|Ronan and Yvonne at a NBL game|
Francine Cornell says the 35-year-old singer - who announced in April he and wife Yvonne, who he has kids Jack, 13, Missy, 11, and seven-year-old Ali with, had split following his affair – wanted to tie the knot with the backing dancer and would often tell the 28-year-old blonde he was "in love" with her.
She said: "Once I asked, ‘Do you think I’ll still see your name on my phone in 20 years?' He said, ‘In 20 years, we will be married’. At the time it was nice and I think it’s what he believed.
“I never asked Ronan to leave Yvonne. He was the one who’d bring it up. He’d say, ‘It’s you I love, you’re the one I want to be with. I love Yvonne as she’s the mother of my kids, yet I’m in love with you. But I can’t do this to my children’."
The Boyzone singer met Francine in 2009 when she was hired as one of the group's eight dancers for their six-week UK and Ireland tour, and when the tour ended he got her number from his late bandmate Stephen Gately, who she used to meet for coffee and chat about Ronan.
And Francine admits the singer's death in October 2009, aged 33, brought her and Ronan closer together.
She explained: "Ronan took the news really badly as he was in a bad place to start with emotionally.
“His life was in tatters. He and Yvonne had grown apart, so he needed me then more than ever.”
Francine insists Ronan's 14-year marriage was already on the rocks when they got together, and admits he used to "constantly worry" about destroying his image.
Speaking in an interview with the Sun on Sunday newspaper, she added: "Ronan was constantly worried about what other people thought of him with his squeaky-clean image.
“As a Catholic, leaving his wife would just be the worst thing and everyone would judge him. Obviously we could never walk down a street hand-in-hand. We went for dinner once and I’d fly out to his solo tour whenever I could.
“I have constantly been painted as the scarlet woman who ruined a perfect marriage. It couldn’t be further from the truth. The marriage was already in trouble before either Ronan or his wife knew who I was."