Upon their return to New York from that meeting with Gordon Fisher, Michael, without warning, walked out of the hotel one day, leaving his clothing and his American Express card. Forty-eight hours later he called Jonnie to say he was in Hong Kong and he was not coming back. He had left the credit card to ease his conscience. Once again, avoiding confrontation at all costs, Michael had taken flight. Already out of her mind with worry and now devastated, Jonnie called a friend to help her check out of the hotel. She stayed with a girlfriend for a short time trying to deal with a broken heart and hoping Michael would call. He didn't, so she used the Amex to buy a ticket to Los Angeles where she hoped to rebuild her life. Jonnie went through a lot of pain and anguish, but nobody ever stayed angry with Michael for long and within weeks they had sorted things out and remained friends until his death.
I never knew
Michael to be without a special woman in his life. In the past when relationships, were looking a bit out of kilter, I too, begged him to take some time on his own but he could never do this. Like many other performers, he needed people around him all of the time. Michael especially craved the company of women. He was a true romantic and loved to play the role of man-in-love. It wasn't long before we knew of his new romantic solace.
INXS was due to be back in the Rhinoceros Studios to work on the "X" album in late 1989. I was hearing rumours that Michael was seeing Kylie Minogue, but I dismissed them immediately. Kylie was a huge TV star in both Australia and the UK after the long success of the soap Neighbours , and was on the brink of a considerable recording career of her own. Nonetheless, her image was that of a pretty pixie who might not have the qualities of wordly and womanly sophistication that Michael had come to be attracted by. I thought wrong for quite soon Michael called from Hong Kong and confirmed the story. But what had happened to Jonnie? He told me that he wanted her to "fly, do her own thing" . He felt that she was always there for him but that she needed something of her own. He said that they were still friends, that he loved her, though he felt she needed some solitude. I thought, look who's talking! And I still couldn't quite believe it about Kylie: she was so uncool … My fickle daughter, who only a year ago had been thrilled with Miss Minogue's autograph, agreed when I told her the news. But Michael was smitten again.
“She's great, fantastic. She's so underrated. You'll love her.”
I thought, well, let's give her a chance, after all, this is Michael's choice and we need to get to know her. Arriving home three days later, on the afternoon of my birthday, there was a huge box of long stemmed red roses at my door. The note inside was from Michael. It read. “ Happy, happy Birthday. May this be your brightest year. Love, Michael XXX” . When I checked my messages, Michael was on there, asking me to meet him for dinner and a movie. When he called back to make dinner plans he did not mention that Kylie would be with him but I had a feeling she would be. He liked approval. When I walked in I went over to the maitre'd to ask about the table and before I could open my mouth, someone grabbed me around my waist from behind, I was spun around and scooped up and spun around again. “Hey Baby, lookin' good!” We kissed and hugged and over his shoulder I could see this little girl standing behind him, smiling. He put me down and introduced me to Kylie. I did not mention that we had already briefly met. Kylie hugged me warmly and wished me happy birthday. This was unexpected and a nice start to the evening. I firmly decided to throw out all of my prejudices and opened my heart to her.
We went to the table, ordered and talked nonstop. I was careful not to bring up subjects that could make Kylie feel uncomfortable, but there were plenty of family things that had to be discussed. Michael spoke of Erin , he told Kylie proudly about her advanced taste in literature. Shortly after this dinner, Kylie appeared at the Sydney Hard Rock Cafe and was presented with one of their embroidered denim jackets. She gave it to Erin who, at age eleven, was not much smaller than Kylie at the time. Kylie has fantastically photogenic features, a 'child woman' face, certainly one of the most recognizable women in the world. When she excused herself to go to the bathroom during my birthday dinner a nearby table of Japanese businessmen stared after her and spoke animatedly. Michael said, “Isn't she great? So down to earth, like the girl next door.” Well, yes, if the girl next door was used to being ogled all of the time. I genuinely liked Kylie but I still didn't get it. Michael was wearing a hat and shades, at least trying to be incognito. But here he was at a popular restaurant with a young woman who didn't even try to be anything other than ‘Kylie'. It got worse at the theatre. We stood in line to buy the tickets and when Michael had to rush off to make a phone call, I was left standing with Kylie in the middle of a large lobby surrounded by about two hundred people, all staring in our direction.
