Christmas 1994 was unforgettable. Mother and Ross arrived into Los Angeles on December 18th, and within two days bought a 2300 square foot penthouse in my name. This was a huge surprise and outrageously generous. Michael and Helena arrived shortly after for a two week visit. Helena was booked for some work and Michael was catching up on family. When Michael found out about my penthouse he asked Mother why she had not told him that I needed some financial help. She replied that I would never think of asking him. Michael had in fact offered to purchase a home for me in 1988, at the time I had turned it down, as I was determined to make my own way.
Michael invited us to join them at the Ivy for dinner and joked that he had difficulty getting a table under his name so he used Helena 's. He had a way of making a joke at his own expense, but I noticed an edge in his voice and I felt that it bothered him more than he was letting on. Later we went back to the Sunset Marquis bar and settled around a corner table. Helena jumped on the phone and tracked down Kate Moss. It was as if she had decided that two hours was enough with the family. She and Michael had a confrontation over whether to stay at the Sunset Marquis bar or to move on to the Viper Room with Kate and her boyfriend Johnny Depp. Michael wanted to stay put. The atmosphere was thick. Helena finally suggested that she would go ahead in a taxi and he could join her later. I knew this was putting pressure on Michael and the mood had been brought down anyway so I excused myself and took Erin and Brent home. Mother and Ross also left.
The next day Michael invited Brent and his girlfriend and Erin to join him, Helena, and Stephen Dorff at a showing of Stephen's new movie, 'SFW'. Afterwards Erin, who was now sixteen, reported that Helena , was flirting with Stephen Dorff. Erin couldn't understand why Michael would put up with this behaviour. Maybe he just didn't care anymore I said, and I had other things on my mind. The former owners of my new home had moved to the east coast three months before we bought it so Ross had arranged for us to move in less than the usual 30 or 60 days. He had originally tried for Christmas day but that was out of the question for me. Anyway, four nights after our dinner at the Ivy, I had a house-warming party in our new home. I wasn't really ready for it but since Michael and Helena were in town I went ahead. Although Michael appeared quite jovial, arriving with an exquisite bottle of wine, Helena kept to herself. Throughout the evening it was obvious from their body language that they were going through a rough patch. Michael bounced around conversing with many people, spending a great deal of time with Erin and her friends. One of my guests, an actor and a cigar connoisseur, had heard that Michael had recently started to appreciate cigars. He led Michael upstairs to sit by the jacuzzi overlooking the L.A. skyline where they sat and enjoyed one of his best Havanas . Relaxed now, Michael spoke of acting and settling in Los Angeles . He thought it was time to get serious about this aspect of his talents and expressed an interest in taking acting lessons.
Wandering around my new home, Helena stopped to look at a picture, which had been inscribed 'To Tina and Richard'. She thoughtfully reminded me that I was no longer with Richard and suggested that in future I should insist that the artist give me my own separate piece, as if the problem of division of spoils attendant to a breakup was on her mind. It didn't seem very optimistic or romantic to me, but with conviction she announced that she always did this. I sensed that Michael was on the move.
Michael's birthday fell on the day of his departure and Mother, Ross, Erin, Brent and I were meeting him and Helena for lunch at the Four Seasons. I was pleased with the gift I had found him - a copy of the original script for 'Citizen Kane' . Michael arrived an hour late and without Helena . Making a very poor excuse for her absence he admitted that he had not yet been to bed. This was obvious from his disheveled appearance. He explained that he had been dancing naked on a friend's coffee table in honour of his 35th birthday and adding that you come into the world naked and therefore why not celebrate your birthday the same way? He looked around the room and saw his old friend Michael Hamlyn and went over to him. ‘Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert' was winning awards all over the place. Michael had been offered the role eventually given to Guy Pearce but after numerous negotiations with Chris Murphy, Murphy advised Michael not to take the offer. Michael regretted taking this advice as he knew that it could well have been a turning point in his career. Hamlyn was at the bar with Terrence Stamp, his lead actor from the film consoling him for not winning some Best Actor award for his role as a cross-dresser.
Michael seemed much too animated for someone who had not been to bed but that day I wasn't going to worry. We were just happy to be spending these last hours together, it was his birthday, and we were happy that he was happy. Helena was unconvincing when she called that afternoon to complain about her earache. I suggested that they delay their flight to Nice, as it can be dangerous to fly with ear trouble. Nothing doing, they were on their way to the villa and they departed that evening.
