Four months after Michael's death, I had a surprise call from Paula. She had arrived in Sydney, courtesy of Channel Seven, with Colin Diamond, Belinda Brewin and Andrew Young. She began by announcing how furious she was with Tina for telling the world that Michael was not intending to marry her and was, in fact, about to leave her. She rambled on and on in a rage. I attempted to interrupt but she continued to rake over the same old ground. I said that she knew Tina had told the truth, that we all knew. She changed the subject. Why didn't I call her in Sydney during the week of the funeral? She screamed 'I'm the mother, I'm the mother.' When I told her I had been informed by Martha during the week of the funeral that she did not wish to speak with me. She replied that she did not give a damn about what Martha said. We talked about the incident at the Mondrian Hotel and she denied that she had ever told me never to contact her again. Suddenly she became soft and sweet as she said that she wanted to stop all of this and that she wanted Tiger to know her Grandmother, that Michael would want it. I could certainly agree with that. We discussed the prospect of getting together, she gave me her departure date and phone and fax number and told me to call. We exchanged further words, then the conversation neared its' end.
Then, in an instant mood swing, typical only of Paula so far as I can recall, out of a lifetime of living and working with highly intelligent extroverts, she resumed her rant about how furious Michael would be with Tina for what she had said in the press. I repeated that everybody agreed that Tina had told the truth, that he was never going to marry her. She was so furious at this, that she did not want to continue the conversation. For the first time I realised that it appeared to me that she was slurring her words and sounded in fact, very drunk. Suddenly she said 'Oh please Patricia, let's not talk about anything else when Michaels' ended up hanging on a doorknob' and then she hung up. I was stunned and appalled by this statement. It seemed that every time I wanted her to face the truth she changed the subject using cruel shock tactics.
But I did desperately want to see Tiger and attempted to fax Paula to set up a time for me to go to Sydney. She had given me a wrong fax number, so I called Quay West where she was staying and and got put through to her suite. She said that she would find the correct number before putting the phone down. Seconds later Martha came on the line. We talked a little, mainly about Tiger, and she said that she had been in town for about five days on INXS business. I suspected that she was working on something to bolster Paula's image. Paula never did come back to the phone. I obtained the fax number from reception and sent a message that I would like to come down the following weekend. I then called Mandy, as I had read where Paula was denying to the press that a christening would be taking place: this was usually her way of inviting the press. I asked Mandy if she was going to a christening for Tiger Lily, and she said she would be there and mentioned it was Monday or Tuesday but she wasn't sure as it was being kept quiet, adding that Belinda would be calling everybody. I thanked her very much, mentioned that I had not been invited and hung up.
The next evening Belinda called to ask if I could come down sooner as they were leaving that weekend, inquiring if I was attending the christening. I said that I had not been invited. She gushed that Paula was supposed to have sorted this but must have forgotten. I agreed that she was quite agitated when we spoke. Belinda said that it would be a small affair, only about forty people. They were sending cars and she offered to send one to the airport. I accepted her invitation with apparent joy. Actually I couldn't imagine how I could keep my composure after all that had gone on; it would be easier to swim through a swamp full of snakes. But neither could I stand to miss my granddaughter's christening.
Ross refused to go. He is a very tolerant man but could not forgive Paula for not inviting us herself. But he was nonetheless unhappy about me going alone. Over the next couple of days Joanne and I discussed the idea of her accompanying me and thought it an excellent opportunity to confront Colin Diamond and possibly even serve him with a writ. She joked that she had a fabulous powder blue suit with a huge matching hat, which could be fitted with a tiny surveillance camera. So far nobody seemed to have a photograph of Colin Diamond.
There was an extremely unflattering article about Colin Diamond in the Sydney Morning Herald the following day. Before I could finish reading it I had a call from Paula who spat something very nasty indeed into the phone. She insisted that Tina and I had given information and how dare we! It was obvious that she had not read or understood the piece, which was an expose of Michael's business affairs and nothing to do with us. We could not understand why she was so upset about an investigative reporter, questioning Colin Diamond's business practices after all, there was nothing derogatory in the story about her or Michael. She reiterated that Michael would never leave her. I had taken enough, I repeated that he had left her and he had done it a long time ago in Los Angeles where he had been seeing someone else. Paula was not fazed, she agreed that Michael always had others and slammed the phone down as usual.
