Record companies were falling over themselves to sign the band and, in 1998, Simon Cowell of RCA signed them up in a multi-million pound deal.Ronan Keating also stepped in to help co-manage the band's first few singles and albums.With a number one artist already under his belt, Walsh was ready for his next challenge.Relying on his instincts, Walsh knew that his next hit would be with a band that would rival the success of Take That.Walsh was also the mastermind behind Lulu’s duet album featuring stars such as Paul Mc Cartney, Sting and Elton John and her most successful release to date, reaching Number Four in the charts.In 2001, Walsh made his first foray into television on the Irish version of Popstars.For the ever-cheerful Walsh is generally much loved by journalists. At heart, Louis is still a boy from a small town in West Ireland who once had a dream, who lived the dream and can’t quite believe that the dream came true. He rarely drinks; he ‘dabbled’ with drugs many years ago, but keeps a healthy lifestyle now. We are like these two old queens crashing around the place.
In a way, it is horribly ironic that Louis Walsh, of all people, should have fallen foul of a newspaper in such a terrible way. All these websites, all these phone cameras, all these people trying to make money . .’Even so, despite the trauma of the past months, nothing can quite dim his elfish joie de vivre. He never wanted a family — ‘I couldn’t think of anything worse than having children: I am too selfish’ — and likes nothing better than watching box sets of American shows on one of his six TVs. He has lost weight over the past year due to the stress, but he still looks terrific and has bags of energy.Ronan Keating’s solo album shot to Number One and a further two hit singles were released from the album, which went on to sell over 4.4 million copies.Walsh and Keating later decided to part-company and acrimoniously fell out.A series of auditions followed and five unknown artists were plucked from obscurity.Ronan Keating, Stephen Gately, Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham.
She decided to break the news to Louis in the most sensitive way possible, live on The Xtra Factor on Saturday night.