Three weeks later, in mid-February, Michael called me from the villa. He was in the mood for a talk and spoke a good deal of Paula, the by-then estranged wife of Bob Geldof, and mother of three. She was well established as a British television personality and journalist with a high profile in the press. He did not say his relationship with Helena was over but mentioned that she was visiting her parents in Denmark . He did not imply that he was intending to start seeing Paula, though he did harp on about how caring she was with her children. Apparently she had written several books on the pleasures of motherhood. He said that her girls were more than just bright, they were prodigies, all three with IQs running off the Mensa scale. I wondered how you would test a four-year old. He referred to Paula as 'brilliant' so I guessed he was now hooked; I could always tell what was up when he called a woman brilliant. With Michael it was all or nothing. For instance, he would never just say that Paula's children were cute, funny and bright. They had to be beyond genius.
He was disappointed to learn that although I was familiar with Bob Geldof through his efforts with 'Live Aid' and with the Boom Town Rats, I had never heard of Paula Yates until I was reminded of the interview she had done in New York for the London listings magazine Time Out (the one which had caused Virginia Hey to pack her bag and leave Michael briefly stranded) and I dimly recalled Jonnie's mentions of a Paula who made phone calls and showed up at hotels while they were on tour. Could this be the same woman? Very rarely does a British television personality make headlines in the United States as we don't get very much British television here, so for a while I remained truly baffled. This made Michael praise her more as if he wanted to be sure that I knew just how clever she was. I asked him if Paula Yates was a new friend and he said they had known each other for years ever since he appeared on her television show. Although he didn't say so I had the feeling that as usual he had already begun this liaison before cleanly terminating his relationship with Helena .
February 25, 1995 . 'Dear Tina, thought you would get a kick out of this story. What next! Love Mother. '
It was a story cut from an Australian magazine about Michael jilting Helena, Michael denying his involvement with Paula Yates, and Helena 's new love interest - Stephen Dorff! I faxed Mother back telling her of my conversation with Michael.
March 14, 1995 . "Dear Tina, Radio and newspapers are announcing Michael and Helena 's secret wedding somewhere in Europe . Here we go again! Has the rain, stopped yet? Love from us both, Mother and Ross. XX
Michael was seeing Paula discreetly as he was not sure where this was going and he had not finally split from Helena . This did not suit Paula who wanted him to leave Helena . Also, Bob had refused to make a public statement about their separation and she wanted it spelled out in the press. Michael and Paula saw each other sporadically for about three months until she suggested that they go away for the weekend. Paula had evidently chosen a quiet country inn in Kent , a little place she had visited with Bob. Even though it was supposed to be a secret weekend getaway, the press had been tipped off by an ‘anonymous' source, that Paula was having an affair with an unnamed rock star. Many people believe that it was Paula herself who did this. After all Paula's first serious job which Bob helped her land, was writing a gossip column and she certainly knew how the press worked. Most of her friends were journalists or press agents.
The British tabloid press, always hungry for scandal, responded royally. Half of the inn was occupied by photojournalists. Later on Michael said that the dining room was full but he did not realize that most of the couples were members of the press. When a journalist friend of Paula's came over to the table she seemed astonished and hurried with Michael upstairs to their room, attracting even more attention. Before the weekend was over, Michael had skuffles with at least two of the photographers one of whom, brought assault charges. I am convinced that Paula tipped off the press about that weekend, especially after a conversation I had with Bob Geldof five months after Michael's death. He said, "When Paula left she took the Rolodex containing all the journalist's contact numbers."
Michael was a lover and he loved women almost to a fault, in a protective way. What he saw in Paula then was a beleaguered, defenseless mother of three up against a Goliath by the name of Geldof. Soon after this incident Michael began telling friends and family that he thought Bob was out to destroy Paula because she had left him. Bob was so well connected that he had some influence when it came to controlling the press but I suspect that Paula planted the seed of this idea. She, too, had some powerful media friends. Together Bob and Paula were masters at self-promotion.
It is important to remember that the British press has always had an
ambivalent attitude towards Paula. The media can be fickle changing its
opinion without any fair reason, but in her case while some in the media
have always liked to knock her, in other quarters she is deified. And Paula
knew how to work those quarters…
Anyway, it figures that the combination of smart, sexy, female in distress, would be an unbeatable combination for Michael. What a cad he would be,
if he left her after such a public display. The photographs that made the newspapers showed Michael attacking a photographer, while Paula dashed to a waiting car. Of course what most people did not know was that while one photographer baited Michael, another stood aside waiting to snap the picture. These pictures were published along with stories about Paula leaving Bob for Michael, which was completely UNTRUE. She had already moved out of their home. Bob had just procrastinated about giving the press a statement about their separation.
