'Horrible' | 

Ronan Keating compares Rebel Wilson’s 'outing' to Stephen Gately’s treatment

Pitch Perfect star Rebel announced on Friday that she was dating fashion designer Ramona Agruma after a newspaper allegedly threatening to “out” her

Ronan Keating

Neasa Cumiskey

Ronan Keating has said that the recent controversy involving Rebel Wilson and an Australian newspaper reminds him of how his late bandmate Stephen Gately was treated by the press.

Pitch Perfect star Rebel announced on Friday that she was dating fashion designer Ramona Agruma with an Instagram post calling her a “Disney Princess.”

In a column published by the Sydney Morning Herald the following day, entertainment reporter Andrew Hornery revealed that he had known about the romance prior to Rebel’s post and on Thursday had given her two days to comment on her sexuality.

The paper faced backlash after Hornery complained that the Australian actress had chosen to “gazump” his story by publicly coming out.

Boyzone: (from left) Mikey Graham, Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Shane Lynch and Ronan Keating

The column has since been removed and in a new article published yesterday, Mr Hornery wrote that they had “mishandled” the situation and apologised for any wrongdoing.

Reacting to the news on Twitter, Boyzone star Ronan Keating shared his support for Rebel and compared the incident to the treatment of his former bandmate and friend Stephen Gately by a tabloid newspaper more than two decades ago.

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He wrote: “Reading the news about @RebelWilson and her horrible dealings with an Australian paper reminds me exactly of the situation with our Steo. How can this be possible today ? Rebel I hope you are ok and have the strength and love to rise above.”

Stephen Gately announced that he was gay in 1999 after allegedly learning that a newspaper was going to publish details about his sexuality.

His former bandmate Shane Lynch later told of how the incident “nearly destroyed” Gately at the time.

“What happened was, we were on tour and he got a phone call to say that the press was going to run with a story on him,” he said during an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother in 2018.

“He was distraught. They said to him, ‘Look, you can tell your story, or we’re going to print our story’.

“It nearly destroyed him. It really nearly destroyed him.”

Rebel Wilson (Doug Peters/PA)

He said that when Stephen did come out, despite the pressure, he felt a huge sense of relief.

“He couldn’t believe it himself, the weight off his shoulders, the lie had left. It was gone,” Shane said.

“The support he got from our fans – they were the best. From that point, he just flourished. He had always been that reserved.

“He grew into this beaming man of joy. The release. He turned into just the most joyful person.”

Stephen died at the age of 33 of a congenital heart defect at his apartment in Andratx, Majorca in October 2009.

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