The sister of Snow Patrol star Gary Lightbody has opened up on her tumultuous childhood relationship with the singer, but said the pair have never been closer than they are today.
Sarah (40), who lives next door to her brother with her daughter Honey, described their early relationship as “troublesome” but said it never stopped her sticking up for Gary.
She said: “We were at loggerheads all the time, I’m not sure what it was. But if somebody said something about Gary I’d be the first to say, ‘How dare you, take that back!'”
The Bangor woman interprets her protective behaviour as proof that the siblings “secretly” loved each other, even though they didn’t show it.
As they got older the relationship became even more strained with Gary’s constant guitar practise taking its toll.
“Then he went off to university at 18 and I was quite happy about it,” Sarah told The Sunday Times Magazine.
“I know that sounds awful but I thought, ‘This is brilliant, I’ve got mum and dad to myself’.
“And then I thought, ‘Actually, I miss him’.”
The separation made her appreciate Gary’s company more when he came home from the University of Dundee and sowed the seeds for the relationship they now enjoy.
But it also made it harder to watch as fame took its toll on the singer who has been candid about his battle with alcohol and depression.
“It’s very difficult to see him when he’s not on top form,” she said.
“But he knows he can talk to his family about anything.
“We’ll support him no matter what.”
She revealed that her brother has never talked “a great deal about what life has been like in the band” and said she was unaware of the full extent of his misery.
“I was aware he was suffering but obviously not to the extent that has come to light,” she said.
Sarah also admitted that she struggles with people knowing her family’s business, but after seeing friends open up about their own struggles as a result, she believes it has been worth it.
Sarah and her dad, who was diagnosed with dementia three years ago, both star in the music video for the track Soon off the band’s latest album.
Gary, who described the shoot which his dad has forgotten as one of the “best days” they have spent together, admitted that he “never thought Sarah and I would be this close” as a kid.
Now, he said, beautiful family moments really mean the world to him.
Sarah said her brother is in a much better place today.
“He’s happy,” she added.
Read the article at belfasttelegraph.co.uk.