Riverdance legend Michael Flatley says he regrets his wild antics as a youngster


Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley looks back on his career and regrets having been a bad boy, but says his lifestyle probably would have been even wilder had he found fame sooner

The Lord of the Dance returns
The Lord of the Dance returns

He was Irish dancing’s bad boy, whose quick feet and bare chest put a sexy, sassy twist on traditional moves.

Now, as Michael Flatley celebrates a quarter of a century in the spotlight, he reveals his one regret: his days as a womanizer from hell.

However, the 63-year-old warns they probably would have been even wilder if he had found fame sooner.

He says: “We are all human, you know. We have to give people a little space. A little, you know, wiggle room. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all done stupid things from time to time.

“See, I’ve loved what I’ve done my whole life. That’s what I worked for, and you know, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“And you have to keep in mind that I was 35 when I broke through, so I might have been even more thrown off if I’d found fame at a younger age.

“It’s impossible to say but I’m sure the chances would have been a lot better that things would have gotten a little crazy but at this point in my life I’m blessed.”

Michael has amassed a fortune of £300m since he first burst onto the stage as an intermission artist at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1994.

Michael Flatley in 2003 with partner Lisa


(Getty Images)

Flatley and his wife Niamh O’Brien



But his personal life was as colorful as his theatrical costumes.

His first marriage to Beata Dziaba ended after 11 years in 1997 when he admitted to having an affair with dancer Kelley Byrne.

In April 2006, he announced his split from longtime fiancé Lisa Murphy, just six months before he married his current wife, dancer Niamh O’Brien.

He says: “I have a loving wife, a wife that I love. And we are very similar. She is just wonderful. She is a highly intelligent young lady.

“And we have a beautiful son, a 14-year-old son. And I’m very happy that she does his homework with him because it’s a mystery to me.

“I’d have to stop and look up every other word as soon as they start.

“But life is good. I am a very lucky man and a very lucky man. I am here.”

Michael’s life at home is now solid but his body, once insured for £50m, is crumbling. After five decades of vortex-shattering performances, the Lord of the Dance is more battered than his diamond-encrusted tap shoes.

“The doctors warned me, but I didn’t listen. Now my neck and back are bad.

“My sacroiliac joints that connect my pelvis and lower spine are bad. My hip joints are bad. I have a torn muscle in my right calf, two torn Achilles tendons and a broken bone in one foot that never seems to heal.

“I have broken ribs that still give me trouble sleeping at night. Both of my shoulders need replacing.”

Lord of the Dance in 2022


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Michael, who reluctantly hung up his dancing shoes in 2015 but choreographed the 25th anniversary Lord Of The Dance show, which is touring the UK until July.

But the former trencher, who was born in Chicago to Irish parents, has no regrets about hitting his body.

“I wouldn’t trade it. I followed my dream. I wouldn’t have any of that if I hadn’t followed my dream,” he says from his palace in Monaco.

“Pain is a friend, especially in the dance business, and while I wake up every morning struggling to keep my back straight, I can honestly say I made the right decision. Can I run for a bus now? Unlikely. Can I climb a flight of stairs? Yeah, I just need a lot more runway to warm up.

“And will I be doing a 50th anniversary show at 88 in 25 years? Let’s just take it one day at a time.”

With huge properties in Monaco and Cork, Michael is wealthier than many of the A-listers he has hosted. And he’s even impressed some of the most powerful people on the planet.

“I appeared at the 2003 G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, in front of all the world leaders of the time.

“So yes, I was in the same room as Tony Blair and George Bush. And Vladimir Putin. All of them. It was the experience of your life.”

Less than kind words were reportedly exchanged behind the scenes about the show’s title, Warlord. But Michael flatly refuses to engage in this conversation or the Russian dictator’s invasion of Ukraine.

“All I’m going to say about the situation is that we ask God to protect us all.”

*Lord of the Dance is currently touring the UK. visit www.lordofthedance.com or www.michaelflatley.com to buy your tickets.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/riverdance-legend-michael-flatley-says-26514769 Riverdance legend Michael Flatley says he regrets his wild antics as a youngster

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