Mrs Brown's Boys: Brendan O'Carroll discusses Christmas tree
Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan, 65, will entertain millions of viewers over the festive season as the show’s leading character, Agnes. The father-of-four is known for his impeccable comedy and quick wit, but at the age of 25, the BBC sitcom star suffered an enormous amount of heartbreak. This was because the actor and his first wife Doreen Dowdall, 65, had to say goodbye to their firstborn son, Brendan Junior, who died just days after he was born.
The child was born in 1979 and passed away following complications from spina bifida, a condition which means a baby’s spine and spinal cord does not develop properly in the womb.
This was the first of four children Brendan would go on to have with his first wife but the sitcom creator has said he will be reunited with his firstborn one day.
With his mother passing away in 1984 and losing his sister Fiona earlier this year, the Agnes Brown star also believes he will see them again one day, too.
Speaking about the death of his loved ones, the comedian said: “I wouldn’t regard myself as a Bible-thumping Catholic but I do believe in life after death.
“I firmly believe I’m going to see Fiona again, and my mother and my son. If I didn’t believe that I would shoot myself. What’s the point?” he told The Irish Sun.
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Even though Brendan presents himself as a comic character on both stage and screen, he has been very candid about the traumas of his past.
The death of Brendan Junior 41 years ago has had a huge impact on the comedian as he has explained none of his other three children could have filled the gap left by the passing of his firstborn.
“I’m very lucky to have three fantastic kids, but they don’t fill that gap. Not that you’d want them to, but they don’t,” he added.
Last year, the Irishman recalled the day he learnt his and Doreen’s son was going to die in a heartbreaking interview.
I do believe in life after death
“It stays with you, you know. He had spina bifida and hydrocephalus,” the actor explained, adding: “At first I didn’t want to see him because maybe I thought if I didn’t see him, he didn’t exist.
“But before I know it I’m standing with the doctor and behind him, I can see baby O’Carroll. And I looked in and he was the most beautiful child you’ve ever seen.
“And I said, ‘When can I take him home?’ And the doctor said, ‘Mr O’Carroll, you’ll never take him home’,” he told The Sun.
However, it is clear Brendan has a strong bond with his family as several of them appear alongside him in the BBC sitcom.
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The comedian’s second wife and former Strictly Come Dancing star Jennifer Gibney, 56, stands in to play Agnes’ one and only daughter, Kathy Brown.
Brendan’s older sister Eilish O’Carroll, 68, also makes appearances as the leading character’s lifelong friend, Winnie McGoogan.
Fiona O’Carroll, 40, features as the Irish matriarch’s daughter-in-law Maria Brown, who gave birth to triplets a few years ago on the show.
Danny O’Carroll, 38, is best known for playing mischievous but loveable rogue Buster Brady but he is also the creator’s second-born son.
Speaking of working with their loved ones, Brendan and Jennifer have previously said they do “fall out” behind-the-scenes.
The latter explained: “It’s funny because even when we’re doing the live show, there’s something magical about doing the show.
“It doesn’t matter, you can be shouting at each other right when you walk through the door, and then as soon as you get on the stage, it’s never ever brought on stage.
“And by the time you’re finished you’ve forgotten what you were arguing about,” she told the Loose Women panel.
Mrs Brown’s Boys airs Christmas Day at 10pm on BBC One.
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