Michael may have been already smitten with Paula but it had not been enough to actually end his affair with Helena thus far. Now he had no choice but to commit to the relationship as he could not talk his way out of this with a humiliated Helena . But not only was his four year relationship with her shattered, he was also eventually brought up on charges instigated by one of the photographers and his former relative anonymity in Britain was forever lost. Up till that point, he had been rarely followed by the press and could usually put a hat and glasses on and go anywhere. But from now on the press was always waiting. Thus began his gradual but growing contempt for the media, the British tabloids in particular. He had experienced a taste of their manic desire to hunt down a celebrity for a fat cheque when he was with Kylie, but what he experienced at their hands during the time he spent with Paula was pure malice. For Paula's enemies in the press corps, this new relationship of hers was an opportunity to paint her as a harlot. And when Paula sobbed about her mistreatment, Michael took it personally.
Several years had elapsed between Paula's first encounter with Michael and when they started to have this affair. In her own autobiography, however, she wrote of her ongoing fascination with Michael, although of course she was still married to Bob Geldof. But Paula was tenacious. This time her rival had been one of the world's most beautiful international supermodels. British newspapers, always eager to attack the victor, taunted her with unflattering stories. One depicted a magnificent photograph of Helena next to a particularly frumpy photograph of Paula, the caption reading "Would you trade this for this?" Michael could not understand why the press was so nasty to her. He blamed it on the saintly image of her estranged husband, Bob Geldof, making the fact that Paula was so brazen as to leave Geldof being seen as tantamount to a sin to many people, particularly readers of the British press. The person who wins in this sort of situation is usually the one with the most expensive public relations firm. Paula was playing a very dangerous game if she was feeding the stories, for there is no such thing as loyalty in the media. The press and those who follow it can turn at any time.
Poor Michael, I commiserated with him. It was a mixture of unimaginable pain and confusion, to find himself ostracized by the same press which had, up until now, treated him generously. He had spent his whole life basking in compliments which he really did not think he deserved and now, at the age of thirty five, a pivotal age for a singer in a rock band, he was being publicly and painfully scorned. And for what? This, too, was undeserved. In his eyes, he was seeing a woman of whom the public did not approve, but what did his personal life have to do with anyone else?
I continued to fret about Michael's involvement with Paula's problems and concluded that it was insane for him to be so concerned about her collapsed marriage. I believe that one should finish one relationship before entering into another. It's true that Michael had a pattern of doing just the opposite, but he had never had the extra complication of being married and nor did he have children.
March 28, 1995 . 'Dear Tina, Haven't had any further news from London as yet - but the 'Rag Mags' are having a field day. I've still not heard from Michael. And I'm very concerned, as he promised he would phone as soon as the case (assault charge) was over on Monday. The papers and magazines have been pushing this on T.V. as well. Poor Mike, he must be feeling so alone at times. Love Mother.'
April 6th, 1995 . 'Dear Tina, We have finalized our itinerary for Europe , we will send you a copy. I have been getting calls from London re Michael....more like being harassed, so I phoned Sam at M.M.A. and she has given me the number of the P.R. girl in Sydney, also in London. She said I should just refer any caller to those numbers, and if they continue they will hear from their solicitors. Lots of Love, Mother.'
Michael was a strange combination of someone, who ate well, took care of his body with workouts, usually drank moderately, but who also consumed
a healthy or unhealthy amount of illegal drugs. Like many people involved with drugs, he reasoned that exercise and a healthy diet would counteract their effects. But mid 1995 Michael's illegal substance abuse had escalated. He particularly enjoyed hallucinogenics, and the 'balance' he sought was listing. Michael enjoyed social drugs for the same reasons that most people do, of course –escapism. It was a relief from life's problems.
Paula, by her own admission, had jumped in the deep end of the drug culture at the age of twelve with a boyfriend while she was attending school in Malta . According to her autobiography, she was using heroin every afternoon and did 'lots of drugs as a teenager' . She maintained that she remained a teetotaller but actually that is not totally true. At all our family functions she was very fond of good champagne. So here we have Michael fearless about experimentation with life itself but loathe to create discord and passionate about his private life being kept that way; and Paula who has the uncanny ability to say anything that will stun print and television audiences and make headlines. It was not surprising that the combination of these two people could be volatile, and at its worst, horribly destructive. Especially when you add drugs to the mix.
April 22, 1995 . 'Tina, will you still be coming in August to see Rhett, and Mandy and his new baby, or wait until Xmas if we all go to South of France? Also ask Michael if he is coming out for the occasion in August, or will he also wait. Rhett said -'As soon as he meets Mandy, he will know where I'm at now'!!! We leave for London next Sunday, Michael's driver will be picking us up at the airport.
Could you fax us Michael's new number? I can't tell you how good it was to see Rhett looking so healthy and happy -he is so over the moon and so gentle with Mandy and she is the same with him - they look great together and are looking forward to seeing you. He doesn't think Kell will get to Byron Bay (for the birth) as he can't afford to!
