‘They never said they wanted to become anonymous’ - Dermot O’Leary defends Harry and Meghan
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‘They never said they wanted to become anonymous’ - Dermot O’Leary defends Harry and Meghan

X FACTOR host Dermot O’Leary has become the latest big-name star to defend Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ahead of their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey. 

Speaking during an appearance on RTE’s Late Late Show, the television presenter and radio DJ offered up his opinion on the much-anticipated chat. 

"You can argue 'they should have made this decision or they should have made that decision’," he told interviewer Ryan Tubridy. 

"When he said 'I'm making this decision with my wife for the mental health of my family', that kind of put the full stop in the sentence for me, if he needs that to get away from the toxicity of the world they live in.” 

O’Leary also rejected the claim of many that if the couple wishes to be separate from the Royal Family, they can no longer remain in the public eye. 

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"They never said they wanted to become anonymous, they just said they didn't want to live by those rules anymore,” he explained. 

Despite showing support for the couple and the issues they have, O’Leary admitted he would be keeping an eye on developments.  

"I hate myself for it but I'm intrigued as to how that will play out so I will be watching it. Let's not forget that on both sides . . . they are humans, they are going to show frailty." 

The Late Late Show interview also saw O’Leary open up about the loss of his X Factor colleague Caroline Flack, just over a year on from her tragic suicide. 

O’Leary revealed to Tubridy that Flack was someone both he and his wife, Dee Kopang, had known for some time. 

"My wife actually knew Caroline about the same time as I did, but me and Dee weren't together then, she worked with her," he said 

"Caroline and me had the same agent, so I've known Caroline for 20 years, we both have. She sadly passed and then we had her funeral and then we had lockdown . . .” 

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The 47-year-old admitted that he was still reeling from her death and that many of her close friends it may not have fully hit home yet, especially as it happened just prior to the start of the pandemic. 

"She was a friend and you feel that . . . I read something about this the other day . . . Dave Grohl was saying when Kurt Cobain passed that everything was 'the first' after he passed . . . ’the first cup of coffee I made after he passed away'  . . . the first time he picked up a guitar,” he said. 

"I don't think Caroline's group of friends have had that yet because nothing has happened, we have had a year of being locked down. 

"No one has experienced the first time we are at Glastonbury and she is not there. No one has experienced the TV shows she used to be on, no one has experienced the things we used to see her at and I think that's when it will really hit home." 

Despite the sad loss, O’Leary did experience personal joy with the birth of his and Dee’s son Kasper last June afters years of doubt over whether they could conceive.  

"Nothing really prepares you for it," he said.  

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"We tried for a while and there's part of you . . . you know you do come to terms with the fact that you might not be a parent. 

"Then you think, 'Well hang on a second', you look at society and how weighted it is to people and the value on people who do have kids. 

"I think it's really important to remember that some people choose not to or can't and are still really valuable members of society. You get over how special you are quite quickly." 

O’Leary, who was born in Colchester to Irish parents Maria and Seán, did admit he was still adjusting to the lack of sleep. 

"I do remember waking up halfway through the first night he woke up at two or three for his feed and the first thing I did was look at him and the second thing I did was Google 'when do they sleep through’?"