Mostly thanks to attending Michael's gigs I've had shoes ripped off my feet, earrings torn from my lobes and hair pulled out of my scalp when running from backstage door to a waiting car. I am not fond of being in open areas with celebrities. I asked Kylie if we could find a quieter place to wait for him. Concerned that he would not find us, she did not want to budge. I finally coaxed her over to a corner and stood in front of her. This is not difficult. I'm slight, but Kylie really is petite. Finally, Michael returned and we went into the darkened theatre. We left just as the credits came up, and raced outside to the managers' office where we waited until all theatres were emptied and it was safe. We headed outside with Michael holding both our hands and laughing. As we stepped out of the main door and it slammed shut, a group of kids nearby recognized Kylie and then Michael. The chase was on. “Run!” Michael yelled. And boy did we run. Up and down alleys, and across streets looking for a cab. When we found one, and settled into the back seat laughing, I wondered aloud why I had been running, and we all laughed some more.
At the beginning of this romance, Michael and Kylie were careful not to be photographed as a couple. Apparently there was a big price tag for the first photograph of the two together. I will never understand the dichotomy. A person in their line of business begs to be noticed. When they begin to make waves they employ a publicist to keep their profile high. They willingly sign autographs at any time, and are thrilled when someone acknowledges their work. When they make it big and don't have to pay to have their name in the press, they resent being recognized. I say make a deal with a photographer, pose for the pictures to get it out of the way, and split the reward. Surely with the mystique gone, harassment would end also? Even after the reported fifty-thousand-pound bounty was paid by a British newspaper for the first photograph of Michael with Kylie - a blurred thing captured through a telephoto lens - the press continued to hound them. People venturing into a fresh relationship can feel capricious, skeptical, and unsure, but add to this the pressure of being under a public microscope, comments made in the press and on the airwaves daily, and chances are that paranoia would be running high.
I had been working on writing a professional's makeup book and when I finished I went up to the Gold Coast in Queensland where I had quite a few friends who had moved there for the beautiful weather. After a couple of weeks, I decided I liked it there and thought about opening another makeup academy. I talked this over with Tina and we decided this was a good plan. I returned to Sydney , packed up and moved to an apartment in Paradise Waters, and set about finding the right premises to occupy. This did not take too long and once again I was running another academy in Surfers Paradise too.
One day I had a call from Michael asking if he could spend a few days with me. I was so happy as we did not get to see each other too often. This meant we could spend some quality time together and catch up on the past months. I had heard that he was seeing Kylie Minogue and like Tina originally I dismissed this as rumour until she called and said she had been out the night before with Kylie and Michael. I still found it difficult to believe, as it seemed an unlikely pairing. Young Australians have grown up with Kylie. She and Jason Donovon had been an item both on and off television, and in fact were recently married on their show. Michael and Kylie an item? I don't think so! Michael arrived at my home only long enough for us to exchange a few words when the phone rang, it was a girl for Michael. I handed him the ‘phone and walked away to make lunch and give him some privacy. About a half hour later, he came out to me on the patio and we sat there for some time discussing family, his life and then it came out that he was now seeing Kylie. He told me that he had met up with her in Hong Kong . I was surprised as she seemed so young and so unsophisticated and he was so well traveled and so worldly. We had only just finished our lunch and the phone rang again –it was Kylie. Another long conversation. After that call we decided to go out for a drive, take a walk around Marina Mirage and then have some coffee at a cafe. Unfortunately for us it was school holiday time and Michael found himself surrounded by girls wanting autographs and conversation. He signed a few autographs and then said, “I can't handle this” . We went for another drive before going back home and as we entered the door, the phone was ringing again, it was Kylie. She certainly was persistent, and I felt somewhat agitated at this interruption of my private time with Michael but I did not say anything as I thought Kylie must be feeling somewhat unsure of herself in this relationship as young girls do. Kylie was very much protected by her family and I think her only relationship up until then had been with Jason. Michael stayed a few more days and there were many more ‘phone calls, but we did find time to talk and it was so good to see him. He told me that he had been spending quite a bit more time in France.
