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keys to my life Linda Martin reveals her years of living with Louis Walsh and how he helped her after break-up

Eurovision winner takes look back at her old haunts

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Brendan Courtney with Linda in new series ‘Keys To My Life’.

Brendan Courtney with Linda in new series ‘Keys To My Life’.

Linda’s in the 1980s.

Linda’s in the 1980s.

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Brendan Courtney with Linda in new series ‘Keys To My Life’.

Eurovision winner Linda Martin has revealed how Louis Walsh rescued her from homelessness after a relationship she was in broke down.

The 69-year-old called her then manager Louis, telling him she was looking for a place to live after she broke up with her boyfriend.

At the time, the Mayo music mogul was living on his own in a two-bedroom apartment in Dartry in south Dublin.

"I was in a relationship, it wasn't working out," Linda recalled of that period in the 1980s.

"I literally rang Louis and said 'look, I need somewhere to stay'. A few days sort of morphed into a few years, I don't think he expected that."

But Linda reveals that neither she nor Louis were party animals and their home was a haven away from the busy life of showbusiness.

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Linda and then manager Louis Walsh.

Linda and then manager Louis Walsh.

Linda and then manager Louis Walsh.

"I don't think there was ever a party here, neither of us were big drinkers or smokers and never did drugs," Linda reveals on RTE's Keys To My Life, a series which brings celebrities back to places where they've lived previously.

Belfast-born Linda also discloses that she "could not cook to save myself" while living with Louis.

"The Duke and Duchess of Dartry, dear," she tells presenter Brendan Courtney of her and Louis's nickname at the time. "We used to have postcards and everything delivered to the 'Duke and Duchess'."

When brought back to the apartment after all these year she says: "I loved this place. Everything has changed, from the floor to the ceiling."

Linda recalls how she'd be out working and Louis would be in the office.

"When Louis moved on, I moved into the big room," Linda recalls.

Louis went on to manage Boyzone and Westlife and became a household name after appearing as a judge on the X Factor.

Linda then moved her granny into the apartment. Her granny was married three times and never divorced any of her husbands.

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Linda and her beloved mum.

Linda and her beloved mum.

Linda and her beloved mum.

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"She could have been serving time in Crumlin Road jail for bigamy - she was a ticket," Linda chortles.

The singer had moved to Dublin in the 1970s to pursue a music career with her band Chips, and set up home in Rathgar with a fellow band member who was also her boyfriend.

"It was bedsit in apartment land," Linda says, as she spots a statue she dubbed 'Ernie the Eagle' which is still there.

Linda and her partner were working and living together 24/7 - "not a good recipe for anybody".

"I don't remember much happiness," she says, adding that her life there was "sh*te".

Linda was born in 1952 in Protestant east Belfast, the daughter of a ship worker, and she grew up in a council estate. Her parents, Kathleen and Bobby, bought their first home on the outskirts of Belfast when they were in their forties.

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Linda as a toddler with her puppy

Linda as a toddler with her puppy

Linda as a toddler with her puppy

Linda becomes emotional standing outside the house, thinking about her mother - who she says was "almost the love of my life" - standing in the window to welcome her home.

Sadly, her mum was in the house for just four years before she got sick and was diagnosed with cancer.

Linda gave up her job to look after her ailing mother and her sister moved home from Manchester so they could nurse their mum together.

"She slipped away very peacefully… my father was dumbstruck - couldn't cope," recalls a tearful Linda.

As a teenager Linda saw an ad in a newspaper looking for a girl singer for a band.

That band was Chips and at the tender age of 16 she started gigging professionally. Linda was with Chips for a decade - but admits she had "ferocious arguments" with her father about joining the group and decided to finish school. Her father never saw her on stage.

Linda went solo while living in Dublin and scored her first major success when she finished runner-up in the Eurovision in 1984.

Her pal Johnny Logan promised Linda he would write her a "winning song" and six weeks after her 40th birthday in 1992 she won the Eurovision with Why Me?

Linda says she always knew Eurovision would be the pinnacle of her career. "That Eurovision win, I worship it really because it's been more than good," she reflects.

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Linda and her gran

Linda and her gran

Linda and her gran

"If I was meant to be a superstar then it would have happened, but I knew it wasn't. I just knew that 'this is what I want' and I had achieved it and I know I'm going to be happy and I was right."

Linda has been living in a converted farmhouse in north county Dublin since 1990 with her partner Ronan and several rescue dogs.

"It's been a labour of love since 1990," she admits. "I came out on the Monday. The owner was here. There were a few drinks taken and I bought it on the Wednesday.

"It's nearly 200 years old actually, this part of the house. Then we added on at the front and then at the back. To me it's a sanctuary, my little piece of heaven."

  • Keys To My Life is on RTE1 tonight at 7.30pm.

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