Can you believe this? Can't drive to Byron Bay but he can go to Europe . I'm also astounded that they already have plans for Xmas-obviously we aren't included. It makes me angry, with the effort we(you) go to is mainly to stop Michael and Rhett from feeling pressured and feeling guilty and /or having to make decisions on who they should eat with on Xmas day - like you say, its not as if we are all in the same country, so we have to work this through together. Love, Love, Mother and Ross'
April 24, 1995 . ‘Dear Tina, I'm pleased that Michael is happy about our plans for Xmas at the villa. I think its best all around, at least we would get to see each other a lot more, and it's a great family get together location - (kind of like the Kennedys! - at least I'm one! Was one. Ha Ha.)'
May 20, 1995 . 'Dear Mum and Ross, Well sounds like your foot may be ok Ross, (Ross had fractured a bone in his foot) I sure hope it gets A O K as soon as possible. What about Kick Boxing Mum? Ha, ha. Does Rhett have a fax number I can use? I'm calling Tina today, I have to go to court on August 22nd. (assaulting a photojournalist)Ah Well! I miss you very much + so does Paula + the kids say hi and love from us. Michael + Paula.'
In mid 1995 Ross and I were in London , staying with Michael in his apartment in Belgravia as his house on Smith Terrace in Chelsea was being renovated at the time. Paula and Michael were not living together. She was living with her children and their nanny in another rented house. This was to be my first meeting with Paula Yates. I was curious to meet this woman and form my own unbiased opinion of her. In fact, I was determined to like her. When I did finally meet her I was totally captivated by the shy, sweet lady, who breezed into my son's apartment wearing a pink Chanel dress, nothing sexy, just a smart shift. She must have taken to heart his comments about Chanel, made seven years before during her Time Out interview with him. Her arms were filled with flowers for both me and for Michael. She had just taken her children to school and the plan was for us to spend the day together before meeting the children and their nanny Anita at the Connaught for afternoon tea.
We had such a lovely day. Michael's driver tipped us off that the paparazzi were following us everywhere but we honestly did not see them. Michael, Paula, Ross and I went shopping at Harrods, Chanel, and Dolce & Gabbana trying on clothes and shoes and lunching together. We returned to Dolce & Gabbana where Michael bought some black trousers, and I purchased a beautiful pale-blue suit.
Afternoon tea was interesting to say the least. The Geldof girls looked adorable and told me that both Paula and Anita had ordered them to be on their best behavior. I found them really entertaining at that first meeting. Fifi, who was twelve at the time, was lovely, intelligent and friendly and looked unnervingly like her father. We talked about her school, friends and her love of horses. As I got to know Fifi better, I felt that she needed and wanted to belong. She gave me the impression that she felt left out. Here was Paula, the slim blonde with her two blonde younger children and Fifi, who at twelve was carrying a little baby fat and seemed to have a complex about it. Pixie was about four-years-old and so cute. She insisted on Michael covering his eyes as she donned her new designer jacket and matching hat to surprise him. I could see that he enjoyed playing her game. I remarked on her hair colour, which was many shades of red and blonde and she said that she had colored it herself, especially for me. She also said that her six-year-old sister Peaches had tried to put a stud in her nose, but it hurt too much, so she decided against it. Peaches was the livewire, very hyper, and she looked like Paula. I caught nanny Anita giving her the 'behave yourself' eye contact, as she stuck her little finger in every petit four on the silver tray.
On reflection it must have been a slightly stressful day for all of them. Paula trying to maintain her demure young mum persona to make an impression on Ross and me. I must admit that Ross and I were enchanted. Later I had a touch of deja vu, remembering going through the same scene with Tina, Michael and Rhett. Tina always trying to act so very sophisticated - she would be the one with the 'behave yourselves' glare in her eyes, inevitably aimed at Rhett. Michael told us once that whenever Kell paid the bill, Rhett would stay behind and 'nick' the tip left for the waiter. No wonder we were not, too popular in some restaurants.
Throughout the week, we saw lots of the girls and I came to like them more and more. And yes, I liked Paula very much as she made Michael laugh a lot and I told him so. His early days with Paula were undoubtedly happy – apart from the press persecution – and it would be foolish of me to deny this. She knew how to say and do just the right thing, and she worked at it. One day we went to Portobello Road where some workman called out "Hey Michael, that Paula's a Babe". Obviously journalists were following us, because this was reported in a magazine, only the workmen were quoted as saying something derogatory. On the way home she asked the driver to pull over and let her out, she said she wanted to go into a shop on Kings Road and would meet us at a nearby coffee shop. When she walked in she had a beautifully wrapped gift box which she placed in Ross's lap. He opened it, and there lay a gorgeous spray of asparagus...made out of rich, dark, chocolate. He had mentioned earlier that he loved chocolate. Another day when she noticed that I was reading Sarah Miles's autobiography, she said that Sarah Miles was a friend and that she had written another book which she showed up with the next day. Paula certainly had a way about her in those early months and I can understand why Michael was so charmed by her. I wanted to send good news and reassurances to my daughter.
