5ive spill the beans
Heat 2013

The thing about 5ive is that they were a proper boyband. They swore, they drank, they got into scraps with each other. They had celebrity girlfriends [Ritchie Neville went out with Billie Piper for two years] and threw tellies out of windows [once]. Most importantly, they made really good pop songs. They had three UK Number Ones, sold 15million singles worldwide, won a BRIT award in 2000 for Best Pop Act and toured with *NSYNC. From 1997 to 2001, Ritchie Neville, 33, Abs Breen (now Abz Love), 33, Scott Robinson, 33, Sean Conlon, 31, and Jason ĎJí Brown, 36, larged it as the bad lads of pop.

Then, it all went belly up. Sean left and there were stories of serious burnout. Their last single, Letís Dance, went to Number One in September 2001 (the video featured a cut-out of Sean) and the band split, leaving a nation of 5ive fans in mourning.

Now theyíve reformed (yay!) for ITV2ís The Big Reunion, which has summoned six í90s bands back from the pop wilderness (Liberty X, 911, Atomic Kitten, B*Witched and Honeyz, too) to put on what is being billed by the show as ďthe performance of their lives.Ē

The lads seem genuinely thrilled at being back together. But behind the banter flying round the room is a cautionary tale about the dark side of pop. All are frank about how they struggled after the split. Even Scott, arguably the most grounded 5ive member, did nothing but drink and play on his PlayStation for a year. Abz, a rather fragile, philosophical little soul, fared the worst, his woes culminating with a stint in rehab two years ago.

Today, happily, theyíre all in a good place and thereís a decade of gossip to catch up on. But, before we start, thereís one tiny point. Theyíre called 5ive but thereís only um, four of themÖ

Whereís J?
Ritchie: He came to the initial meeting for this show and he was all into it. And then he watched a documentary about fame and sent us an e-mail saying, ďIím out.Ē
Scott: Heís not interested in the limelight or the publicity.

Are you p*ssed off?
Scott: You canít be p*ssed off. Itís his choice. The doorís still open; heíd have to come through itÖ
Sean: Not wide open. Heíd have to go through the same process as us.

But how can you be a foursome when youíre called 5ive?
Ritchie: Weíre 5ive.

But thereís four of youÖ
Sean: The thing is, with Westlife or Boyzone or Take That, they all had a member short and they didnít change their name.
Ritchie: People go on about the name, but at the end of the day thatís what we were known as and thatís what weíll always be. Take That didnít come back as ďTake ThaĒ did they? Without the T?

Is it weird being together again? Are there the same tensions? Sean: We argue about the same stuff.
Ritchie: The important stuff like, ďThat doesnít look right.Ē ďYes it doesÖĒ
Sean: Everyone knew we had our problems, because sometimes we fell out on live telly. There was a bit of darkness with us which upset people.
Scott: We still have the banter, but with no bullsh*t.

Have you had a big night out on the lash?
Ritchie: We went out before Christmas.
Sean: We were back home by 1am.
Scott: I do the school run in the mornings [Scott married girlfriend Kerry in 2001 and they have two sons, Brennan, 11, and Kavan, six].

Donít say that, youíre meant to be a pop starÖ
Scott: I do!
Ritchie, you own a bar in Sydney now, donít you?
Ritchie: Yeah. People think having a bar is fun, but I tell you what, when itís 1am and youíre taking the bins outÖ

Do you ever think, ďI was Ritchie from 5ive and now Iím taking the bins out?Ē
Ritchie: No. Iíve done painting and decorating since, and I worked in a gastro pub, because I wanted to learn how to cook. I couldnít let pride get in the way.

Abz, youíre covered in tattoos now. Whatís that one on your hand?
Abz: Itís a flower of life. I had it done yesterday.
Sean: Heís about peace and love, is Abz. He lives on a farm. Heís got chickens and horses. He eats trees.
Abz: [Cracks up.] You make me sound like some kind of loon! I donít eat trees, but Iím back to nature. I gave up all the bright lights and the clubbing for a bit of gardening, man. Iíve got carrots. Iíve got a nice little herb garden. I donít need the Range Rover or all that sh*t no more. All the Louis Vuitton sh*t. Iíve got one bag left from the heyday and thatís it.

Itís all gone?
Abz: All gone. After the band, I went on a rock íní roll one for about five years. Lost, like a quarter of a million pounds, which was everything, my whole life.