Ten minutes later Belinda called me to check where I would be staying for the christening. I could not believe this, it was like having a conversation at the 'madhatters tea party'. I replied that I was intending to make my own way to the church. But Belinda could not now remember where it would be taking place. I said that I would check back with her in the morning to confirm the location. After, I was called by a trusted journalist friend who informed me that Paula had sold the christening story to a U.K. publication for £100,000. The journalist said an Australian magazine was offering $20,000 for a photograph inside the church. They were prepared to pay for my accommodation and flight expenses, provide a picture ready camera and give me a cell phone to contact the person I was to pass the film on to if I could get one picture to scoop Paula. I did not care for the money nor did I have the courage to carry this off.
Rhett had been invited to the christening of course, and we had been keeping up a relationship if only through Zoe. I mentioned the offer to him, to my surprise he decided to go for it. He had already been angered, by being told that there were to be no photographs taken, even by family, at what was purported to be a special occasion for Michael. I told him to think about this before making any decision and if he did decide to go through with it, he must be extremely careful.
The day before the christening Paula called me in another rage, and we had a regrettable exchange. clearly under the influence of something. She launched into her familiar tirade about how Michael would never have left her, therefore he did not commit suicide. I said she must face the fact that he had taken his life, that with great pain we had accepted this and so must she - in order to move on. Paula responded with a disgusting remark about my being jealous of her because I never got to sleep with him. Who would say something like this? Paula always did have a way with words.
She made one call after another and I left my answering machine on. I took the final call when she said she was going to harm herself and take Tiger with her. I would never see Tiger again and this would be on my head. She also said that she had a famous human rights lawyer in her suite. I asked to speak with him and she then replied that he was in London. Her statements were anything but logical, her behaviour, erratic. I called Joanne as I couldn't handle it.
When I heard the tape of these conversations with Paula I decided that she truly needed help. The fact is they were on tape because my mother, had forgotten to turn her answer machine off. Placing aside the fact that my mother was still in the early stages of grieving, I could not understand how Paula could say these things to the grandmother of her child. Mother eventually left the answer machine on and refused to pick up her receiver as Paula made several similar calls throughout the day – to me in California as well as to Mother. Each message sounded more deranged than the last. Finally she threatened to harm herself and Tiger Lily. We could hear Tiger crying in the background. Mother was tormented, she wanted to call the police and was afraid that the media would get word of it.
Agitated that she could not reach me, Paula made a call to my office manager, who took a message from Paula. 'I have a famous human rights attorney sitting in my room along with five other attorneys, and they have decided that she and her mother are in an issue of human rights against Tiger Lily. She had best call me immediately if she ever wants to see Tiger again.' Again my niece was crying in the background and she was slurring her words. Formally, we requested that we not be harassed, suggesting we discussed setting up a time for some visitation with Tiger Lily, if that's what was being proposed. Our solicitor was on the phone to notify me that the faxed letter had been sent when she was interrupted by a call from Paula. Tiger was crying in the background. After denying she had made any phone calls to us, she flew off in a tangent referring to both Mother and me as 'your pig clients'.
Even after this Mother received another threatening call from Paula. Again she announced that she was intending to end it all and take Tiger with her. This was something she had threatened Michael with, saying it would all be his fault if she went through with it. Now she was doing it to his family. She sounded extremely upset and Mother was concerned for her well being as well as Tigers'. Panicking, Mother phoned the police and begged them to please look into it and to keep it confidential - they promised to take all precautions, but it was leaked to the press. Better that, however, than the danger of the police not being aware of the situation.
By the time the authorities relayed the message to Sydney and got someone from the Child Endangerment Department around to see Paula it was three hours later on the day before the christening. The minders, Belinda, Colin and Andrew Young were taking care of the happy baby Tiger Lily. The authorities never insisted on seeing Paula. Two days later Andrew Young went to the police station and told them the problem was that Michael's mother was calling Paula and harassing her over the will . Paula later released a story confirming this.
The night before the christening she called Michele Bennett and asked her over for a meeting at the Quays. She told her that Michael would want her to see his daughter. It all began very friendly, with Paula finally asking Michele about the events of November 22nd. Paula wanted to know if Michael had said that he loved her. Michele assured her that there had been nothing romantic between herself and Michael in the past ten years and told Paula what she thought she wanted to hear: that as far as she was aware Michael had loved only Paula. Upon hearing this a presumably happy Paula became aggressive and intimidating. Paula bellowed to Michele "You think you were special, none of you were, he slept with everybody”. She began throwing back champagne and boasting of her drug indulgences. Bafflingly, she said that but for her children Michael would be with her. Belinda, who was in an adjoining room, ran in when Paula's voice rose to screaming pitch and the obscenities became worse. Tiger, the tiny little toddler, cringed and looked on as the scene unfolded. The visit only lasted approximately thirty minutes, and the next day in the church Paula walked past Michele without so much as a nod of the head.
