After months of speculation, Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley has once again become one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, following the announcement that he has split from his fiancée, Lisa Murphy.
Flatley, who is reputedly worth over €400 million, dropped the bombshell yesterday as he toured his mansion in north Cork with actor George Hamilton, who is making a documentary about Flatley’s lifestyle for ABC television.
Flatley got out of a helicopter to be greeted by reporters asking him where Lisa was. He initially said he’d been very busy and had no time to see his girlfriend.
Many took that to mean that work was taking priority. However, an hour later, after realising the comment could be construed as ambiguous, he called a second press conference to announce his engagement to the 31-year-old Dublin woman was off.
“Lisa and I have been separated for a number of months now. I’ve been away working and I’ll be away for the next year working in America. That is not fair for either of us,” he said.
An emotional Flatley then added: “I will always love her. She will always be a part of me.”
The superstar became engaged to the former hairdresser from Ballinteer in July 2002. He proposed to her on bended knee at the sumptuous Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo and presented her with a specially designed marquise cut diamond solitaire.
Ms Murphy stuck by the 46-year-old when he was accused of rape by a 31-year-old American woman last year. The allegations by Tyna Marie Robertson proved to be false.
Last December, the glamorous blonde was by Flatley’s side when he received a civic reception from the town council in Fermoy, where Castlehyde House is located.
Mr Flatley gave no reason for the break-up and asked the media not to probe any further into it.
Eight years ago Flatley dated Irish dancer Kelley Byrne. The relationship lasted two years. He was previously married to Polish hotel receptionist Beata Dziaba.
Yesterday he viewed the magnificent restoration work which is being carried out on his mansion.
He has reportedly spent over €30m restoring the house on the River Blackwater, once home to Ireland’s first president, Douglas Hyde.
Flatley is also due to meet with Cork County Manager Maurice Moloney and senior council officials to discuss planning problems. The county council recently refused to grant him retention for two ornamental pools at the front of the house and a gymnasium at the rear.
“I’m committed to staying in Fermoy. I love it here and I’d like to make it my home,” the star said.
He said he was hoping any problem with the council would be ironed out. “I think we can get past these things. I’m a very reasonable man,” he said.
The US-born dancer said he hoped to be able to move into the house before Christmas, and was hoping Taoiseach Bertie Ahern would perform the official opening.