The press had suggested that Michael was corrupting Kylie the truth is more like he was educating her. Kylie was smart and listened and learned. He gave her confidence, which enabled her to take better control of her career. I did not have too much to do with her but from my observation the more control she had the nicer she grew. I know how frustrated Michael became as the years went on and he felt he was losing control over his career and finances. It is ironic to think that as he was instilling so much confidence in Kylie he was beginning to lose control over his own personal affairs. When Michael and she split up, Kylie was devastated. But they were able to maintain a lasting relationship. Kylie has indeed turned into a beautiful girl, the total professional and with it a huge international star.
By Christmas 1989 the Kylie relationship was still thriving. We spent Christmas day at an apartment they had taken at the Connaught in Sydney . Brent was spending Christmas in California . Mother, her sister Maureen, Erin and I arrived with Christmas dinner, to find Michael was still inebriated from the previous night, in fact we had to wake him. Kylie had flown to be with her family in Melbourne and Rhett had stayed the night at the Connaught and was also still sleeping it off. Along with some friends, the brothers had been thrown out of the pool area due to some rowdiness. Rhett had been playing with a new Swiss army knife, which Michael had given him. There was a bit of an accident and someone in their party had sustained a minor injury to his hand. It would be kind to say that the place was a mess, the maid not working over the holidays, and the activities of the previous night were much in evidence. Empty bottles, dirty dishes and loads of leftover boxes from food deliveries were scattered everywhere, even surrounding the tiny, sparsely decorated Christmas tree. Kylie had managed to prettify this a little before her departure to give the apartment at least a bit of Christmas cheer. Rented movies like Breakfast At Tiffanys, Citizen Kane, and Casablanca were stacked high. Michael said that he had been amazed to find out that Kylie had not seen some of these classics.
Rhett's former girlfriend Lisa and her husband Billy Zane arrived along with others from the music industry. Lisa and I talked about life in Los Angeles and I commiserated with her on green card problems. I was getting homesick by this time and was planning to return to the United States . This Christmas there was nothing memorable for some reason. It seemed that everybody was preoccupied with future plans and places. Rhett was returning to the United States , Mother was making a life for herself on the Gold Coast, Kell was still living in Hong Kong and had not made it back for the holiday and Michael was concentrating hard on his new INXS album - when he and Kylie weren't being hounded by the press. On New Year's Eve, we started out at the Connaught and moved on to the home of some friends. Kylie was sitting next to me drinking something that finally gave her loose lips. Casually, I said “So, you never told me how you got together with Michael.”
She talked of a friend who also knew him and said that this Nicole had arranged it all. As simple as that. Just goes to show that even the famous call on their friends to help in matters of the heart. Kylie revealed herself to be a sweet girl from a close-knit family who strove to protect her. She is also a very sharp entertainer who keeps her finger on the pulse of trends and Michael obviously had real affection for her. He was very protective which was fascinating to observe as up until now everybody had been taking care of him. He was very excited about the relationship and really tried to keep the press at a distance so that it could develop in privacy. But the public was fascinated with the whole 'innocent Kylie, bad boy rocker Michael' aspect and I think they were doomed from the start. He had never experienced this kind of curiosity and intrusion on his personal life because he had never dated anybody this famous. Kylie was used to being followed by the press and she handled it much better. He told me once that he looked upon her as his 'work in progress'. This was not said in an unkind way. Kylie was eight years younger than he and part of his enjoyment of dating her was in sharing his knowledge of literature and the great movies. Also Michael was used to filling large venues and putting on live shows whereas Kylie was just beginning to move into that side of her career.
