Abz Love

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Abz Love
Abs 5ive (2).jpg
Background information
Birth nameRichard Abidin Breen
Born (1979-06-29) 29 June 1979 (age 39)
London, England
GenresPop, hip hop, dance
Occupation(s)Rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, TV personality
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, turntables, sampler
Years active1997–present
Associated acts5ive
Evie Bicker

Richard Abidin Breen (born 29 June 1979), better known as Abz Love, is an English rapper, singer, songwriter, DJ, producer and TV personality. Love has sold over 20 million records as a member and the lead singer of Simon Cowell's boy band Five.[1] In 2003, Love released his debut solo album Abstract Theory, which earned him a further three top ten hits.[2] After years out of the spotlight, Love returned to screens on ITV2's The Big Reunion in 2012. In 2013 he appeared on All Star Mr & Mrs and became the runner-up for Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother 12. In 2015, Love starred in BBC Two's documentary series Country Strife: Abz on the Farm, followed by a Christmas special titled Country Strife: Abz on the Christmas Farm. In January 2016, Abz released his first solo single in over a decade, a comedy track called "Cockadoodledoo" with the hope of raising money for his farming project.

Early life[edit]

On 29 June 1979, Love was born in London to Turkish father Turan Sanveren and Irish mother Kathleen Breen. Love was raised on a council estate in Hackney, East London until he left home at 16 to join boyband Five.[3][4] He won a scholarship to attend the Italia Conti Stage School[5] where he studied acting, singing and dance. One day his teacher suggested he audition for a boy band that was being put together by Simon Cowell.

After performing in front of Cowell and a panel of managers, Love was chosen from over 3,000 auditionees to be in the band Five (also known as 5ive), which went on to have massive international success winning a Brit Award for Best Pop Act 2000, an MTV award and ASCAP awards for songwriting. Love and fellow 5ive members Jason "J" Brown and Sean Conlon were heavily involved in writing many of the band's greatest hits such as "Everybody Get Up", "Keep On Movin'" and "If Ya Gettin' Down".


1997–2001: Career with Five[edit]

Five (stylized as 5ive) were a successful British boy band in the '90s consisting of members Richard Abidin Love (Abz), Jason Brown ('J), Sean Conlon, Ritchie Neville, and Scott Robinson. Formed in 1997 by father/son management team Bob Herbert and Chris Herbert for Safe management ltd. (The same team that originally formed the Spice Girls ) The band went on to be signed by music industry boss & A&R Simon Cowell (at the time Cowell was a music executive at Sony BMG).

Based on current BPI certifications 5ive have sold an over 1.6 million albums and 2 million singles in the UK alone. The band split up on 27 September 2001 when new father Robinson convinced the other members to take a break. Love has since stated on ITV's The Big Reunion that he "did not want the band to split and wanted to continue", saying "It felt like they were taking something away from me".[6]

2001–2003: Solo career and debut album[edit]

After Five split, Love was signed to Sony BMG by Simon Cowell as a solo artist and became the only band member to release a solo album. Abstract Theory had three Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart with "What You Got" (UK no. 4), "Stop Sign" (UK no. 10) and "Miss Perfect" (UK no. 5). Plans for "7 Ways" as the fourth single were aborted despite a music video shot for it. The solo album stalled at number 29 in the UK Albums Chart, leading him to be dropped by Sony in December 2003.

2012–13: The Big Reunion[edit]

On 18 October 2012, it was revealed via Twitter that Five would be taking part in an ITV2 documentary series called The Big Reunion, which also featured Atomic Kitten, Blue, 911, Honeyz, B*witched and Liberty X and followed their journey as they prepared for a comeback show at Hammersmith Apollo. The Big Reunion aired in January 2013 and was an unexpected hit for ITV2, with each episode averaging 1 million viewers.

The show revealed what had happened to the bands after finding fame, with 5ive's stories, both as a band and as individuals, heavily featured on the show. Viewers quickly fell in love with Love's quirky sense of humour and ruthlessly hilarious honesty. In episode 4 he gave the audience a tour of his vegetable garden and showed off his 'curly carrots' which subsequently trended at No. 8 on Twitter. Love's eccentric choices of headwear garnered him attention from fans, with his favourite 'rainbow unicorn hat' selling out within days on eBay.