June 4, 1995 . 'Dear Tina, Michael has a brand new fax here. It was jammed, I finally fixed it and it spewed out about 12 faxes.-some for Chris Murphy. Lots of news. We had dinner last night at a restaurant in Picadilly called Bentleys with Paula and Fifi Trixibelle. It's obvious Paula and her children are crazy about Michael, and vice versa!! They will all be in South of France over July/Aug. Michael will be taking Fifi water rafting as she likes danger and excitement. They are looking forward to meeting you, Rhett, and Mandy - You will like her very much. Much love to you all, Mother and Ross.XX'
One evening we went to San Lorenzo , a superb Italian restaurant and one of Michael's favourites. When Mara, the owner, came over to our table and Michael introduced us she hugged him and said to me "Mamma, don't you believe anything you read in those newspapers, I know your son Michael, he is like my son too. Very special, I love him." Michael's friend, Michael Hamlyn joined us with his wife Sara, then Paula arrived. Michael had wanted to pick her up beforehand, but she had insisted on meeting us there. She was again, dressed in a very conservative fashion. She was still being very sweet and shy. What's not to like? I asked myself.
Dinner over we walked outside and suddenly there was a flash of lights. About fifty flashes went off in our faces in quick succession. It was quite awesome and as anyone who has had the experience of flash bulbs going off knows it is temporarily blinding. We almost fell down the three front steps of the restaurant. We hurried on down the street and at one stage thought the photographers had left us but suddenly the flashes began again. These people wear sneakers, they creep up behind you and call out your name so that in your confusion you turn and oblige them with a startled stare.
The next day almost every newspaper used the shots, selling them to magazines in Australia and elsewhere too. We were puzzled as to why there were so many members of the press and how they knew where we were. No matter how secretive we were, how often we changed cars, or went our separate ways to meet up at an unexpected location, in fact Paula usually insisted upon meeting us somewhere –the press was there, sometimes before we were.
During this visit, Michael took us to see his house in Smith Terrace, Chelsea, which he had bought in 1993. It was quite different from the other terraced buildings in the area. He had commissioned some major work which had been carried out by Australian architect, Robert Grace to make it more open and airy, like a home you might see in a warmer climate, such as Sydney . He had concerns about the neighbours as they had already complained about the noise and disruption that all of the repairs were causing. As he described all the work that had gone into it, I thought it was sounding like a 'money pit' . But he was very proud of the investment. On a later trip to Australia , he left some papers in my home which included some of the accounts from Mr Grace. One account alone was close to A$300,000 and Michael still wasn't even living in the house.
Before we left London for the villa, Michael told us about another property, a house he had purchased on the Gold Coast, not far from our home. We were particularly excited as it meant that he would possibly spend more time near us. He said he would be back to see it later in the year. Once again he had purchased the property sight unseen, leaving the particulars to his financial guru, Colin Diamond.
Michael joined us in the South of France with his friend Chris Bailey who was helping him write his solo album. Chris has a wonderful Irish sense of humour and they spent many hours in Michael's music room. Music filled the house most of the time and the two men had such rapport. It was one of the happiest times we ever spent at the villa. Paula called often, several times a day, and Michael laughed a lot while on the phone with her. After one call, he got off the phone and told us that she was discussing her new 'boobs'. She had very publicly and thus to the consternation of many, decided upon breast enlargement. I couldn't see why she would want this but believed it was her business. I gather that quite a lot of people assumed that she'd chosen to have breast enlargement at Michael's request, or at least to please him which is silly, as to my recollection most of his girlfriends were anything but buxom. At any rate, she said that before they took her into the operating room she wrote across her chest, 'make them perfect'.
I was glad to see Michael laugh so much, but I was concerned about the conflicting press that he was getting. One day I asked Chris about this new love of Michael's, and he told me not to worry, as far as Michael was concerned, this was nothing serious.
Some puzzling things happened in late 1995, though at the time we did not put them all together. While Michael was staying with us on the Gold Coast, Ross and I drove him over to view his house in La Spezia Court , on the Isle of Capri. This was another property he had planned to rent out. He was seeing it for the first time and wasn't expecting much as Colin Diamond had explained that although the land was valuable, he could not ask very much in rent because the house itself was very rundown. This surprised us as we had already driven by before Michael's arrival and we thought it looked rather well kept especially the grounds. He told us he had paid $1 million in cash for this house and a Bentley had been thrown in with the deal. He said that Colin told him it was a bargain.