I was thinking of retiring and maybe taking a real holiday. When Michael returned to Hong Kong he sent me a card with a note saying he could not believe I had never been to Paris . He said that when I was ready to go on a visit, I should phone his Sydney accountant and he would arrange a first class round the world ticket for me. He had bought a house in the South of France by then and had a young French couple installed there to take care of it. This was to be a get-away home, a holiday house for the whole family to enjoy. Shortly after this as fate and fortune would have it I met my future husband. Ross had been a widower for two years. He was an ex Air Force pilot who had joined the Air Force young and had retired a highly decorated Group Captain. We had decided to go on a world trip together and married in Reno, Nevada . We then planned to go to on to Los Angeles to see Tina and then to New York where Michael was touring with INXS. Our family lived such a nomadic, disparate way that this was a way of trying to get together whenever and wherever we could.
Sometime in early 1990 Michael told me about a villa he had brought in Roquefort Les Pins. He suggested that I might want to move there and live in the front cottage. He thought I could help him by managing it for him, but due to the children's schooling I had to decline. His idea was to rent the main house and garden out for location shoots when it was not in family use. He said he had paid around U.S1.5 million dollars in cash. Later I learned from his housekeeper that he had bought the house from the manager of Duran Duran. Evidently Simon Le Bon called often during the summer to ask about its' vacancy. As usual with Michael's purchases it was set up under a company name and this one was Leagueworks Pty. Ltd., with an address in Monaco.
A sign across the main gate reads 'Vielle Ferme Des Guerchs', which roughly translated means the 'old farmhouse belonging to the Guerchs' the family who originally owned it, but it looks like anything but an old farmhouse. It is a magnificent place, about 400 years old and stands on about three acres of lush gardens inland between Nice and Cannes , not far from Grasse where the most beautiful perfumes in the world are created. The main house is a two-story farmhouse with relatively small rooms. It has five bedrooms each with an adjoining bathroom and from the two larger bedrooms on the second floor you can see the Riviera coast in the near distance. It also has a large kitchen, dining room, living room, playroom, music room and downstairs is a basement large enough for a two bedroom apartment. Some wonderful family times were to be spent there and some bleaker days, too.
In early July Erin and I arrived back in Los Angeles . It was a joyful July 4th that year. We were glad to be back, staying with friends in the short term. From the moment I returned I was in touch with Jonnie daily. She had begun a new career as a photographer and was trying valiantly to pick up the pieces of her life. We needed to keep the connection and she was still nursing a broken heart. With her talent and courage she soon founded a successful casting agency which still flourishes today. I also spent time with Rhett who was still working in Los Angeles . Most of the time it was to help him with some day-to-day annoyances or we met for early dinners before he went on somewhere else. Neither of us felt comfortable socializing with the other's friends. I pushed at the subject of therapy and he vehemently rejected the idea. I felt that he was running away from the real problem, which was that he used drugs to kill the pain, could not stay away from them and yet he loathed himself for it, which ironically only encouraged his usage. The more I pressed, the less I saw of him. Eventually Michael sent him to New York as Rhett was convinced that it was too hard to stay away from temptation in Los Angeles . Both thought a new start another city would help.
In late summer that same year Michael called from the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles and came over for lunch by the pool. I brought up the subject of Rhett and Michael said he was doing great. Not so great I told him, I had heard the previous day that he was seen in New York doing some really bad stuff. Michael said he was sending him money to keep off that and refused to believe it. I told him that he had to stop supporting Rhett because in doing so he was contributing to his problems and suggested that we get some people to help us get Rhett into the 'Tough Love' programme. This was a very popular program at that time, where you get the person's friends and family together to confront him with a counselor from Tough Love rehabilitation centre present. The idea is to make it serious enough that he will leave with the counselor that day and spend whatever time it takes at the rehab centre to force him into staying clean. Michael would not buy it; he had people watching Rhett, he said, and he was doing just fine, adding that Rhett was afraid to step out of line in case his living expenses would get cut off. I knew Michael meant well, but my information was very reliable. I felt helpless. I had counted on Michael eventually coming round to my point of view. This time it was almost a pride thing: he already saw himself as head of the family and therefore he knew better.
