The love life struggles that fuelled Sinead O’Connor’s music as singer dies

Sinead O’Connor dies aged 56

When Sinead O’Connor stormed into the charts with her hit single Mandinka and her album The Lion and the Cobra in 1987, she was already a mum of one.

The singer, who tragically died today aged 56, had actually recorded the album while in the later stages of her first pregnancy and had a baby, her son Jake (now 36), at the age of 20 with her then-boyfriend, music producer John Reynolds. She and Reynolds would marry two years later but would divorce in 1991 – however, they remained an important part of one another’s lives.

As well as co-parenting their son, John went on to produce five more of Sinead’s albums and was even her drummer during her 2013 tour.

Sadly, this was to be the first of many romantic breakdowns that would blight her life.

Following the end of her marriage, there were more documented short term relationships until 1995, when she dated Irish Times journalist John Waters. She gave birth to their daughter Brigidine Roisin Waters on 10 March 1996.

READ MORE: Sinead O’Connor’s iconic SNL protest got her banned for life and hit with eggs

The pair later split and faced a custody battle for the child, which ended with O’Connor agreeing to let Roisin live in Dublin with Waters in 1999.

At the time, she faxed a statement to the media insisting “I am not a bad mother. That’s not why I am giving up custody. I’ve been a good mother to Roisin and John Waters accepts this.” Her statement went on: “I will see our daughter at weekends and during school holidays.”

Following this traumatic period, she began a relationship with showbiz journalist and social diarist Dermot Hayes. He was well known in the Irish music and showbiz scene, but this relationship would also falter after just two years.

Sinead then got into a relationship with another journalist Nick Sommerland. The pair were married for 11 months between 2001 and 2002.

Her next relationship produced her third child, her son Shane, who was born in 2004, but shocked many as it was revealed that she was having an affair with acclaimed Irish musician Donal Lunny.

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Sinead was an off limits question when Donal was interviewed by the Irish Independent although he eventually acknowledged their relationship.

The pair’s son, Shane, tragically died in January 2022 at the age of just 17 leaving both Sinead and Donal devastated.

Her fourth and final child Yeshua Francis Neil Bonadio, whose father is Frank Bonadio, was born in 2006. This was also a surprise to people as Frank was the husband of internationally acclaimed Irish singer Mary Coughlan.

However, Mary later acknowledged in an interview that her marriage had broken down before her husband was linked to Sinead.

She married for a third time in 2010, to longtime friend and collaborator Steve Cooney, although that marriage wouldn’t last either and they made the decision to separate eight months later.

Her fourth and final marriage was to Irish therapist Barry Herridge whom she met online in 2011.

They wed in a drive through wedding in Vegas on December 9 that year but split after three weeks.

It was to be the final significant relationship for the singer whose death was announced today in a statement from her family.

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