Jedward then and now: X Factor fame, parent’s tragic death and fall-out with Louis Walsh

John and Edward Grimes are two of the most recognizable faces of noughties pop culture.

Love them or hate them, these Marmite twins commanded attention as soon as they took to the X Factor stage back in 2009.

Managed by Louis Walsh, the duo would go on to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest twice, but would fail to bag the top prize both times.

They also had a successful pop career and appeared in Celebrity Big Brother in xx.

Their image made sure they stood out from the get go, with their matching ensembles, towering hair and ability to have a good laugh at themselves.

The pair quickly morphed from a novelty act into a force to be reckoned with, as reports the Irish Mirror.

Jedward finished in sixth place in the ITV reality singing contest.

They then enjoyed a lucrative career under the management of their mentor Louis before the management split.

The Boyzone creator represented them for four years before their mother Susanna Condron took over as their manager in 2013.

In 2016, John and Edward hit out at their former manager after he described the act as “the most embarrassing thing to happen to him”.

The music mogul said the most mortifying moment of his career was “working with Jedward and putting them through on The X Factor” and the boys came out swinging in their defence.

“I think we are the most financially beneficial act of his career in the last 10 years,” Edward claims.

John echoed his statement, saying: “I don’t think he took us under his wing. I think we were already flying and he was like, ‘Oh I think I want a part of that.

“I think he got old. It’s like someone saying behind your back and you are like, ‘wait, I didn’t know there was a problem.'”

Their first two albums, Jedward and Victory, went platinum in their home country; they competed in the Eurovision Song Contest twice and made a mint starring in their own series including Jedward: Let Loose, OMG! Jedward’s Dream Factory and Jedward’s Big Adventure.

Estimated to be worth a whopping €7.6 million, their fans include Robbie Williams, Gabriel Byrne and Ed Sheeran – not bad for a pair who were earing the odd bit of cash as computer games testers when they first auditioned.

While many other X-Factor acts disappeared over the years, Jedward, now 29, stayed on the radar with appearances in Celebrity Big Brother in 2011 and 2017.

Their last Big Brother stint ended sadly as when the boys emerged in second place to winner Coleen Nolan only to find their father, John Snr was in intensive care in a critical condition.

Proud dad John wanted his sons to enjoy the experience so decided not to tell them, their mum Suzannah Condron revealed at the time.

“The last week has been very stressful for Jedward’s family,” she told the Daily Star.

“John Snr has been in intensive care. He insisted Edward and John must not be informed about his critical condition.

She added: “He stated he would not jeopardize their chances of reaching the final as there would have been legions of disappointed fans.”

Their dad went on to make a full recovery from the mystery illness, but unknown to fans, two years earlier Suzannah had been diagnosed with leukemia and kidney failure.

After five years of treatment, she passed away in February 2019 as her twins held her hands and played her favorite Fleetwood Mac songs.

In a heartbreaking interview on RTE’s The Late Show, they opened up about their grief.

Edward said: “We were there when she passed and we are thankful that we were there – we were able to hold her hand.

“We had some earphones listening to some music. We listened to some Fleetwood Mac and some of her favorite songs that she liked to play.”

John added: “It’s very disheartening to think that she won’t be at our weddings, she won’t be there at the birth of our kids, but we always keep her spirit alive like having pictures of her around and tell stories.

“You just feel so disconnected to the world because the person who kept you anchored in the world and gave birth to you is gone and now you don’t know where you should be, what you should be doing.”

One source of comfort came from a good friend, American Pie actress Tara Reid, 44, who randomly started a friendship with the boys in the CBB house back in 2011.

She starred in the video for their 2011 song, Wow Oh Wow, and even flew to Ireland to live with the twins and their family for two months.

On a recent We Hear podcast from Page Six, they explained: “Tara came to Ireland for two months and lived in our house with our granny with our family

“We showed her all around Ireland. Our granny thought she was Marilyn Monroe.”

Over the years they’ve traveled everywhere from Ibiza to St Tropez and Orlando, Florida, and when the pandemic struck last year, the trio even decided to lock down together at Tara’s Los Angeles home.

There they were joined by her boyfriend Nathan Montpetit-Howard, and while Tara admitted living with her other half had been tricky, she said having the boys around was a hoot.

“I have a small apartment it’s not easy. You’re always in each other faces,” she said.

Jedward attends the MTV EMA’s 2012 at Festhalle Frankfurt on November 11, 2012 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

“There’s not been enough room for the both of us we’re trying to make the best of it. We’re doing the best we can.

“Now the other guys I have been in quarantine with are my two best friends who I have grown up with Jedward.

“Basically we all met each other on Celebrity Big brother back in 2011 and basically this is like Big Brother’s coronovirus pandemic.

“They have truly made this experience so much better than what it would have been for me.”

In terms of their own love lives, both are currently believed to be single.

Back in 2017 Edward revealed he was dating a Swedish girl called Sabrina. And while they’re happy to share details of their private lives, they have made a pact to keep their relationships off limits.

John previously said: “We have had relationships. I’ve had two long-term relationships that were private. That wasn’t part of my career.”

Edward added: “We have had relationships, but it’s never been our number one priority to showcase them.

“It’s like a career movement that me and John were never like other people who are ‘oh God, let’s do the OK! spread, let’s tell them about the break-up, the marriage, the kids’, that was never us.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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