As we sat outside the house with Michael two cars pulled into the driveway. One was a four-wheel drive, the other was a Bentley. Michael was very shortsighted so he did not recognize either driver, although he wondered aloud who was driving his Bentley. We drove off immediately, thinking that we were encroaching on the privacy of whoever was renting the house.
Soon after we arrived back home Colin rang and asked to speak to Michael who became audibly annoyed on the phone and told him that he was coming over to see his house. He refused a ride from Colin and asked Ross to drive him instead. They were met out front by Colin who took them inside for a tour. The house was impressive and stood on a large plot with a river frontage. Colin said he was staying there. He also said that his brother Stephen was temporarily living at the house. This surprised Michael who asked why he had been told that it was being rented out. At this Colin asked to speak with Michael alone. Ross, sensing that they wanted privacy suggested to Michael that he return for him in an hour. When he did so, Michael was in only slightly better spirits.
About a month after this I was dining with my friend Susan at Marina Mirage. A friend of hers came by and Susan introduced us. She was Nicola Diamond, estranged wife of Stephen Diamond. Nicola suddenly began talking about Michael's properties on the Gold Coast. I asked her how she knew so much about my son's business and she replied that she worked at her husband's office. She said they kept a safe there containing all this paperwork with which she was so familiar. She mentioned the house on La Spezia , the block of land in Southport and the bowling alley at Labrador . I was quite astounded to hear this. I told her that I did not believe she should be speaking about Michael's business outside of the office. She apologized and was obviously embarrassed.
As it happened Ross and I were selling our house soon after this and decided to use Stephen Diamond to close the sale as the buyer was leaving for Melbourne that day, and our Solicitor was in Brisbane . Just before we left to meet Stephen, the mail arrived and with it a letter from Nicola Diamond. It was an apology for her behavior. She wrote, "I don't want Colin to find out...he will kill me(a figure of speech)" I thought it was an oddly worded letter, surely Colin couldn't be as menacing as she made out he was. When Ross and I were at our appointment, Stephen mentioned the incident with Nicola and apologized to me for her indiscretion. I told him it was all right and that she had sent me a letter of apology herself. He asked if he could read the letter. I did not want to give it to him but felt intimidated by him. I handed it over and as I put my hand out to retrieve it he pulled away and ripped it to shreds. I was furious and in hindsight I am sorry I didn't recover it from the waste -basket because it would certainly have helped us later. When I mentioned that I thought Michael had made some excellent choices in his property investments, citing the La Spezia house as an example, Stephen agreed and in the course of the conversation took credit for finding all the Gold Coast properties for Michael. Later on when holidaying at the villa, I was reading a biography of Errol Flynn. A note fell out of the pages. It was from Stephen Diamond. He wrote congratulating Michael on the purchase of the house on the Isle of Capri on the Gold Coast. He had a ‘P.S.' at the bottom saying ‘The Bentley has been thrown in' . Another coincidence relating to that book was the fact that Errol Flynn had named his boat Tigerlily .
Rhett became a father in August 1995 one week before his thirty third birthday when little Zoe Angel was born.
August 15, 1995 . 'Dear Tina, Spoke very briefly to Rhett last night, he was emotionally wrung out - hadn't decided on a name - Paula suggested 'Saucy Cupcake', however, he wasn't too impressed with that! Love Mother and Ross XX'
Rhett and Michael had not had much contact since Christmas 1993, their relationship strained, due to many broken promises on Rhetts' part. Although he had worked hard at turning his life around, there was so much bad history that Michael had found it easier to cut himself off from him. I called the hospital where he sat at Mandy's' side, cradling the baby. You have never heard a more proud father. I flew out to Australia and surprised him a week later. I wanted to offer my support for the strength and courage he had shown and resolved to write to Michael about this to encourage more contact with Rhett.
October 20, 1995 . 'Dear Tina, Hi Sweety, thanks for the megafax. I talked to Rhett the other day and yes he said all the stupid Dad things - he's a natural, I'm so happy he's found an answer in lifes renewal. I suppose he must feel validated as a human being now or something? Mandy seems to have it all together. Paula and I will be visiting Byron Bay, the kids wont be coming now. We will have our own Christmas with them on the 15th in London -the works English style!! Then they will be with their Dad and we will be back by the 5th or so of January. We couldn't take the kids from Bob this Christmas, didn't seem right - but they are disappointed as they love Australia . ........'
October 8, 1995 . 'Dear Tina, Yes, we have now decided to go to Sydney for Xmas, this of course depending on Michael definitely coming out. As of last night he is, but Bobs decision not to allow the children to come may change that. I doubt it though as he is really looking forward to it, and meeting Mandy and Zoe. Also catching up with Rhett after all this time. The last time was on the Gold Coast(1993). This trip will be good for Mike and Rhett to start again and become good friends. I am looking forward to seeing Michael and Paula, I do like her and we get along well. Wish you were coming. Love Mother.'
