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Not Since Yoko: The Unfortunate Marriage of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

If celebrities think that the media limelight is too bright in Hollywood, we hope that they never experience the media circus that is the British tabloids.  If the glare of cameras can be too bright in Hollywood circles, it can be overwhelmingly blinding when it comes to England.  Of course this isn’t necessarily true for all celebrities but if you are an internationally renowned legend, than all of the media attention can be particularly overwhelming.

In the 1960s, a foursome of Liverpool boys drastically changed the world.  They arrived wearing suits and with distinctive mop top haircuts and essentially legitimized this new type of music that the kids all loved called rock and roll.  They were The Beatles and although their music career together didn’t even last a decade, they are still arguably the most revered musical act today.  Their albums are considered timeless classics and they represented the shifting cultural changes that defined the 1960s.  As individual members, The Beatles achieved widespread adulation and despite their valiant attempts to protect their privacy, their personal lives have been subject to much public attention.

Although John Lennon felt the biggest brunt of this with his marriage to avant garde artist Yoko Ono in the 1970s, Paul McCartney would experience this in his latest marriage.  Whereas John Lennon’s celebrity marriage to Yoko Ono was one of the most polarizing relationships in history and Ono was often a subject of ridicule and scorn, Paul McCartney’s first marriage to Linda Eastman was widely praised.  Due to their commitment towards animal rights and their tight nature, the public adored the McCartney and Eastman union.

However, Linda McCartney would unfortunately pass away on April 17, 1998 after putting up a courageous battle against breast cancer.  Paul McCartney and the entire public were crushed and in many ways the hostility that McCartney’s second wife, Heather Mills, would face would be based on the sadness that was still felt by Linda McCartney’s death.

Nevertheless, Paul McCartney would slowly move on from the death of his beloved first wife by dating the former model and anti-landmines activist, Heather Mills.  News slowly surfaced of the burgeoning relationship in 2000 and the two would marry in a lavish ceremony on June 11, 2002.  However, this celebrity marriage was not meant to be and the ensuing events after their separation has made the Paul McCartney and Heather Mills divorce one of the nastiest celebrity divorces in recent years.  Accusations that Heather Mills was a gold digger who married McCartney solely for his money and the acrimonious negotiations for a divorce settlement has made the Paul McCartney and Heather Mills celebrity divorce one of the biggest stories in the world.

Born in Walton General Hospital in Liverpool on June 18, 1942, nobody could have predicted the extreme heights that James Paul McCartney would eventually climb in his extraordinary life.  The oldest son of Mary and James McCartney, Paul McCartney lived an austere life as England was still recovering from the ravages of World War Two.  As he attended school, Paul McCartney would meet future Beatles band mate George Harrison and developed an early passion for music.  At the age of 15, McCartney would see a local Liverpool band that would change his life.  It was July 6, 1957 when arguably the most influential writing tandem in history first met, as Paul McCartney met John Lennon.  From there, the lives of these two individuals would change in ways that nobody could have foreseen.

Viewed as one of the most influential and successful songwriting partnerships in history, Paul McCartney and John Lennon would be the main artistic engines of The Beatles.  Songs credited to Lennon and McCartney include such musical anthems as “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Yesterday,” “Help,” “Hey Jude,” and “Let it Be.”  The band of local Liverpool musicians that McCartney and Lennon would form would go on to become The Beatles, who successfully conquered the world with their positive messages about love and their hip attitude.  No other band has achieved quiet the same level of success and influence that The Beatles did and in many cases the individual members of The Beatles were not able to meet the success that they had while they were together.

Throughout it all, the cute Beatle has entered the record books.  The Guinness Book of World Records lists Paul McCartney as the most successful musician and composer in music history due to the fact that he has 60 gold discs and has sold over 100 million singles.  Although he didn’t meet the same level of success of the Beatles, his post-Beatles band, Wings, were one of the most successful musical groups in the 1970s.  While his former songwriting partner John Lennon would flounder through a series of personal crisis in the 1970s, McCartney’s life would become stabilized due to his marriage to Linda Eastman.

Paul McCartney was the last Beatle to marry.  He had met the American photographer Linda Eastman in 1967 but they would only begin to date in the next year.  After a brief courtship, McCartney and Eastman were married on March 12, 1969.  The two would have three children: Mary Anna, Stella Nina, and James Louis.  While there had been some initial public skepticism about a British music legend marrying an American woman who already had a child, the McCartneys would go on to become one of the most enduring celebrity marriages of their time.  The two played music together in Wings and reportedly spent less than one week apart throughout their entire marriage.

