Credo: Ronan Keating

'When I look in the mirror, I see someone who's caught up with his age'

From the moment I joined Boyzone, I knew I wanted music to be my life The band will have its 20th anniversary next year. That's a long time for a boyband, but when you take something seriously you don't approach it short-term, do you?

Pop music is disposable Teen pop especially so. But don't forget that pop is an abbreviation of popular. You could put U2 and Coldplay into that bracket, if you like. We all make popular music.

We wanted the credibility Blur and Oasis had We came to prominence at the same time as them. It's only now I'm older that I realise we were never going to get it. We shouldn't have even looked for it in the first place.

When Stephen died, everything changed [Boyzone member Stephen Gately died in 2009 of a pulmonary oedema.] I had never lost anybody that young. It brought the rest of the band together, like brothers, and taught us all that life is so fragile. Perhaps it's a cliché, but it became important to live every day to its best.

After I lost my mother to cancer in 1998, I wasn't just sad, I was angry She had been very religious, and I was too, but I had to battle quite intensely through some very difficult questions – among them, Why? I knew the last thing she would want was for me to lose my belief. And so I haven't. I founded the Marie Keating Foundation because I didn't want other people to go through what we did. We need to educate people about cancer more. We can beat this disease; we just need to know how to check ourselves – and regularly.

When my marriage ended, it was especially tough because my children were affected The story went very public. There were a lot of lies written, but I know that the people who love me most knew the truth of it. That's all that matters.

I've been struggling to get into films for 10 years now I really want to be an actor. I was up for Moulin Rouge! and I've read for King Arthur, The Hobbit, and all sorts of big films. I guess I wasn't good enough then, but I'm more confident and comfortable in my own skin now. I know how to go into a room and convince people I can really do it. My first big film, Goddess, is released next February.

When I look in the mirror, I see someone who has finally caught up with his age I was old before my time, and I spent a lot of time trying to be that guy. I am now that guy, and that's a major relief. That's why the ageing process doesn't faze me at all.

I have never said 'Do you know who I am' to anyone One of the secrets of longevity is to be nice to people. Boyzone never acted like pop stars; we were never a demanding act. Instead, we were warm, we shook hands, we involved everyone. And people remember that.

Ronan Keating's new solo album, 'Fires', is released on Polydor on 3 September

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