When I asked Mother not to send any money to Rhett, she said that she hadn't in ages and asked me to speak to Kell about it. He also said that he would refuse to send Rhett money. I was worried that his drug dependency would eventually kill him. He had been lucky so far. Michael, the protective big brother had to come to terms with his decision when Rhett found himself in some serious trouble in New York some months after this. He ended up in the custody of New York 's finest on an assault charge, over a mere $300. He was really trying so hard to take care of himself and turn his life around, but he had chosen the wrong people to do it with. You can't expect to get clean and turn your life around if you go into business with users. Thankfully, Michael literally bought him out of the mess with a savvy attorney who managed a ‘plea bargain' and Rhett returned to Australia . You would think that nothing could sober you up more than a few nights in the ‘Tombs' – the dreaded holding cells below the city courts, but it did nothing to deter Rhett's dependencies. His problems ran much deeper than getting a high.
In the lyrics of Michael's song, 'I'm Just A Man', are the words 'my brother's sane, his heart is so strong; he's killed some pain, and to himself nearly did the same; it washed away, into the cruel sea; like everything, that's built upon the sand; flesh and blood, flesh and blood'. This was close to the bone. The only thing he did not address is the cause of the pain and I believe it began in Rhett's infancy, the fact that he was a 'difficult' baby. I know that not all of these children lose themselves in drugs, but think about the way in which the world responds to a child with that hectic temperament, and you can understand how Rhett was not always getting the positive feedback that an easy child like Michael might inspire. Rhett began to lose himself in drugs relatively young which made it harder for people to warm to him. By the time he was struggling with serious drug abuse, Michael was being accepted and embraced by the world and maybe feeling unnecessarily guilty about the capriciously diverse way that fate had handed out the cards for Rhett and himself.
Chris and Pearl Bailey spent Christmas relaxing with Michael and Kylie at the villa in 1990. Michael had a three week break from the INXS "X" tour schedule after completing a grueling two months in Europe, including four straight nights at Wembley Arena in London. Kylie had helped Michael choose appliances and furniture for the villa and it was all very comfortable now. She tried out some recipes and chatted with Pearl and the men did what they always did whenever they got together - drink a large amount of alcohol and stay up talking all night. Michael and Chris remained great friends, each respecting the other's talent. But Pearl recalls that while Kylie was trying hard to be the perfect hostess, things were not all smooth between she and Michael. There were tensions and they were not quite as loving as they had been.
Michael joined INXS in Mexico City on January 11th, 1991 , playing two sold out shows to an audience of 100,000. Six days later they played the ‘Rock in Rio Festival' to another 100,000 fans along with a lineup which included Ziggy Marley, George Michael, Robert Plant, Billy Idol, Donna Summer, Run DMC, Guns and Roses and Robert Plant. This marked the beginning of another seven months on the road, taking in South America , the United States , Canada , Australia and returning to complete Europe where they played many festivals and benefits for huge audiences. Before reaching Mexico City he had already begun a phone romance with Helena Christensen.
INXS came through Los Angeles in late January 1991 and gave a warm- up performance, actually, a hush-hush show at the Whiskey A-Go-Go . I took my friend Jill, as I knew Michael would be glad to see her. Jill, one of my teenage baby-sitters from 1983 had given so much support to the band and she and Michael had hit it off so well before. The show was special, intimate and like a private party. I looked up to see Belinda Carlisle, now forging her own solo career, draped around a banister on the balcony above. She was mouthing lyrics with Michael, as were most of the guests. I resisted the temptation to ask Michael if they had been an item, but throughout the performance she never took her eyes off him. Afterward at a party at the Four Seasons it was nice to see the band greeting Jill but I was worried about Michael. I felt he was distant. We locked ourselves into a bathroom, the only place that was private and we talked. I told him my fears, about some unflattering things I had heard that he had said about various members of the family. I only half believed what I'd heard but it bothered me if Michael could not talk to us if he was troubled. A mutual friend had told me that he had heard Michael at a party complaining about Rhetts dependencies, Kell's business sense and the fact that he no longer wanted to spend time with me because I never looked happy and didn't know how to enjoy myself. I felt he was pulling away from us. We were such a small clan and he had seemed to be the thread, which held us together.