2013: Celebrity Big Brother 12[edit]

Love entered the Celebrity Big Brother house on 22 August 2013. When asked by CBB presenter Emma Willis why he was doing the show he responded, "I need a home cos I'm currently living with my aunty Wendy". While Love has never confirmed how much he was paid to do the show, it has been speculated that he was offered a £100,000 fee.

Whilst in the house, he struggled to socialize and integrate with his fellow housemates. Love made headlines around the world when he confessed in the diary room that he suffers from Asperger's syndrome,[7] a neurological condition that can cause the sufferer social anxiety and affect speech and communication.

Despite his shaky start, Love hit it off with former Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond, The Only Way Is Essex reality star Mario Falcone and, although they were from completely different worlds, he grew fond of housemate reality star Charlotte Crosby. During their time in the house, American reality star Courtney Stodden developed a crush on the ex-Five star telling housemate Lauren Harries "Abz is lovely, he's so nice to be around. He's so funny. I'm like obsessed with him now."[8] When asked by Vanessa Feltz why he didn't show an interest in Courtney's "obvious" assets, Love insisted "I honour my girlfriend."[8]

Despite his quietness viewers fell in love with him anyway, marvelling at his quirky and creative ways to pass the time and retain his sanity such as pillow stacking, spider watching, bug saving, swan apple carving and face painting. As the house numbers got smaller Love grew in confidence and was eventually announced as the favourite to win the show.[9]

On 13 September, Love was announced as the CBB12 runner-up, behind Charlotte Crosby.[10]

2014: Leaving 5ive via Twitter[edit]

In August 2014 Love announced via Twitter that he had left Five, stating: "As of today I am no longer a member of 5ive, thank you to all the fans who supported. I love you all".

Natasha Hamilton of Atomic Kitten quickly took to Twitter to criticize Love, stating: "@abzlove has left @official5ive via the world of twitter...I'd be gutted if one of the girls did that. Publicity stunt if you ask me!"[11]

In an interview with reveal mag in October 2014 shortly after his departure, Neville made his feelings about Love's exit clear stating "I'm more than happy to be a three-piece. It's never felt better to be in 5ive. To be honest, five people just get in your way, do you know what I mean? You've got a bit more space to move around now."[12]

In a frank and brutal interview with Auspop magazine, Love stated that member J Brown ('J') changed his mind at the last minute and without the full original lineup Love felt the reunion was tainted.[13] Love claims he attempted to convince his bandmates and their manager to contact Brown and make amends but they refused.

He states in the interview: "If we were making a cake, J would be the eggs," he muses. "He's an essential part of the ingredients and so with him missing, the cake never rose. It just kind of stayed flat and not properly cooked. There were a few raisins in it and I don’t like raisins so I had to take them out. You get what I'm trying to say with that analogy? There was no cherry icing on the top. It was just a shitty cake and that’s all it’s been since."[13]

Love has admitted that while money was an issue for him it wasn't his only reason for reuniting "I've been accused of only reuniting with Five for the money but that's rubbish, I could've kept on touring with them cos it was good regular money, but I chose to walk away cos I wasn't happy and I had to follow my heart. It's a shame for the fans, but I tried my best." Since Love's exit, his former bandmates continue to tour nightclubs performing as a three-piece still called 5ive

Country Strife: Abz on the Farm (2014)[edit]

After a brief attempt at rural living in Lincolnshire from 2011 to 2013, Love decided to buy a smallholding in rural Wales with his partner. After seeing his hilarious antics during their first attempt his partner and manager Vicky Fallon felt that his transition to fully fledged farmer would make for entertaining viewing so she contacted executive producer and owner of Norfolk-based production company Tin Can Island, Andrea Cornes. Cornes got the project straight away and presented the project to Tom Mcdonald at BBC2 who commissioned the project.

The BBC cameras followed the couple's journey throughout 2014 as they purchased a dilapidated smallholding and navigated the highs and lows of adjusting to rural life on a budget and the docu-series Country Strife: Abz on the Farm aired on BBC Two in August 2015.[14][15] BBC Two were taking a huge risk in introducing Love to their audience and were criticised for it by some, but Love's trademark analogies and clueless antics hilarious on the show soon became a cult hit with viewers and critics alike.[16][17][18]

Brit Award[edit]

On 8 September 2015, Love put his Brit Award for best pop act 2000 on eBay. The morning the auction went live he announced his plans on The Wright Stuff explaining that he hoped to raise some funds for 'topsoil and some gardening tools' for the farm. The bidding started at 99p and Abz constructed a tongue in cheek item description to go with the award. News of the auction quickly spread around the world reaching as far as Asia and Australia.

