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Gately, Stephen (1976-2009)  
 
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Gately was finally able to say openly that his love was another man, Eloy de Jong of the Dutch boy band Caught in the Act. The two had become acquainted when their respective groups crossed paths on European tours, and they began dating in November 1998.

The response to Gately's coming out was overwhelmingly positive. "Graham Norton sent a beautiful letter, [Sir] Elton [John] sent flowers, George Michael rang," he told Caroline Sullivan of the Irish Times.

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He was especially touched by the strong support from the general public. "I couldn't believe the reaction," he stated. "I got millions of e-mails and letters from people in all walks of life—young, old, gay, straight, some from gay people who hadn't come out and didn't know what to do."

Gately and de Jong soon moved in together. Gately dreamed hopefully of a future that might include adopting children.

Soon after this major change in Gately's personal life came one in his career: Boyzone broke up in January 2000, mainly because Keating wanted to work as a solo artist.

Gately recorded an album of his own, New Beginning (2000), which topped the charts. Sales of singles from it were disappointing, however, and in 2001 he lost his contract with Polydor.

In 2002 he lost de Jong. Gately blamed the break-up on the amount of time that he had had to spend traveling to perform and do promotional work.

Thereafter, Gately became severely depressed, and conventional medical treatment was ineffective. For two years, he told journalist Linda Duff, "I was on antidepressants and they just made my depression worse." He also tried various forms of herbal and alternative therapies, likewise without success.

Gately credited Sir Elton John for bringing him out of his depression and ending what had become an addiction to prescription drugs. A call from John with an invitation to spend time with him and his partner, David Furnish, in the south of France came, declared Gately, as "a bolt out of the blue."

The visit accomplished what the antidepressant drugs had not. "When I got to sit down with him and talk over things, he was so genuine, so nice, and just wanted to offer words of encouragement. No pressure, he just asked me how I was, and we had a lovely, lovely time. After that my life just changed," he told Duff.

Among the changes for the better was a new love, businessman Andrew Cowles, whom John and Furnish introduced to him.

Gately and Cowles had a commitment ceremony in Las Vegas in 2003 and legalized their union with a civil partnership in London in 2006. Gately told Duff of the couple's desire to add children to their family, saying, "We two are just so mad at the moment, too loony to look after children, but when we get a little older we would love to."

Shortly after his stay in France, Gately took his career in a new direction, starring in a West End production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (book and lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber) in 2003 and playing another leading role in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (book by Jeremy Sams, music and lyrics by Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman) at the London Paladium the following year. He also appeared in various other theater productions, including a Christmas pantomime of Cinderella in 2005.

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