He’s been engaged three times, got married twice, and so far it’s never worked out. Maybe this is because until Brian McFadden left home his Irish mammy did everything for him. He never cleans, he can’t cook (despite fronting a TV food show) and until recently he had no idea how to do the washing.
Now he’s about to divorce wife No 2, and though it seems to be amicable, the first time this far-from-new-man actually missed living with model and reality star Vogue Williams was when he couldn’t work the washing machine.
“I’m not self sufficient,” explains 35-year-old Brian, who first found fame with boyband Westlife when he was 17. “I’m f***ing useless,” he adds.
“When Vogue first left I had to figure out how to use a washing machine. That was funny. It wasn’t that funny actually. I wrecked some of the clothes. I didn’t understand the difference between the materials so I was just throwing lots of stuff in. Stuff came out looking different shapes. But I called Vogue and she talked me through it. I have a cleaner now – Vogue never wanted a cleaner. She had a passion for it, but I certainly don’t.”
When I meet Brian he is sweaty and breathless after training with Mike Tindall and Louis Spence for today’s Rugby Aid 2015 at Harlequins’ Twickenham Stoop stadium.
After a shower he’s back sitting next to me 10 minutes later. “See, ladies can take a leaf out of my book. That’s the quickest turn around in history,” he chuckles. He may not be able to wash his underpants, but at least Bri can wash himself.
“My mum did everything until I was 17,” he says.
“And everybody else did it for me when I was with the band, I lived in hotels until I was 26. Then I always had cleaners. I was always on the road.”
For most of the 21st century he’s been too busy buying rings to learn a few practical skills. Brian was 21 when he wed former Atomic Kitten Kerry Katona in a lavish 2002 wedding. The couple have two daughters, Molly, now 13, and Lilly-Sue, 12, but split after only two years. Next came an engagement ring for Aussie singer and actress Delta Goodrem, but they parted in April 2011.
Brian met and married Vogue in a whirlwind 16 months, but in July this year he announced on Twitter that their marriage was over. “Both of us are fine,” he tells me.
“People don’t understand… it was an amicable split-up and we are still best friends. She stays at my house a couple of times a week. We still have a dog together and she still takes my kids out. We are genuinely best friends – that is a part of the relationship that never changes. People are always asking, What was the reason?’ There is no reason. Me and her just decided that’s where we were in our lives.”
“People ask ‘Did you meet someone else?’ or ‘Did you fall out of love?’ It’s nothing to do with any of that. It’s just something that happened to the two of us. We made the decision together. We both knew for a long time that was coming to an end.”
“It is still really, really sad, but what’s made it easier is that we are still talking.
“I’ve been through a lot of different break-ups in my life and this one is even strange to me because it is honest. It’s the best break up I’ve ever had, the easiest one in history. The worst thing would be losing Vogue as a friend.”
Brian vows he will never marry again. Mind you, he said that after his split with Kerry. And after breaking up with Delta. But he insists: “I’ve a very strong feeling now that I’ll probably never get married again.
“This is the first time in my life I’ve ever been through a relationship, come out of it and gone, ‘You’re not a kid any more – you might have missed the boat,’ ” he says.
“Now that I’m not married I’m getting an opportunity to do different things, maybe travel or go to LA and pursue a career in acting.
“That would be great. Do something weird and climb Mount Everest. If you were married you couldn’t do that.
“It’s not about soul-searching. I don’t believe in that rubbish, it’s about having fun and trying something new.”
One of his mates has already moved in to his London home (maybe he helps with the washing) and Brian is so grateful to his loyal old pals he’s written a song for them. Call On Me Brother is the first single from his new album.
“It’s a song about my male friends,” he says. “Through all the s*** they’ve always been there. My friend from Dublin is living with me now.”
Brian has also been helping his ex Kerry get through her marriage crisis with husband George Kay. “They’ve got their own thing going on and they are back together now,” he says. “The kids are happy and that is all that matters.”
Keeping Molly and Lilly-Sue happy also involves making sure that they avoid guys like, well… him. He says the thought of his daughters going out with a boybander horrifies him. Brian declares: “God help boys when they come knocking at my door. That puts me in a bad mood. “I was a boy and I know what I was like. I would never let them go out with a guy in a pop group.
“That is never happening, no f***ing way. That’s disgusting, the thought of that. I’m keeping them locked away.”
He’s back on ITV on Monday afternoon presenting a second series of Who’s Doing The Dishes? Four contestants have to guess which celebrity’s house they are dining in each day. “You’d think after being on the cooking show and working with all these top chefs like Aldo Zilli and Antony Worrall Thompson I would have learnt something but I haven’t,” he confesses.
“I still can’t cook, I’m the worst cook on the planet. The only thing I have learnt is how to make a prawn cocktail. “It’s prawns, ketchup and mayonnaise. That’s all it is.”
By the end of our chat, Brian seems to lamenting that his soon-to-be ex-wife will no longer be knocking up his meals in the kitchen. “Out of my partners, Vogue is the best cook,” he says. “She’s a great cook. She makes home-made burgers, a great chilli, a really great salad.
“It’s our anniversary today and I’ve already spoken to her this morning. But I’m OK.” Maybe Brian should save this article in case it turns out that there is a next Mrs McFadden. Just so she knows exactly what she’s letting herself in for…