The high level of media interest in the auction resulted in bids rapidly rising, eventually reaching over £1 million. Love was reportedly made several offers to end the auction early (including a Ferrari sports car), but turned them down believing that the 1 million bid was real. The day before the auction ended eBay's fraud squad cancelled the account denying him the chance to see if the top bid was genuine.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Love dated singer/songwriter Vicky Fallon starting in 2009 and the couple subsequently got engaged. They split in 2017. In October 2014 Love bought a dilapidated smallholding in Carmarthenshire, Wales.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
Abstract Theory 29

Extended plays[edit]

List of albums
Title EP details
Loved Up
  • Released: 30 August 2011
  • Label: Independent
  • Format: CD, digital download


List of singles, with selected chart positions
Single Year Peak chart positions Album
"What You Got" 2002 4 33 35 9 37 7 40 Abstract Theory
"Shame" 64 35
"Stop Sign" 2003 10 56 21
"Miss Perfect"
(featuring Nodesha)
5 13
"7 Ways"
(featuring Evie Bicker)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MTV. "Abs Breen". Archived from the original on 21 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  2. ^ O'Callaghan, Bren (8 September 2003). "Abs Abstract Theory Review". BBC. Retrieved 19 September 2011
  3. ^ Hurriyet. "Five grubunun Türk yıldızı". Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  4. ^ Netter, Matt (1999). Five: A Biography. Pocket Books. p. 65. ISBN 0671036394.
  5. ^ Italia Conti. "Celebrating 100 Years: 1911-2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  6. ^ "The Big Reunion - series 1 episode 1". YouTube. 3 February 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  7. ^ Chester, Jason (26 August 2013). "'I've got this condition...it's called Asperger's': Abz makes a shock Diary Room confession in Celebrity Big Brother". Mail Online. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b "'I'm obsessed with Abz' Courtney suddenly turns her attentions on shy housemate Abz but he tells Vanessa Feltz during task 'I honour my girlfriend'". Daily Mail. 8 September 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Abz to win? Former boyband star is favourite to win tonight's Celebrity Big Brother final". Daily Mail. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  10. ^ Rob Leigh. "Celebrity Big Brother 2013 winner is Charlotte Crosby: Geordie Shore star wins CBB — Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  11. ^ Rigler, Natasha (29 August 2014). "Natasha Hamilton accuses Abz Love of "poor form" after qutting 5ive". Reveal.co.uk. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  12. ^ Heath, Olivia (15 October 2014). "Big Reunion group 5ive talk Abz Love's shock exit: "We're not quitters"". Reveal.co.uk. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  13. ^ a b Brad S. (1 September 2014). "INTERVIEW : Abz (5ive)". Auspop.com.au. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  14. ^ Kathryn Williams (20 May 2015). "Former Five star Abz swaps the stage for a farm in Wales in new BBC Two show". walesonline.
  15. ^ "5ive's Abz Love and girlfriend Vicky Fallon to star in own TV show". Reveal. Nat Mags.
  16. ^ Wollaston, Sam (17 August 2015). "Country Strife: Abz on the Farm review – braving cabbages in a hilarious escapade". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  17. ^ Jones, Ellen E. (16 August 2015). "Abz on the Farm: Five's former rapper is a star reborn". The Independent. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  18. ^ O'Donovasn, Gerard (16 August 2015). "Country Strife: Abz on the Farm, BBC Two, review: 'hilarious'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  19. ^ Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae (9 September 2015). "Abz from 5ive can't believe his Brit Award has raised more than £1m on eBay: 'All I needed was a bit of soil and it's gone nuts'". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  20. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company — Abz Love". The Official Charts Company. 3 May 2013. Archived from the original on 9 August 2011.
  21. ^ "Chartifacts — Wednesday 14th November 2012". ARIA Charts. 11 October 2012. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  22. ^ "Ultratop Discografie". Ultratop.be/nl/. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  23. ^ "Discography on Ireland". Irishcharts.ie. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  24. ^ "Dutch chart history". charts.org. Dutch Singles Chart / Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  25. ^ "Chart history: New Zealand". charts.org. New Zealand Singles Chart / Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  26. ^ "Swedish Singles Charts". Sverigetopplistan Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 September 2010.

External links[edit]