Known for her staunch activism for animal rights and her campaign to find a cure for breast cancer, Linda McCartney was one of the most beloved figures throughout the world when she eventually passed away on April 17, 1998.  The world was hit hard with the news and many people were worried about Paul McCartney who had been so devoted to his wife.  While many people realized that Paul McCartney would eventually have to move on, there were still surprised when the knighted Sir Paul McCartney began to appear publicly with Heather Mills.

Heather Mills has never had an easy life.  Born on January 12, 1968 in Aldershot, Hampshire, England, Heather Mills was subject to a particularly hectic household.  Her mother left when Mills was 9 years old, leaving the family to be raised by their abusive father.  Eventually, Mills’ father would be imprisoned and Heather Mills would relocate to London to be reunited with her mother.  However, this wouldn’t be a lasting union as Mills ran away from home as a teenager and found herself homeless.  It is this part of her life that has led to the surfacing of a number of malicious rumors about her activities at that time.

Nobody is ever going to accuse Heather Mills of lacking canny and business savvy.  What is known about Heather Mills teenage years is that she was able to use her business skills to find work and would eventually carve out a career as a successful model.  At the age of 19, Heather Mills would make the controversial decision to model in a series of photos that depicted her in a number of simulated sexual acts.  These photos would end up in the book “The Joys of Love” or “Sex Games.”  A year later, Heather Mills would get married to Alfie Karmal on May 6, 1989.  She would relocate to northern Yugoslavia in present day Slovenia to recover from an ectopic pregnancy.

While she was living in Yugoslavia, Heather Mills’ acute humanitarianism got its start.  Unnerved by the civil war that she was witnessing, Mills would take on modeling jobs as a way to raise funds for war refugees.  Additionally, Mills would work with a number of government agencies to establish important crisis centers, hospitals, and housing projects for people that were left homeless from the civil war.  Her social work would continue to this day as Heather Mills has worked tirelessly to oppose landmines, the fur industry, and seal hunting.  Her activist work would culminate in her being awarded the inaugural UNESCO Children in Need award and the 2004 Human Security Award given to her by the University of California, Irvine.

In addition to her social work, Heather Mills would have to overcome a serious personal tragedy.  In August 1993, a police motorcycle would hit Heather Mills causing serious damage to her ribs and her lungs.  To recuperate from this terrible event, Heather Mills had to have her left leg amputated below the knee.  She would wear a prosthetic leg and would later arrange for unwanted prostheses in the United Kingdom to be sent to the former Yugoslavia.

Despite the caring nature of her activism and the large number of personal struggles that Heather Mills had to overcome, she has still been dogged by a number of personal controversies.  Her first marriage to Alfie Karmal would end in 1991.  She would eventually enter into a serious relationship with the filmmaker Chris Terrill, which led to their engagement.  However reports have surfaced about her meeting Sir Paul McCartney and abandoning Terrill to be with McCartney just a few days before their wedding.

Regardless of the circumstances of how they met, Paul McCartney and Heather Mills soon entered in a serious relationship relatively quickly.  In March 2000, Heather Mills and Paul McCartney announced their love for each other and McCartney would eventually propose to Mills with a diamond and sapphire ring that he had obtained in India.  This high powered celebrity couple would have a lavish wedding on June 11, 2002.

The wedding was dubbed the wedding of the year and this celebrity marriage didn’t disappoint.  The wedding was held at Castle Leslie in Ireland and was a particularly lavish wedding.  The couple seemed happy with each other and Heather Mills would give birth to the couple’s only child together, Beatrice Milly McCartney.  While the couple seemed like they were happy and in love, this celebrity marriage would end up like many other celebrity marriages: divorce.

On May 17, 2006, the couple would announce that the two had separated.  This celebrity divorce became a particularly juicy subject for the British tabloids to speculate on.  Heather Mills was accused to be a gold digger who had only married Paul McCartney for his considerable wealth.  The Daily Mail would accuse Heather Mills of having an affair with her personal trainer, Ben Amigoni.  This was a claim that Mills would vigorously deny.  However, this would not be the end of media accusations against Heather Mills’ character.  The News of the World, a popular British tabloid, accused Heather Mills of being a prostitute during her teenage years and there were many other articles that questioned how effective Mills’ charity work was in the former Yugoslavia.

At this time, the celebrity divorce between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills has yet to be settled.  Mills has been particularly vigilant in fighting McCartney’s divorce case by vowing to fight this battle in both England and America.  Many people in the media strongly feel that this celebrity divorce could result in the largest divorce settlement in British history.  As this increasingly nasty battle continues, it is hard to not get caught up in the falling out of love saga between the former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, and his dashing model/humanitarian wife, Heather Mills McCartney.  This sad tale would definitely not have been a Beatles song!