Shortly before Christmas 1995 Paula and Michael came to stay with us. They had worked something out with Bob who agreed to send his children on a flight to Sydney on December 26th. Tina was unable to join us that year, a pity as there were a couple of family events as well as Christmas itself - the christening of Zoe Angel and – as it happened - Michael's announcement about the birth of his first child.
Ross organized a flight for Michael in a Tiger Moth. Michael, who had always wanted to be a pilot, was very proud of Ross's flying record and career. That day, Ross was having the pilot fly over our apartment block with Michael. Paula and I ran out to the balcony with the sound of every plane or helicopter. Michael wanted a photograph of himself flying and I got some great, pure joy, shots of him in the ‘plane giving the thumbs up and waving. Later we had one of them printed onto a tee shirt for Brent. The following Christmas, 1996, Michael had some cufflinks specially made in London for Ross, in the shape of the Tiger Moth.
During this same visit a radio station announced a competition to see who could tell them where Michael and Paula were staying. Over the three days they stayed in our home and they were not bothered. Michael's security people had taken great care to get them from the airport to us undetected. Michael rarely had a chance to drive his Bentley which was safely parked in the garage of our apartment block until the day we went up to Tambourine mountain and he drove it then. The owners of the restaurant are friends and they were careful not to let anyone know that we were there. There was a group of ladies sitting behind us, Paula heard their English accents and began getting agitated. Although these women were not taking any notice of her she complained quite unnecessarily, attracting ever more attention to our table. I had the impression that she wanted to be recognized.
Two days later, we all drove down to Byron Bay for Zoe Angel's christening as Rhett had asked Michael to be Zoe's Godfather. We led, followed by Michael and Paula in the Bentley who were followed by Tony the bodyguard. During our short stay in Byron Bay Michael confided in me that he and Paula were expecting a child but he was most surprised and a little disappointed when I told him I already knew. How? ‘Someone' had leaked the news just before they boarded their flight from London and it was in the British press. A friend had called to tell me. Michael asked me not to say anything to the rest of the family as he wanted to announce the news on Christmas day. Also, he did not want to take anything away from Rhett on this special occasion for his little Zoe Angel. Evidence at last, perhaps, that Rhett could make us all feel happy and proud that he had done something right, and for once done something that Michael hadn't yet managed. To his credit, Michael could easily have trumped his ace with his own news about fatherhood, but chose to let Rhett have his day.
Our hotel was crawling with photojournalists but we managed not to let this spoil the special occasion. Ross and I were still finding it difficult to understand how the press always knew where Michael and Paula were.
In the morning Tony knocked on Michael's door and told him that he had just had a scuffle with some photographers who were staking out the cars downstairs. He told an elaborate story involving a fist fight with one, smashing the camera of another and chasing after yet another one. Michael was grateful to Tony and thanked him profusely. It struck me as odd as I watched this, that Tony had not a scratch on him. He was not even out of breath. It was the middle of summer but he was not overheated or disheveled. Nor was he concerned about the possible consequences of destroying anothers' property. Tony was apparently not concerned about the likelihood that they would return and that maybe he should be making a call to the local authorities in the event that other members of the press would get word of Michael and Paula's whereabouts and would arrive in force. I had my doubts about Tony's story, but Michael seemed to believe him.
One of the photographers that day who was really hassling us was Frank Thorne who was later to write a degrading article about me and Michael in The News of The World.
We continued on to Sydney where the four of us were booked into the Hyatt on the Rocks. Paula had yet to meet Kell and Sue. Michael arranged for Christmas dinner in the Hyatt library. He was very specific, with his directions for a perfect day. During the meal Michael announced Paula's pregnancy to the rest of the surprised family members. We called Tina in Los Angeles and he gave her the news, knowing that, gossip from British newspapers would not have reached LA and the news would thus come as a surprise.
The only aspect that really surprised me about the news was that Michael was the one most surprised. Of course I congratulated him and wished him well, I thought he had survived a long, lucky, streak considering no other girlfriend had announced this news before. I was also surprised that it would be with Paula, who already had three other children, was in her late thirties and had still not completely severed her relationship with her husband.
Just a few days after Christmas Mother called to say that Paula had to fly back to London urgently as her girls could not join her in Australia because one of them was ill. It was not critical, but when a child is sick it is always serious to a mother if she is a zillion miles away. Mother had confided that Paula was feeling very depressed about having to leave summer in Australia as Michael had rented a beautiful home in Palm Beach in preparation for the children's visit, and now she would be alone in the London winter for New Years Eve. She suggested that I call Paula to give her my support and cheer her up.
