Once upon a time back in the 1980's there was a popular rocker named Bob Geldof (left). He sang with a band called The Boomtown Rats and played the leading role in the rock opera "The Wall". He was very British and fairly famous. He achieved superstardom status when he organized the 1985 Live Aid Concert, the first charitable mega-concert of its kind. The event was wildly successful raising over $140 million for the starving and impoverished in Africa. This success got Geldof knighted, made him an extremely powerful philanthropic force of nature, and earned him the unofficial title of "saint".
Meanwhile, Bob had a girlfriend named Paula Yates (right). They had gotten together back in 1976. She was (as my friend Julie would say) "wild as a deer" and a Boomtown groupie. Charismatic, extremely blonde, smart, beautiful, and the product of a troubled childhood, Yates was what Woody Allen would call a "...komikaze woman because she wants to crash her plane into you", the "you" in this case meaning, of course, the man of her choice. Yates posed for Penthouse in 1978 and proceeded to crash into Bob with a vengeance. She liked to dabble in drugs. Hey, it was the eighties. She even released a song that hit the charts, a cover of "These Boots were Made for Walkin'", the Nancy Sinatra hit.
Yates did eventually develop a solid career. With Bob's help, she became a music journalist and wrote a column called "Natural Blonde" for a British paper called the Daily Mirror. After that, she landed a hosting gig on a show called "The Tube" which was sort of the 1980's British version of American Bandstand. Yates was quite successful at this. Her relationship with Bob continued through her personal success and, of course, Bob's career continued apace.
In 1983, Yates gave birth to their first child, a girl they named Fifi Trixibelle. And, finally, the ultimate bachelor gave in and proposed. They were married on August 31, 1986. The star-studded wedding party included Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics and Simon LeBon of Duran Duran. I remember vivdly seeing the pictures that were published of the event at the time because of the bright red dress Yates wore. Isn't it sort of fabulous? I mean, it wouldn't be my choice but, dang, she is seriously pulling that off. That's the biggest version of the photo I could find, darn it.
Anyway, sort of surprisingly, motherhood transformed Yates. The couple went on to have two more girls, Peaches Honeyblossom, born in 1989 , and Pixie, born in 1990. Paula even wrote a couple of fairly successful books based on her experiences a a mother.
Paula did also continue her gig on The Tube. Bob developed another show that was strictly a vehicle for Paula called "Big Breakfast". The program was essentially a talk show that took place in a bed which Paula and the guest du-jour would playfully share during the inteview. The provocative show was a big success. In 1994 Yates fatefully interviewed Michael Hutchence (right), hunky lead singer for the rock band, INXS.
There just isn't any doubt about it, Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence fell madly, passionately in love almost instantly. Yates left Geldof in 1995 for Hutchence. The divorce, as you might imagine, was one of the nastiest in show business. It was played out on the front pages of the British tabloid press for years. Geldof, still in love with Yates, used all his considerable power and influence to retain custody of their three girls,. Geldof made visitation difficult for Paula, and the carping between Geldof, Yates, and Hutchence was vicious and seemingly unending.
As an aside, Hutchence, I have read in more places than one, is rumored to have been sexually insatiable. Reportedly up to and including joining the mile high club on a commerical flight EXCEPT he was in his seat at the time. His companion in sky crime? Kylie Minogue. Just thought you needed to know.
In July 1996, Paula Yates gave birth to Michael's daughter and they named her Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence, "Tiger" for short.
Sadly, in November, 1997, Hutchence was tragically found hanged in his Sydney hotel room (he was hanging from a door, a belt around his neck). The coroner would rule it a suicide. Yates was completely shattered and became obsessed with clearing Michael's death certificate of the word "suicide". Yates was convinced Hutchence was indulging in a type of maturbation that included cutting off one's oxygen supply to heighten the orgasm by hanging, and that Michael's was a case of accidental death. To make a bad situation worse, the distraught Yates also had to contend with Hutchence's family who began legal proceedings to try wrest custody of Tiger (and, coincidentally all of Michael's money) from Yates. Yates attempted suicide herself (by hanging), was unsuccessful, and eventually sought psychiatric treatment.
Despite seeking help, however, Yates would not recover. She had slipped into the habit of using heroin and drinking heavily. She accidentally overdosed at the age of 40 in September of 2000. Her lifeless body was discovered when a friend called to check on Yates and Tiger answered the phone saying her mother, "wouldn't wake up". Tiger was four years old.
Sort of incredibly, upon hearing of Paula's death, Bob Geldof sprang into action. Geldof made all of Paula's funeral arrangements, paid the tab, and then filed for temporary custody of little Tiger citing Tiger's, "need to be with her three half-sisters at this difficult time". Geldof's appeal was granted. Despite attempts by the Hutchence family, the orphaned girl continues to live with her half-sisters and to be reared by Geldof.
As recently as August of 2006, there have been reports that Michael Hutchence's mother continues to fight for custody of Tiger claiming the girl is "being raised by a succession of nannies" and claiming also that she has only been allowed to spend time with Tiger twice since Paula's death.
Geldof continues to decline comment.