On what?
Abz: Iím not going to get into itÖ

Naughty things?
Abz: Nah, nah. A few wrong investments.

Thatís what they call it these days?
Abz: I started running round with a millionairess. I was kind of her pet. [Everyone cracks up.] I got, like, ďDeliciousĒ tattooed on my neck.

For the millionairess?
Abz: Not for her, it was where I was at the time. Changed my name to Love. I went on a bit of a mad one and nearly killed myself. Seriously. Then I met my [current] girlfriend [Vicky], who saved my life, and now I live on the farm. My missus was like this white beam of light.

Sheís a good influence?
Abz: [Nods.] She was this angelic voice calling me over.

You were really thinking about killing yourself?
Abz: No Ė like, my lifestyle.

Are you off the drink and drugs now?
Abz: Yeah, Iím a good boy now. Iím all about the nature. I love it.

Letís talk about the good old days. Ritchie, you described yourselves as ďdelinquentsĒÖ
Ritchie: Yes. [All laugh.]

What was the most rock íní roll thing youíve done?
Scott: I spent £45K on a car on my Visa card.

Collectively, how many women did you sleep with?
Abz: [To Ritchie] Probably 90 per cent is you, innit?
Ritchie: New girlfriends always ask me this. My honest answer is I donít know. However, I did most of it between the ages of 15 and 19. Since 19, Iíve been a serial monogamist.

Weíve heard youíve got a big willy...
Ritchie: Whereíd you hear that?

We canít reveal our sources...
Sean: It is pretty big, actually, Rich, to be honest. I remember seeing it years ago when we were having a shower.

How about the rest of you boys?
Scott: I was with my girlfriend [now wife] the whole way through. I was never tempted.
Abz: At the start, I was teetotal and with my girlfriend. It was after the band I got a bit wild.
Sean: Iím a council estate kid. I did all my drugs and drinking when I was 13.

Were you all depressed when the band split?
[All nod.]
Sean: Ooh yeah. Big time.

Ritchie, you also said you drank a lot. Was it as bad as Abz?
Ritchie: I was definitely really depressed and lost. Iím not going to lie; I was also smoking a little bit too much. I didnít know what I wanted to do.
Scott: I think weíve all been through that.

Did you all leave 5ive with enough money not to work?
Ritchie: We werenít multi-millionaires.

Sean: For our ages, we had a lot of money.

Have any of you worried about paying the bills?
Abz: F*ck, yeah. I had nothing. Iíve had to go to my mum and ask to borrow rent.

Ritchie, are you lying when you canít say how many fans youíve slept with?
Ritchie: Not fans. Women. I honestly canít rememberÖ

Thousands?
Ritchie: Not thousands.

Five hundred?
Ritchie: I would say in the region of 50 to 150.

Others: No way!
Abz: Iíd say 500 to 1,000, and 80 per cent was between the age of 15 to 17.
Sean: Iím saying 504.
Ritchie: I donít think itís that high.

Are there any old conquests on The Big Reunion?
Ritchie: Er, no.
Scott: Ritchie was quite lucky with the band selection.

Who have you pulled? It wasnít anyone from Steps, was it? Maybe Lisa [Scott-Lee]?
Ritchie: Iím not going there.

Faye [Tozer]? H?
Sean: Just say it.
Ritchie: Er, Lisa.

Full-on fling?
Abz: A full-on f*ckfest!

Did she see your huge member?
Ritchie: Iím not going there.

Whatís going on in your love life now?
Ritchie: Iíve been going out with a beautiful Australian girl for a year.

How about you, Sean?
Sean: Iím married.

Are you all scared about getting up on stage?
Ritchie: I was big time, but less so as time goes on.
Sean: Weíre not over- confident and weíre not under-confident.
Scott: I think weíre going to smash it.

What advice would you give One Direction
Abz: I couldnít tell them sh*t. Theyíre killing it.

Are you doing this show for the music, or do you need the money?
Ritchie: Like anything, you do it for a number of reasons.

Do you need the money?
Ritchie: The moneyís good, but itís not like I need it. More than anything, itís unfinished business.
Sean: You want to be back on the big stage.
Ritchie: I broke down in tears when a Coldplay song came on in Pizza Express. I broke down in tears because I wasnít doing music any more.
[Long silence.]
Sean: What pizza?
Ritchie: [Sounds slightly irritated.] I donít know.
Abz: Did you cry into it?
Ritchie: No, because it hadnít come yet.