Shane Lynch had expected to miss the birth of his first child, who was due while he was on a promotional tour of Australia with Boyzone this November. But his adorable daughter Billie-Rae had other ideas – and made her appearance two weeks early on 25 October.
Today, with charming honesty, Shane admits that he had secretly hoped that he would be away for the birth. “I had so many mixed emo- tions,” explains Shane, 32, who married singer Sheena White in August 2007. “I’m a very hands-on guy and I like to make everything correct and Ro [bandmate Ronan Keating] had told me that when you’re at a birth, you can’t do a flipping thing and you just feel useless. And it’s not nice to see your wife in pain.”
He is now very thankful that he was there. “Watching Sheena… it’s funny, I never thought I could love her more, but seeing her do that I was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re amazing,’” he reflects. “I never thought birth could be so excellent. I think if you, as a father, can witness such a thing, then do it. To see your wife be so powerful is just mind-blowing.”
Shane clearly dotes on his daughter, who sleeps soundly in her mother’s arms during the HELLO! interview, but she was just five days old when he had to go on the planned Australia trip. “It was horrible leaving,” he admits. “But once I got away, because I’d only had a few days with Billie-Rae, I felt like, ‘Do I have a kid?’ – it was almost unreal. But I’m more thankful to Sheena obviously, she played an absolute stormer.”
Shane’s mum and Sheena’s sister came to stay at the couple’s Surrey home while the singer was away. “Obviously you want your husband there, you want that time with your new child, but that’s Shane’s job,” Sheena says. “I married Shane with this job, and if he’s got to go away, he’s got to go.”
It’s certainly been a busy year for the Irishman. As well as experiencing first-time fatherhood, he is enjoying a renaissance with Boyzone – since reforming, they have been promoting their greatest hits album Back Again… No Matter What and their single Love You Anyway reached No.5 in the UK charts. “We’re absolutely loving it,” he says.
Here, Shane and Sheena, 29, tell HELLO! all about the arrival of their baby daughter, and reveal how they plan to bring up their little girl when Boyzone head off on their world tour next year.
Congratulations on the birth of Billie- Rae. Sheena, what has Shane been like as a dad? “Amazing, very hands-on. He’ll tell me to go to bed at ten and he’ll be up till two in the morning with her. He’ll give her her last feed before she goes to bed, change her nappy… oh, he’s brilliant. I couldn’t ask for more. He’s really, really good with her. It’s just a shame his schedule is so crazy.”
Shane, you’ve admitted to keeping Billie-Rae awake so you can spend time with her. “Absolutely! I’ve been away for so much that when I’m here with her and she’s sleeping, I’m not happy! Not only that, it’s also been so Sheena can sleep, do her thing, and I can just enjoy the baby.”
Sheena: “I think when he’s here, he tries to make up for being away. These months go by so quickly, and within the space of a month you’ve missed so much, the first giggle, smile, everything.”
Billie-Rae was born two weeks early…
Sheena: “I’d been having stomach cramps for three days, and I went to the hospital just to check that every- thing was okay, but I thought I was coming home that night.”
Shane: “But they went, ‘No, you’re staying in. You’re in labour.’” Sheena: “I was like, ‘What? I’ve got a hair appointment tomorrow!’”
How was the birth?
Sheena: “Unbelievable! All the books tell you it’s gonna hurt, but when you’re actually there… you’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s actually the most painful time but yet the most amazing time as well. But once I started pushing she was out in 20 minutes.”
Shane, were you emotional?
“Oh yeah. You know, it was beautiful, I couldn’t help but cry. Then when I came home I was watching some racing on telly, drinking some beer and eating Hula Hoops, and I kept having flashbacks of my daughter, and holding her. Every couple of minutes I’d have a flashback and I’d just cry.”
Who came up with the name Billie- Rae? Sheena: “Shane did. I had my heart set on Poppy – we were calling her Poppy in my belly.”
Shane: “But then we realised that the name was really common. Billie-Rae is an interesting choice for a girl, and it’s unusual but it’s not weird. I thought it sounded American, and I love the whole honky tonk America thing.”
Most of your Boyzone bandmates are fathers, have they offered any advice? “It was more the early days of Sheena’s pregnancy, all the lads said, ‘She’s hormonal, she’s going to go mad.’ But Sheena was amazing, and I used to tell her that, because I never got it in the ear, I never had the stress, and she never went crazy.
“Other than that, now that the baby’s here, the lads ask me how I’m getting on but there’s no real advice needed. If I ever do need advice, I know they’re very capable fathers, and they’ll always be there.” Shane, do you think you’ll be more protective because you’ve got a girl? “In the boyfriend sense, 100 per cent yes. I think I’m going to be awful. I’ll be all axes and shotguns! I’ve got five sisters, and I’ve seen them growing up, going to nightclubs and stuff – and my father not being happy about it but not stopping them. I don’t know how he did it.”
You’re both Christians, will this play a part in Billie-Rae’s upbringing? Shane: “We both attend church and have a relationship with God. I was born and raised a Catholic and it’s put a lot of things in perspective. We’ll definitely get her baptised and have a blessing on her life. If our Billie-Rae ends up coming to church and enjoy- ing it, then great. If she doesn’t that’s fine. It’s her decision.”
Sheena, you are going to be a stay-at- home mum… “I grew up with my mum at home and it was brilliant. I know there are thousands and millions of women out there who can’t do that and I know we’re in a great position.”
Shane: “I’d prefer her to be at home anyhow. Mainly because we spent a few years together where Sheena worked and I’d come back from being away and all I wanted to do was spend time with her, but she was in work. Once we got married I said, ‘Look, if we’re going to have kids, I want you to stay home and be a mummy.’ We’re blessed that we can do that. When I go away, and I get back at whatever time of night, my wife is there and that’s important to me.”
Sheena, will you join Shane on the Boyzone world tour next year? “Obviously I’ll go and see him when he’s England and he’ll want to see Billie-Rae as well. But I think it’s too much for a little one to start going on the road.”
Shane: “It’s not a family lifestyle. You do a concert, you come off stage 11pm and your adrenaline’s buzzing, your body’s awake. So you have a little drink, settle down, and before you know it it’s three or four in the morning. So you’re up till 4am for two or three months. Obviously the next day you need to stay in bed till noon. Sheena will be up, with the baby, bored in her room. And I like to deal with work by myself, I don’t like distractions.”
Are you enjoying being with Boyzone second-time round?
“When we were out in Australia, we had such a good flipping time. We were like ‘It works, we’re back, let’s go to a studio, let’s make a new album.’ And there’s a lot to be said for just being older. We as adults have realised, ‘Enjoy ourselves, do it for the craic’. I think years ago we did take ourselves too seriously. We wanted to be a credible band, we wanted to cross over to the next market, but we’re a boy band, we’re not trying to be Oasis. We absolutely love what we do
and it’s an honour to be back.”