Daniel and Majella O’Donnell will appear on tonight’s episode (Monday) of Pat Kenny in the Round at 9pm – marking the final episode of the season, before the series returns in autumn.
Throughout the episode, Daniel and Majella speak candidly about Daniel’s fame, his strong and loyal fan-base, their brief separation prior to their marriage, Majella’s battle with breast cancer and Ireland’s recent Marriage Equality Referendum.
Also speaking openly about her ongoing struggle with depression, Majella O’Donnell said: “It is a terrible place to be. I say depression is a place to be, because it is. You might physically be sitting in one place, but you really are not there at all. For me, I’m down a very deep dark well and people are all around the top looking down at me and I can’t connect with them and they can’t connect with me – even though it could be a room full of people. So yeah, you just feel like the world would be a better place without you – that you’re a burden, that you’re dragging everybody else down.
“It’s not that the depression is gone, but I understand it more and I can recognise when it’s coming and I know now what can bring it on – if I’m over tired, if I do too much, I can kind of get a bit down, so I recognise it coming. I do go into it thinking, now you’ve been here before Majella, batten down the hatches, get on with it, but you will come out again. Every time you do go in, there’s always a little bit of fear of, what if I don’t, but I keep myself positive saying I will… I will come out of it, and I do.”
Speaking about how he attempts to support Majella through those difficult times, Daniel O’Donnell said: “Well thankfully, I suppose Majella would probably agree with me that her bouts of depression are very few and far between. Now albeit, there are times when she does get down but, what do I do? You know, I think in our case, it’s very important to leave her alone – and I don’t mean go away from her, but you know, I found that even to ask her does she want tea, she can’t even answer that question. She can’t even make up her mind if she wants the tea or whether she doesn’t want it. A simple thing like that is difficult. I mean, I don’t understand depression because I don’t suffer from depression, so I can’t understand it. All I can do is try and figure out what way you should be with somebody, and that’s to be there and not to be bothersome.”
Daniel O’Donnell recently made headlines when he publicly declared that he would be voting yes in the Ireland’s Marriage Equality Referendum. When asked about his decision to support the Yes campaign, Daniel said: “Well I was asked on the radio did anybody approach me and they hadn’t. Then it went on and I just said what I was voting, that I was voting yes on the Referendum and my limited understanding – I’m not going to say that I know everything about everything – but I just thought that, you know, a yes vote, I think, is not going to damage anything and it’s going to make a lot of people feel equal.”
Before tying the knot, Daniel and Majella went through a period of separation, due to a battle of conscience brought on by Daniel’s strong religious faith. Speaking about his reservations at the time, Daniel said: “Yes and at the time I suppose, obviously we had met and we were getting on well and then I did have that thought of the difficulties with getting married and somebody being divorced. And we did separate and that was down to me. Quite quickly I suppose, really, I realised, for my own point-of-view, that I wanted to be with Majella, because I was finding myself at things and thinking, God, Majella would love this, and this happened various times. And then I began to realise that whatever God wants, he doesn’t want people to put happiness away if they can have it, and I just felt whatever was to be for us to be together, was going to be – and that’s when I came back with my tail between my legs.”
Responding to Pat’s question about his fans being unique, Daniel said: “Absolutely. They have, through the years, supported me through thick and thin. Everything that I have done, be it records, television, tours, whatever, they have been there and are just as excited with things that have happened as I have been, and sometimes more.”
Pat Kenny’s interview with Daniel and Majella O’Donnell will broadcast on Monday, 8th June at 9pm, on UTV Ireland. For anyone affected by comments on this week’s Pat Kenny in the Round, support is available through the National Cancer Helpline (1800 200 700) and through the Samaritans (116 123).
UTV Ireland is available on Sky channel 116, Saorview channel 6, UPC channel 110 and eVision channel 108. UTV Ireland also offers a catch-up service on www.utv.ie and on the UTV Player, available to download on smart devices.