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Bono opens up about faith, tax and his father

1 of 1 Gay meets Bono tonight on RTÉ One
Gay meets Bono tonight on RTÉ One

Bono reveals details of his closely-guarded private life including how he prays with his family in bed, what his late father’s dying words were, and his feelings on the vexed question of U2’s tax arrangements on tonight’s interview with Gay Byrne on The Meaning of Life.

In the interview, broadcast tonight on RTÉ One at 9.35pm, the U2 front man talks to Byrne about his faith and what it means to him after having turned down previous personal requests to appear on the popular show.

Roger Childs, the producer of The Meaning of Life, says that among the subjects discussed in the interview are Bono’s praying habits and his family’s fondness for praying together in informal settings including in bed at the family home.

“He talks about who he prays to and how he prays,” Childs told RTÉ Ten. “He answers Gay’s question and says he often prays informally and that it is not always in a church and if it is in a church, it’s often after everybody else has gone and that the family will go in together.

"Bono also reveals how the family prays together in bed, at home – something which, in the context of the interview, makes perfect sense and is very engaging, although you can understand it could cause him or them embarrassment, if it appeared as a line, out of context, elsewhere."

Byrne also raises the vexed question of U2’s tax affairs during the interview. “Bono didn’t flinch once at any of Gay’s questions, including when Gay raised the issue of U2’s tax affairs. I actually got the impression that he was quite pleased to say his piece publicly on that subject.

“There are a lot of people commenting on U2 and Bono’s tax situation except U2 and Bono so it was his opportunity to say here’s what I have to say on the subject. There were one or two situations in the interview where Bono was on private ground where he doesn’t normally stray. There were a couple when he glanced at the camera a couple of times, as if to say, ‘Okay, you got me but I’m going to answer the question anyway.’”

Watch Gay Byrne's interview with Bono on the RTÉ Player.

The U2 front man has been interviewed by Byrne numerous times in the past but had turned down the chance to sit in The Meaning of Life hot seat despite previous personal requests from the veteran broadcaster. Bono agreed to do the interview last May, two days before his 53rd birthday, on condition that it wouldn’t clash with any of U2’s upcoming promotion for their forthcoming album and on the understanding that it would be a purely personal interview.

"Bono had said no in the past, after being asked by Gay personally,” Childs says. “He had requested DVDs of the series, he’d watched them and as far as I can understand from Gay, he liked what he saw, but said that some things had to remain private and sacred in his life, and so I was completely astonished when Gay rang me out of the blue one day last March and said, ‘It’s on.’”

The Meaning of Life, now in its seventh season, has featured many big names including Mary Robinson, Noel Gallagher, Colin Farrell, Maeve Binchy, Tommy Tiernan, Terry Wogan, and Ian Paisley and this October, Byrne will publish a book under The Meaning of Life title based on his reflections on the series, mixed with edited transcripts of some of the interviews.

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