Gay Westlife singer Mark Feehily says therapy helped him deal with his ‘internalised homophobia’

Patrick Kelleher June 27, 2020
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Mark Feehily Westlife

Westlife. (Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty)

Westlife star Mark Feehily has said therapy helped him deal with his deeply embedded internalised homophobia.

The singer came out as gay in 2005 when the Irish boyband was at the height of their success.

Reflecting on that time, Feehily told Jennifer Zamparelli on RTÉ 2FM that coming  out was “very scary” – and said he had to embark on a long and difficult journey to rid himself of internalised homophobia.

“For me my coming out experience was an anti-climax in one way because I was so worried what everyone would think and I got zero negative reaction, everyone I was worried about just didn’t give a hoot,” he said.

“The main thing I learned was that it was all actually within me.”

Mark Feehily was told he had ‘internalised homophobia’ by his therapist.

He continued: “I went to a counsellor at one point but I couldn’t get to the bottom of it and I couldn’t more forward.

“And she said to me, it was in London, ‘You are homophobic’, and I was so shocked.

“I was just like ‘I just told you I was gay five minutes ago, what are you on about?’ And she went on and explained it to me and internalised homophobia which is in a lot of young gay lads.”

I went to a counsellor at one point but I couldn’t get to the bottom of it and I couldn’t more forward.

“They are their own worst enemy and until you can deal with that, you can’t move forward.”

Feehily said he was “so worried” about what people would say when they found out he was gay – but came to realise he was the one with the problem.

Westlife star says therapy changed his life.

“It was a big lightbulb moment and it changed my life,” he added.

He said going to therapy to deal with his internalised homophobia is the “best thing” he has ever done.

Feehily also praised his bandmate Kian Egan for encouraging him to seek help.

“He was one of the main people that reached out and went,’ Look, why don’t you have a think about doing this and go and talk to someone’.

“And through that door was the start of the rest of my life.”

More: Mark Feehily, Westlife

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