Who is Celebrity Big Brother's Louis Walsh?

The X Factor judge and music mogul has led a fascinating life managing pop acts and starring in TV shows.

Louis Walsh is taking part in Celebrity Big Brother 2024. (ITV)
Louis Walsh is taking part in Celebrity Big Brother 2024. (ITV)

Louis Walsh was one of the biggest coups in the cast for Celebrity Big Brother's reboot - but what are his biggest career moments so far and why has he signed up to the reality show?

Walsh is best known to many for his years judging Popstars and The X Factor alongside Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell, but he's also launched the careers of some of pop's biggest stars who didn't appear in the TV contests.

Known for speaking his mind, Walsh has already got on the wrong side of some of his CBB housemates, leaving some wondering whether he could be the series villain.

Music manager

UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 12:  Westlife With Louis Walsh (westlife Manager), Westlife Celebrated Their Guinness Book Of Records Entry For The Most Public Appearnces In 36 Hours By A Pop Group With A Party At Zuma Restaurant In London  (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Louis Walsh managed Westlife. (Getty Images)

Irish music manager Walsh cemented his career in the industry by putting together one of the most successful boy bands, Boyzone.

During the 90s, he advertised auditions for singers interested in making the Irish version of Take That, launching the internationally successful careers of Boyzone - and continuing to manage Ronan Keating when he went solo.

But that wasn't the only superstar group Walsh created, as he also went on to put together Westlife, who had a huge number of hits over their 14-year career, and he still manages Shane Filan as a solo artist.

Walsh also managed Samantha Mumba in the early Noughties and took on the careers of a number of Popstars and X Factor acts after they left the shows, including Jedward, Union J, Shayne Ward, and the early days of Girls Aloud.

TV contest judge

DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 6:  Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell pose for photos after auditioning hundreds of hopeful musicians for their new TV show
Louis Walsh became a star in his own right on The X Factor with Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell. (Getty Images)

He might have had years of experience in the music industry before talent contests took over TV, but most people will know Walsh best for his judging role on Popstars and later The X Factor.

Walsh started out judging the Irish version of Popstars before moving over to star in Popstars: The Rivals, which put together Girls Aloud.

His friendships and rivalries with co-stars Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell became as much a part of the shows as the acts themselves as they cackled over bizarre auditions and bickered about differences in opinion.

Walsh, who was never afraid to offer an honest opinion in his judging, told The Irish Mirror: "You know, we wouldn't be able to tell people what we think of them now. What made that show great was that it was honest, it was real, these people wanted to be famous, and we were the ones who were going to tell them yes or no.

"You wouldn't get away with it now; you wouldn't get away with laughing at people. But that's real life. It was always a brutal show for its honesty, but it's a very tough business that we're in."

High-profile fall out

Judge Louis Walsh arrives at the X Factor auditions, at Lancashire County Cricket Club, Manchester.   (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
The music manager left The X Factor a number of times. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Despite Walsh's name being synonymous with TV singing contests, he has actually been dropped from the role a number of times over the years, including briefly leaving The X Factor mid-series in 2005 when Osbourne threw a glass of water over him during a live show.

In 2007, there was shock amongst X Factor fans when choreographer Brian Friedman was hired to replace him, although Walsh was quickly brought back when things didn't work out with the new judge.

Walsh did not come back in 2015, with rumours that he had been dropped again - although he insisted that it was his choice not to wait for the show to ask him to return.

He then left The X Factor again in 2018 and later told The Sun: "I was sacked and paid off. There's no hard feelings. I had 13 years. I love Simon. Simon's the best person in the world. I love working with him."

LONDON - MARCH 01: Boyzone member Ronan Keating (L) and Louis Walsh pose backstage prior to the band's pre-tour gig, their first show together in 8 years, at G.A.Y. on March 1, 2008 in London, England. The UK tour is set to start on May 5 in Belfast and the band will play the O2, London on May 30. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Ronan Keating and Louis Walsh fell out, but made up again. (Getty Images)

It was a surprise to many that Walsh did not get a judging role in the talent show's last outing, 2019's The X Factor: The Band, given is experience in managing boy bands.

Walsh also had a high-profile fall out with his former star Keating, although they had made up by 2008. He had said of the singer and Boyzone: "He wasn't the most talented one - he's not a great singer and he's got no personality."

Keating hit back in Closer magazine: "That man absolutely tried to ruin me and if he thinks we can ever hug and make up he can forget it. I haven't heard from him in three years and I wouldn't have a problem if I never saw him again. He's not a nice character," although it appears they are on better terms now.

Celebrity Big Brother's villain?

Louis Walsh - Celebrity Big Brother 2024. (ITV)
Could Louis Walsh be Celebrity Big Brother's villain? (ITV)

Walsh has continued his X Factor judging vibe in the Big Brother house as he made personal comments about the cast - including remarking on the size of Colson Smith's ears.

He also tried to drop his long-time friend Osbourne in it with the rest of the cast by telling them she was behind the nominations they had agreed on.

But Walsh has explained he just wants to enjoy his later years in the spotlight after suffering some bereavements in recent years.

The 71-year-old told The Mirror: "I don't want to be in my final chapter, I want to live. I want to enjoy myself. I don't want to die. But then it makes sense that you get to this age and think, why not? Life’s too short."

Admitting he had been thinking about his own mortality, he added: "I want to enjoy myself more. I want to see the world. Everywhere. I don't have a bucket list. I don't like that word. I just want to see the rest of the world. I just want to enjoy life - live, love and laugh."

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