Mark Feehily has revealed he thinks Westlife's original image was too "clean cut" and gave an "unrealistic" impression to their fanbase.

The boyband came to fame in the late 1990s and last October announced they were reuniting to embark on a comeback tour and to release a new album.

Band member Feehily has now said that he believes public images of bands in the early 2000s were "non-realistic" and that pop stars today can show imperfections that fans can relate to.

Westlife pictured in 1999

Speaking to the Press Association, Feehily said: "In some ways, the original Westlife image was so clean-cut, and maybe a bit unrealistic.

"It's better that everyone is just themselves.

"Back in the early 2000s, pop stars put out this non-realistic, perfect, clean-cut thing, that created an expectation that maybe wasn't possible, or real.

"It's important for kids to have pop stars out there that they can relate to. It's not just this one type of person who ticks these kind of, I suppose, perfect boxes.

"For a kid out there who maybe isn't perfect, they're going: 'well, I'm never going to be like that, I'm never going to be successful, I'm never going to be popular'.

"Things have progressed in big ways since we started off."

Westife circa 2000, clockwise: Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, Brian McFadden, Nicky Bryne and Shane Filan circa 2000. Image via Getty

Feehily added that social media presents a new problem for contemporary pop stars, who have to juggle with their image across various platforms, which present a new image of perfection.

He said: "Instagram is such a perfect world and that is a problem. They're comparing themselves to this fantasy that it's impossible to keep up with."

The group, made up of Kian Egan, Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan, will be reuniting for their first time since their farewell shows in Croke Park in 2012 and their first new album since 2010's Gravity.

They released Hello My Love, their first single in eight years, in January.

Westlife kick off their comeback tour in Belfast on May 22 and conclude in Dublin on July 6.