Michael cupped my face in his hands and said; “Tina, don't listen to, or read the garbage. People are always quoting things that I do not say. I love you. We will always be close.” It was really difficult to look into Michael's eyes and not believe him. We walked outside and he asked Jill for her new number. Two days later, he arranged for her to meet him on tour but he spoke of Kylie most of the time they spent together. This was not unusual, he and Jill had a long standing, unusual friendship and he knew he could discuss anything with her. She said he referred to Kylie as his 'baby' and still seemed captivated with her then. Jill's perception of Michael's feelings for Kylie are interesting, given the apprehension he had instilled with Chris and Pearl Bailey just two months before.
New York looked wonderful when we arrived in February 1991, snowing and bright. When we entered our suite at the Plaza we found it fragrant with flowers, champagne was on ice and a fire glowed in the hearth. Michael had arranged all this. In his welcoming note he explained that a car would collect us and take us to the INXS concert at Meadowlands that evening and he would meet us there. More champagne and flowers greeted us in the limo. Michael and Ross had yet to meet and I thought all these wonderful romantic gestures boded well for their first encounter.
At Meadowlands we were met by Michael's friend and head of security, Jeff Pope, and whisked backstage to Michael's dressing room where a feast was laid out. Sushi, prawns, lobster, salmon, oysters, fruit and yet more champagne all ready for after the show. The only other person in the room was a striking girl wearing a long white dress. She had long dark brown hair, dark tan skin and the most unusual green eyes. We just smiled at each other, then Michael appeared behind me and gave me a big hug. We laughed, so happy to see each other again. I introduced him to Ross and they seemed to take to each other. Now there was only one more family introduction to go for Ross and that was Rhett. We'd not had much contact over the last two years as he'd been traveling and mostly living in the United States . I would not have to wait much longer as Michael told me that he too was in New York.
Meanwhile the tall mystery girl was introduced to us as Helena Christensen. We only had time to exchange a quick 'hello' before the concert began. This was the first INXS concert Helena had seen. She had that in common with Ross. Her name was dimly familiar but now, of course, I could place the face from a hundred glossy magazine covers – Helena was one of the most successful models in the world. When the show was over Jeff and the security came to collect us to take us backstage again. We had some supper then happy and elated we went back to our hotel making plans to meet up for a family lunch the next day. Before retiring, I decided to pop a note under Michael's door to ask him to invite Helena too. Next day as we waited in the restaurant, in walked Rhett and his date, along with Michael and Kylie! Confused? So were we.
I had no idea what was going on and felt somewhat embarrassed in case she had seen my note to Michael inviting Helena . There were a couple of frosty moments but we had an enjoyable lunch. Kylie looked adorable. We talked about her family and she proudly told me her grandmother had made the outfit she was wearing. It was quite an uncomfortable situation for all of us. Rhett is always quick to size things up and he started telling jokes which lightened the atmosphere somewhat but Michael was rather quiet until he got into conversation with Ross about his days as a fighter pilot. Over the years Michael loved to hear these stories and grilled Ross constantly for more. We stayed two more days in New York but did not see Kylie again. INXS continued their tour in the Lear jet, which had ‘INXS' painted on the side in large letters. I was very concerned about them traveling from city to city in that plane as the weather was extreme and snow had to be scraped off before each take-off.
We said our good-byes, flying to London by Concorde and on to Paris , which was everything I had hoped it would be for Ross and me. We went on to Venice and then flew to Nice to be met by Michael's driver Claude and driven to his villa in Roquefort. This was to be my first visit to this lovely old house and we would come to spend many wonderful times there with family and friends. We had all heard so much about this house which Michael had bought as a getaway to relax and enjoy his solitude. He would write there, party there, and over the years enjoy cooking for friends and family.
The grounds have the most magnificent old trees, some of the ivy-clad trunks seem almost as wide as the house. Scattered throughout the garden are old lamps also covered in ivy and rows and rows of lavender bushes. There was a rose garden, a herb garden, a vegetable garden, lemons, grapefruit, orange, apple and even olive trees. Michael eventually had the olives pressed for oil and bottled it with his own label. He used at the villa and gave the rest away to visitors. We were to walk around the garden many times with Michael over the years. After this initial visit we were to return to the villa annually and each time Michael would walk us around to see the improvements he had made, his chest puffing with pride. This garden was Michael's great joy and he spent a lot of time and money and care on it.
