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Wales Online
Wales Online
Neil Shaw

Man says he looks so like Gary Barlow even celebs mistake him for the real deal

A dad always getting told he's a dead ringer for Gary Barlow claims he's even fooled the crooner's celeb pals into thinking he's the real deal. Niall Byrne was first told of his resemblance to the Take That hit-maker by strangers when he was unveiled as a judge on the X Factor in 2011.

Since then, the 53-year-old has had to have a lot of Patience with people constantly stopping him when he's out in bars and restaurants - and even playing football on a Sunday. The flooring business co-director, who has the same piercing blue eyes, silver-blonde hair and beard as the song writer, admits their style is 'pretty similar' and dubs anyone mentioning the similarity as being 'Barlowed'.

The 5ft 9in dad-of-two said he can Never Forget the resemblance - as he's even accidentally pulled the wool over unsuspecting celebs' eyes. Niall said Harry Styles did a double take when he pulled up next to him in a London traffic jam, while designer Julien Macdonald started chatting to him in Selfridges' flagship store.

Although he didn't hoodwink American fashion designer Tom Ford when carrying out work for him, he was affectionately nicknamed 'Boyband' by him. Despite constantly being told he looks like the 51-year-old, Niall, who's married to Niki Byrne, defiantly says that as the older of the two, the singer looks like him and not the other way around - as he was 'here first'.

Niall said: "If we go out for a night invariably someone, especially when they've had a few drinks, will say it. "I was playing football on Sunday and a bloke said to me 'oh it's Gary Barlow' and then another player said it to me.

"I once was filling up at a petrol station in Enfield and a load of schoolgirls said 'you're Gary Barlow'. At a job a couple of weeks ago someone thought perhaps I was his brother until they spoke to me.

"Clearly he wouldn't be going round her house to stick carpets [down]. When I'm told 'you really look like Gary Barlow' I just say 'yeah, I hear that quite a lot'."

Even famous faces are duped by the uncanny resemblance between Niall, who's dad to Millie Byrne, 17, and 22-year-old Connor Byrne, and the six-time Ivor Novello Award-Winner. Niall said: "The first person who said it to me was Tom Ford but he just called me 'Boyband'. I didn't know who he meant at the time.

"Another time I was sat next to Harry Styles in traffic, I was in my van and he was in a Range Rover. He definitely looked at me more than once then he looked at what I was driving, I don't think he could make it out properly.

"In 2016 I took my son Connor to Selfridges in Central London for some clothes as a treat for doing really well in his GCSEs. We walked past Julien Macdonald and he said 'hi, how are you? Haven't seen you for ages'.

"I slowed down walking, and said 'yeah I'm fine thanks' a bit sheepishly. I knew who it was, only afterwards I thought 'he must have thought I was Gary Barlow'."

Niall said after 11 years of comments, he's finally used to the attention, conceding he finds it funny. Niall said: "It started off when he was a judge on X Factor in 2011.

"If someone said it to me when he was the height of Take That I would have been horrified, I would have gone out of the room if they were playing. I'm used to it now, I just laugh it off.

"I'm a couple of years older than him. I don't look like Gary Barlow, he looks like me, I was here first."

Wife Niki, a 51-year-old flooring business co-director, said that people regularly approach her husband commenting on the similarity. Niki said: "We were at a party not so long ago and a few women came up to him and said 'oh my god, your husband looks like Gary Barlow.

"It happens every month, [he'll say] 'I've been Barlowed today'. It doesn't bother me, I find it funny. I just think 'well he is handsome, he does look a bit like Gary Barlow'.

"Gary Barlow's got better with age and I think Niall has as well."

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