I was a little hesitant, as so far we had only had phone contact and very little of that. Up till now, if I called Paula's home looking for Michael, she would never offer a semblance of polite conversation. She gave me the impression that she was much too busy to speak to me so I always felt that I was intruding. Also I was certain that she was not passing my messages to Michael. In the past, when I left a message for him to call, or faxed him, he would respond almost immediately. Now he never responded to messages I left with Paula. I became so unnerved by this that after they finally moved in together, I sent my faxes care of Paul Craig in his London office or asked his office to have him call me. Fortunately, Michael and Paula were not actually living in the same place for very long as even when he eventually moved some of his clothes over to Paula's, he immediately went on tour.
Still, I had yet to meet Paula in person and thought my mother's suggestion a very positive and appropriate move toward someone who was carrying my brother's child. Checking my watch, I put in a call to the London home right away as it was early evening there. Nanny Anita answered and after some pleasantries, she said she would tell Paula I was on the line. After a few seconds and muffled voices in the background, Anita returned to the phone, to say that Paula could not speak as she was reading a story to the girls. I thought that maybe she did not want to get caught up in a long phone call, so I asked Anita to pass on that I simply wanted to wish her happy new year. More muffled voices and Anita returned to tell me that Paula was still unable to come to the phone. I wished them all a happy and fulfilling New Year, and said I hoped that she cheered up soon. I left my office number and hung up.
I had an uneasy feeling after this. There was no doubt in my mind that Paula was brushing me off, especially when she did not return my call. I wondered if she was trying to control Michael's world, but dismissed the idea. How could this be possible? Why be so manipulative? What would be the point? But since Michael's death almost every one of his friends has said that they had the same feeling; he was harder to contact after getting involved with Paula and they were certain that he was not getting his messages.
But I decided not to allow my fear to fester. When I mentioned the call to Michael, he said "I think you're blowing this out of proportion Tina. You don't know Paula, she's actually shy. She has a fear of telephones. She hates them, she can't even order room service for herself." I was certain that the phone phobia was something Paula used when she simply did not want to take a call. After all it had not prevented her from making those calls to Michael when he was involved with other women over the years. That he could not see this was exasperating. In my mind I said to myself, ‘ooh brother, is she good' .
I thought about the English and Australian magazines mother had sent me, all featuring pictures of Lady Geldof in the most outrageous outfits and doing things like running through airports wearing tiny tee shirts and miniscule skirts topped off with a tiara in her hair. There were now breasts bulging out of see-through dresses as she walked around London . This was a thirty-six-year-old woman and I had difficulty marrying these images with that of a shy, retiring person. I continued to send messages and faxes through Paul Craig.
On January 16th 1995 Colin Diamond faxed Michael a 'memorandum of fees' - a bill for his services. It was for October 1st through December 31st, 1994 . It listed Polygram International Band Contracts, INXS Management Contracts, Chardonnay (Swiss bank account) and other related issues: US$9,275.00; Miscellaneous fees relating to AMP Services (Andrew Paul's company) 22 hours @ US$200.00 per hr: US$4,400.00; and fax, post, and couriers: US$1,500.00; for a total of US$15,175.00.
This bill was also sent to Michael's accountant, Andrew Paul and a hard copy to Michael's home in the South of France. As for Michael, my guess is that when he read the figures and addressed the details they might as well have been written in Hungarian. He assumed his interests were being protected and that there was no need for him to study the accounts closely.
Thus, much the same would have applied when, on January 19th 1995 Michael received a fax from Andrew Paul listing and accounting his current investments and bank accounts. Companies owned by Michael were listed, including, Leaguework (the villa in the South of France, the Mercedes Jeep, and the Aston Martin), Red Light Ltd. (an off shore bank account); Nexcess Pty Ltd. (the Bowling Alley in Labrador), Nextcircle Ltd. (the block of land in Southport); Citipak Ltd.(the London home); Chardonnay Investments (the account which held his royalties) various ventures, including a Merrill Lynch portfolio valued at US$5 million, and several bank accounts, fixed deposits and stocks held in various other companies. It ends with, 'please note that the standing order for Leaguework (the villa) (Ffrs40,000) is still being paid every month' . Paul also wrote:
‘The Aston (Martin) is now in France . As it is UK registered it is necessary to keep its licence in the UK (for tax purposes) and of concern to my mechanical mind is the car (being aged) is not left for weeks on end without being run, eg to keep batteries charged and engine in tune!
Kind Regards.' (signed) Andrew M. Paul .
It would seem that even though he had not been seriously directing his talents toward making money of late, Michael was still in a fairly comfortable position.
END CHAPTER NINE