On that first visit we noticed that the house was sparsely furnished, but over the years Michael collected notable pieces of furniture and paintings, some of which he shipped from places all over the world. Most of his belongings had been stored in Hong Kong and Sydney but now he was sending for them to fill this retreat. Everything was in keeping with the casual style of the house. The oversized dining table, huge side buffet and squashy sofas all contributed to a light, airy, Mediterranean feel.
When Helena started going to the house it took on a more feminine and romantic look. There were lots of white bedspreads and tablecloths and there were always dozens of candles, which would be lit each night in every room. Candelabra would be taken onto the patio overlooking the pool where we would dine in the summertime. We ate outside on this patio often, and I can still smell the lavender and see the overhead blanket of wisteria. Michael often treated us to his own bouillabaisse, along with wine from his own cellar. I was so pleased that he had this heavenly oasis to escape to, 'to smell the roses' to speak. He referred to it as the family home and encouraged us to invite friends to stay, even when he could not be there. When we had friends coming in, if at all possible, he would go to the airport and greet them himself, he was so proud to share the place.
One Friday in 1991, after Mother and Ross had left to meet Michael in New York , Jonnie called to say she was going to be away for the weekend. I happened to be in a blue mood and she suggested that she call her friend Richard to keep me company. She had dated him for seven years before going out with Michael, he remained a friend and she thought he would be the perfect person to cheer me up. When Richard called I realized that he was the same Richard who had found the Al Kiola guitar for Michael in 1989. He had a great voice and an attractive phone manner. After a long conversation we arranged to meet for dinner. Being cautious of anyone knowing where I lived, and not wanting to be stuck somewhere, I told him I would pick him up. Erin was so delighted: this was a Date. No, it is definitely not a Date I told her, but we did become engaged three years later.
Michael called and I mentioned that Jonnie had introduced me to someone special. Before I could get his name out, Michael said he knew because he had just spoken with Jonnie. With almost breath-taking insouciance he had called her in despair after Kylie walked out of the Plaza! Michael was inconsolable over the breakup with Kylie even though it was he who had initiated it. His calls to her were less frequent and of course he blamed the pace of the tour, but rumours of Michael's philandering were flying around everywhere. Kylie had confronted him in his room after she had flown in especially to see him and there was nothing to do but admit that he was seeing Helena . I have the impression that Kylie is a straight-forward person who simply cannot tolerate infidelities. The fact that he was so upset over Kylie's heartbreak was so typical of Michael, who wanted everybody to be happy. He wanted to get away with murder via stealth and charm and not face the fact that sometimes, heavy emotional choices must be faced. He still couldn't take responsibility for the impact of his rejections or two-timing. Most of his final breakups had been made on the phone from another continent. And now here he was calling Jonnie, the woman he had left for Kylie, in the hope that she could console him. Nothing could ever diminish my love for Michael but honestly sometimes I despaired of his emotional immaturity.
While Richard and I flew from San Francisco to Sacramento on the INXS Learjet, Michael told me about Helena Christensen. He said Herb Ritts had introduced them on the phone, and I should look out for her in a Chris Isaak video. He was obviously excited about this girl. I did not ask about Kylie for fear that it would bring his mood down before a performance. Michael and Richard got on well at that meeting. There seemed to be mutual respect and the fact that Richard and I were so obviously in tune with each other. We were transferred to a limo at the Sacramento airport. Some fans drove alongside the car calling out to the band members as we drove to the venue. It was hours away from opening the doors. Richard and I sat alone in the Arco Arena, watching the sound check. When they were through we joined Andrew, Tim, Jon, Garry, Kirk and Michael for dinner and the members one by one headed off for a massage and a vitamin B shot, and finally the show was on. Richard held me on the side of the stage where Kirk stood, a spot where I have always felt comfortable. We flew back to San Francisco directly after the show where I said my goodbyes to Michael and told him I looked forward to meeting Helena.
END CHAPTER SEVEN