His stint on the show propelled him into the limelight and launched his music career, which has seen him sell more than 3.5 million records in the UK.
But it’s not just signing that the West Bowling star has turned his hand to over the years, as he’s also made a name for himself in the world of musical theatre. He made his first stage appearance in 2009 when he played the title role in the West End production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Adelphi Theatre, before being cast as Marius in Les Miserables.
Gates has also starred in Loserville, Legally Blonde, Boogie Nights the Musical in Concert and Footloose, before returning to music as part of the Big Reunion Boyband Tour in 2014. Last year, he hosted the Big 80s Festival in Bradford in celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee and spoke of his pride at bringing such an event to Yorkshire.
He previously told YorkshireLive: “I’m from Bradford, I grew up here and it’s given me everything. It’s such a great city. Bradford is everything to me. It’s where a lot of my family still live, and I have a house here myself when I’m not working or on the road.
“I always come back up here, it’s where I gravitate to. However, I’ve always wanted bigger live music events around here. So what I wanted to be part of was bringing those world class events, artists and acts so people from Bradford and Yorkshire can come here for their entertainment and don’t feel like they have to go elsewhere to get that.”
But Gates’ singing and acting talents aren’t the only thing he’s famous for. He is also a qualified speech coach and a course instructor with the McGuire Programme where he helps people who have a stammer or stutter, similar to his own.
The 39-year-old has battled stammering his entire life and has admitted it made him feel “ashamed”, but has since learned to view it more positively. Speaking to Great British Life, he said: “It’s very difficult to be the person you want to be when you stammer,’ he says. ‘If you don’t have a voice, you can’t express who you really are. Luckily, I’ve never found it hard to express myself musically. As a kid, I couldn’t speak, but I could sing.”
He added: “It’s just really embarrassing. I was so ashamed of my stammer, but it certainly got me noticed. For the first time ever, I could see my stammer was a positive thing.” Gates has also opened a chain of performing arts academics across Yorkshire for budding young talent, including in his home town of Bradford, and has found love with his West End actress girlfriend Allana Taylor.
He was previously married to Suzanne Gates (nee Mole), who he met when she was a dancer at the Record of the Year awards in 2002. The couple tied the knot in 2009 and later had a daughter together, named Missy, in 2009, but later split in 2012.
Gates went on to date Coronation Street star Faye Brookes and most recently DJ Chloe McLennan, who he dated for three years before their split in November last year. He went ‘Instagram official’ with his new girlfriend Allana back in July, sharing a selfie alongside the caption: “A heart full of love”.
Fans of the star will soon be able to watch him on TV once again later this month as he undergoes gruelling SAS training in the jungle of Thung Ui in North Vietnam as part of Channel 4’s Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins. He described his stint on the show as “an experience like no other”, admitting that it was both “brutal” and “amazing”.
He said: “WOW, this was an experience like no other. I learnt very quickly that there is a difference between being gym fit and battle fit. I was so looking forward to doing this show, to test myself, to see what courage, grit and determination I really had. I would encourage anyone who wants one of the ultimate, physical and mental challenges to give this a go. It was an amazing, brutal, unique experience!”