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Brian Kennedy says estranged parents didn’t recognise him when they saw him for first time in 20 years

Brian said he’d rather be estranged than part of a dysfunctional family

Belfast singer song writer Brian Kennedy

Clodagh Meaney

Brian Kennedy has revealed that his estranged parents didn’t recognise him when they saw him for the firs time in 20 years.

Speaking to RSVP Magazine, the Belfast native said that he last saw his mum and dad about five years ago.

"I’ve been estranged from my parents for many years but I saw them I think five years ago," he said.

"They just didn’t know who I was. They had Alzheimer’s even then. It was really weird,” he said.

"Most people’s parents, regardless of their relationship with them, are very present in their lives in one way or another.”

The singer moved to London when he was just 18 years old.

“It was very strange to sit on a sofa with the two people who had created me and they just didn’t know who I was."

Brian said it was very emotional to see them in a nursing home, and very different people to who he once knew.

"My father was a marathon coach, my mother was a very active woman, busy with six children…And then to see them so much older, not knowing what day it is, where they are…There’s a lot of sadness," he said.

He also revealed that he has never had the chance to meet his nieces and nephews.

"When you miss people’s weddings…I have siblings who have children that I’ve never met.”

“I started getting well known as a singer and I might have been on TV in my relatives’ houses but we’ve never met,” he said.

"All the rules change when that stuff goes on. Things like weddings, funerals and christenings are like glue for families. When you miss out on those things, it’s impossible to go back because the moment has passed.”

Brian said he’d rather be estranged than part of a dysfunctional family.

“It’s strange but sometimes it’s the only way to be. If the choice is between estrangement and dysfunction, I’ll choose estrangement every single time.

"Life’s too short to try to work out somebody else’s problems. I just say, I gave it my best shot and that wasn’t good enough and I’ll move on."

The 55-year-old said he “blossomed into a completely new person” once he cut ties with his family.

“I got out of the dark, overcrowded skies I grew up in and found myself in clear skies in London. I was in situations that weren’t toxic, with people who weren’t toxic.”

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