity solicitor Gerald Kean recently ended.

Rachael says ... .

Lisa was always glamorous, even at 13. I was a tomboy and she was the little dainty one, so if you saw us walking up the street together, you'd wonder why we'd be friends. She taught me how to drive and once the car broke down on Dame Street and she had to get out in her little miniskirt and push it.

Lisa was always very shy and it took her years to overcome it, but you can see that her confidence has grown in recent years. We've never had a row because neither of us likes confrontation.

We haven't always approved of each other's relationships in the past, but we'd always respect the other's choices. I'd be more straight-talking, whereas even if you offended Lisa, she'd still be nice to you.

It upsets me when some people presume that Lisa doesn't have a brain because she's blonde and glamorous. She actually studied accountancy at college, too, and is almost as shrewd with numbers as I am. She had the drive to open up her beautiful beauty salon in a recession, when most people would have been too scared, and I'm really proud of her for doing it.

She's very caring and soft, and thinks about other people more than herself. If anything happens to me, she is the person that I instinctively ring.

Lisa says ... .

Rachael and I clicked instantly, even though we're like chalk and cheese. When we were about 15, I sneaked her into the house after a disco while everyone was asleep.

My sister Kira began to wake up, so I threw Rachael on the floor, rolled her under my bed and fell asleep.

Poor Rachael was trapped under the bed, and couldn't get out until Kira left the next morning.

Rachael and I could spend all day and night talking and would still have something to say.

She was there for me through the loss of my brother Paul and my mother's cancer, and also when I broke up with Gerald and my two previous boyfriends.

Rachael is very protective, and she takes more offence if someone says something about me than I do.

I'm so proud of her, because she has a business and three amazing children. Actually, her daughter Lauryn should have been my child because she's so girlie, whereas Rachael would never wear a dress or jewellery or make up!

She asked me to be godmother to her son Matthew and I was so honoured. She's my best friend in the whole world and is a giver with the biggest heart.

Dave Fanning and Mel Reilly

2fm DJ Dave Fanning has been friends with Mel Reilly since they met at Blackrock College in the late 1970s. Mel is divorced, and teaches English and history at St Tiernan's school in Balally. Dave is married to Ursula, and has three children, Jack, Robert and Hayley.

Mel says ... .

As teenagers, Dave and I were always listening to music and fantasising about what it must be like to be in a band.

Looking back, it was no surprise to me that he ended up as a DJ, because he was always carrying LPs around.

Our Irish teacher used to call him "Fear na Ceirnini".

Dave is a very kind person and would always be very good to friends who are going through a hard time. Men have a reputation for not talking, but Dave and I have always been able to speak about things. When I was splitting up with my wife, he talked to me about it and would always check that I was okay.

Now that he's older, Dave's life is centred around his family. I don't have children, but having seen him with his kids, I know what a fantastic bonding thing it is. We're like a modern-day version of Friends, because we hang out together and I'd be in his house a lot. We've never had a fight. Dave likes to slag me about the holidays I get from work and I would slag him about losing things -- like the time we were in Las Vegas and he lost his credit card about 20 times in one day.

Dave says ... .

Mel was one of the first people at school to get a car -- a four-door Morris Minor -- and it was great because it meant that we could go away at weekends.

He was much better than me at chatting up girls when we were teenagers and he had girlfriends, but I didn't. If a one-night thing happened, that was great, but I wasn't into having a permanent girlfriend as it would have gotten in the way of going out with the lads. Until I met Ursula, of course.


I'd say our lives would probably be very different in ways. Mel has a secure job with a pension and he also gets five months off per year, which is complete nonsense.

He goes to Greece every summer for six weeks, knowing that he has the security of a job to come back to, which is a great way to live.

Mel tells it like it is and I love that whole railing against the world thing. We'll probably end up like Waldorf and Statler from The Muppet Show -- the two old guys sitting at the bar, ruminating on the world and giving out about every single thing.

One or two of our other friends would probably see us that way already, although we also find a lot to laugh at.

Linda Martin and Orla Kearney

Singer and actress Linda Martin has been friends with Orla Kearney for 29 years and lives with her partner Ronan, 22 dogs and several cats. She will be appearing in Jedward and the Magic Lamp at the Olympia Theatre this Christmas. Orla works in customer service in the banking sector, and has two daughters, Niamh and Alannah, with her husband Mark.

Orla says ... .

Linda and I first met 29 years ago when the bold Louis Walsh told us we should go to see the band Chips. I used to go on the road with Linda, so instead of her having to go in the van with a gang of smelly lads, she would come in the car with me. We'd have the craic and would talk for hours. If we got invited to a party anywhere, we'd go. It was just good, clean fun, as Linda was never into all the rock 'n' roll and drugs and sex.


When I got married and had children, I had to slow down a bit. I tease Linda about not liking kids because she always says, "I couldn't eat a whole one," but the thing is, she loves talking about her five nieces and nephews. They used to spend their summers with her when they were younger and she's a wonderful aunt.

Neither of us do pubs, so we meet for coffee and go out for dinner. Linda is great fun and very direct. I asked her if she wanted to go to something with me recently, and she said, "I'd rather put needles in my eyes." I hope we'll stay friends for years to come.

Linda says ... .

I have a real sense of pride about the fact that Orla and I go back so far and I think it's to our credit that we've both always kept up the effort with our friendship. I remember doing a gig in a marquee somewhere, and Orla was wearing this gorgeous pink dress with a sweetheart neckline. Louis Walsh was a desperate prankster and he came up behind her and pulled down the zip. I could see the dress falling down from the stage!

Orla has always been on the other end of the phone if I had any difficulties, whether it was romantic problems or family issues. Something else we have in common is that neither of us is fond of cooking. As far as I'm concerned, friends have to be cherished and I'm a very loyal friend. Orla knows that she only has to lift the phone and if there's anything I can do, I will.

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