Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Dublin Live
Dublin Live
Siobhan O'Connor

Brian Dowling opens up on self-medicating with alcohol following mother's death

Brian Dowling has opened up on self-medicating with alcohol to ease the pain of his mum dying.

Rosie passed away from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome at the age of 61 in 2018. Brian told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “I don’t self-medicate anymore either, overindulging in food or alcohol.

“I did that at the start. I was having a few extra drinks on a night out or doing loads of shots. My friends said, ‘Brian this is not you’ and they really helped me.

Read more: Brian Dowling reveals his 'incredible' sister is the surrogate for his first baby

“To cope with the grief I was saying, ‘I don’t want to leave the party now because I could die tomorrow’. I probably didn’t realise I was having not just a glass or two of champagne, I’d have the whole bottle gone before I’d go out, I’d have double or triple shots because I didn’t want the party to end.

“I remember being so drunk at my 40th that I didn’t remember much of it all and being quite embarrassed. Mum had been buried that February and this was the end of May.

“You’re numb to it all. I was lucky people checked me on it. Arthur doesn’t drink at all, so we don’t drink in the house.

“I was opening the bottle as I felt a bit abandoned, my mum was gone and my hubby was away. My friends checked in on me, I don’t know what might have happened if I wasn’t checked. I have an understanding of it now. I’m not afraid of my grief, I don’t bottle it all up.”

Brian and his hubby Arthur Gourounlian are thrilled to be expecting their first baby via surrogate in September.

Brian’s sister Aoife is carrying their child. Brian said: “It’s so strange, on this Father’s Day it still hasn’t hit us. I love to celebrate and get a card anyway and for me it’s my birthday in June and Father’s Day, but I can’t wait for Christmas.

“I almost feel like the word journey doesn’t cover it. We have had a successful pregnancy of this and a healthy baby on the way.

“A lot of people aren’t as lucky as when we got pregnant our first time with IVF. A lot of people try and try, we’ve talked about having a family since 2015. In 2021, we got our own house in Straffan, Aoife and I were walking around and she had researched it and she followed loads of people on social media who were doing it.

“We sat down and had a very adult conversation about it, you’re not quite sure of how the dynamics work, this is your family. In a sense this person is having your baby, I’ve six sisters and my family has always been important to me.

“Before we knew it we were on hormones and all sorts, I know more about Aoife’s cycle than she does. There’s no glamour to it.

“Aoife went to a therapist of her own accord, Aoife has had all her medical checks, we have done all this by the book.This is a very exciting time, Aoife is the star of the show, when our baby is born Aoife will have such a unique bond.

“We found great humour in it all, Aoife was chief bridesmaid at our wedding in 2015. She lived with us in London for a year and half, so she is just an extension of us.”

Brian said Arthur has always kept positive throughout the IVF process. He added: “Arthur wakes up so happy and positive, you know the secret and manifesting and all that Arthur was doing that in the 80s.

“I keep saying Arthur manifested me.” Arthur said: “Never.”

Brian added: “When I present The Real Housewives and people say I’m a s**t presenter, Arthur’s spin on that is that’s just their opinion. Arthur said: “I always wanted to have a baby, a family, that’s my purpose in life. I was joking the other day saying to Brian I would rather have a family than be married to him.

“I always kept positive even when Brian was a bit down over our surrogacy journey, I would say, ‘OK, let’s move forward’. I always kept the train rolling.

“It still hasn’t hit me until my baby is in my arms it won’t be real, I always say until I’m on that tour bus I won’t believe it will happen. It will be the first Father’s Day, first Christmas, first Toy Show, so exciting.”

TV presenter Brian, 44, said guest presenting on Ireland Am has been a riot. He added: “They put a clip on Facebook recently of me on Am and there were loads of vile comments, loads saying I don’t sound from Rathangan, but I went to elocution lessons to get rid of that accent. They weren’t saying anything about my s**t presenting.”

The couple could turn their lives into a reality show. Brian said: “I’ve really been enjoying it, there has been interest in us doing something of a reality show with the baby on the way and Aoife so we are looking into that.”

Brian says he’s lucky he rose to fame before social media. He added: “I’m very lucky, I did Big Brother in 2001, I was able to go into nightclubs, kiss guys and be drunk.

“There was no social media, I could go on TV and make my mistakes live on telly, nobody was really holding me accountable to my success or failures or my weight gain.

“I won the two big ones I was on – Hell’s Kitchen I came third, Failte Towers I came third. I didn’t come out until Big Brother. People would say stuff but I was always very loud and quick with my mouth.

“My sister told my parents before I went on the show and then I was gay and out. The first time I hugged my parents was after I won Big Brother and being who I really am.”

Opening up on life in Ireland being gay, Brian said: “I’d love to get the baby christened but will that work with us being gay?

“Every child should be loved and acknowledged regardless of DNA. The speculation, the accusations, it’s all based on homophobia as far as I’m concerned.”

Meanwhile, Brian and Arthur, visited Boomerang Youth Cafe in Drogheda to launch the 2022 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund. The couple joined the former Fund recipients to find out how their grant share will impact young people in the local area, encouraging community leaders to apply for funding at www.


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.