One week later Paula told a journalist that Michelle had been loving and supportive as they had spent the whole day together before the christening and that it had been so comforting to see her in the church.
Rhett decided to take the magazine's offer of $20,000 for one shot inside the church . Mother had made it clear that as long as he was bound to do it, we were desperate to get a picture of Colin Diamond while he was about it. We didn't have one, and we wanted to be able to identify him for future reference. The news organisation sent the camera and extra film to his hotel room, for him to take on to the ceremony. It was a tense day as I waited for word on Rhett's' sleuthing. We were hoping that he would get a good, clear snap of the elusive Diamond. Rhett had been calling Mother and lately, always asked about me saying, 'Give Tina my love.' I think it was hard for him to pick the phone up and call me himself. I could never stop loving Rhett and as Michael's lyrics go, ‘there is nothing said that cannot be undone', I knew it was just a matter of time before we would speak again.
When we finally heard from him, he was scared. He had gone through with it and handed over the film, signed the contract and even talked them into allowing him to keep the equipment. He said that Diamond had some serious people taking care of security and even removed some film from his camera but this was after he had given the crucial film to his contact. He was worried about the fact that he did not notice other people with cameras in the church, so he could easily have been identified. He did not want the photographs to be on the front page and requested that one picture, a group shot not be used-as he was obviously not in it, having been the lone photographer.
He was so scared he broke down. I was very surprised to hear this as Rhett has been known to take some huge chances with his health, his freedom, and even his life. This was not a gangster movie, but it felt like one to him. Sometimes I have to remind myself that although my younger brother is a tall man, with tremendous physical presence, he is inherently fragile and not too practical. It says something about him and his character that for whatever reasons, Rhett has barely worked in the conventional sense and hasn't had to learn how to deal with life's realities as most people have.
He did not tell us immediately about the remarks Colin Diamond had made about our mother. Later he said that he had a meeting with Kell and Diamond at DB's Coffee Shop on Knox Street during the week of the christening. During this meeting Diamond expressed his anger toward any legal action that Mother might bring against the two executors. According to an affidavit signed by Rhett, Diamond's comment was, 'I would like to slit her effing throat and she's not getting an effing cent'. Rhett said that he found his remarks threatening not only to Mother but to himself as well, which is saying something for Rhett. Kell later verified this.
Mother assured Rhett that there were other cameras in the church. She called the editor of the magazine to explain Rhett's position. The editor advised her that she understood his alarm there was a photographer lying in St Vincent's hospital with possible spinal damage due to an incident at the same occasion. The photographer claimed that he had been shoved backwards, smashing his head on rocky ground. The editor called Rhett and advised him to have a large gin and tonic. Mother told him to switch hotels. He was also feeling pangs of guilt over making money from Tiger's christening, but Mother reminded him that others were making much more and others still had made plenty of money off Michael's back over the years. He would have been a lot happier knowing that Rhett received the cash as opposed to a photojournalist stranger.
Rhett told Mother that during lunch at Mezzaluna Restaurant he placed his camera on the table in front of him and Colin Diamond himself walked by and snatched it up pulling out the film. But he had already dropped off the precious film. Fortunately, he did get some clear photographs, which were printed in the following edition of the magazine.
Rumours did fly about Rhett taking money away from Paula and Tiger. This was so unfair I had seen photographs of Paula leaving designer shops holding packages, and on vacations, and thus assumed she was keeping her head above water. Besides, if Diamond was complying with Michael's wishes there was no need for panic over Tiger's immediate future. I had still not heard Paula complain about the executors' holding things up or trying to keep monies out of the estate, so I could only assume that she was being taken care of. Anyway, she was purported to have sold the nineteen posed photographs they took after the christening to OK! Magazine for a tidy sum. Reportedly the family was supposed to receive some of these official photographs. None of us ever has.
Mother heard from our friend Hiraani who had been at the christening. She said that the ceremony took all of ten minutes without a word from a family member or even an INXS member. Michael's name had not even been mentioned. She reported sadly that when the guests moved to the Mezzaluma for the luncheon they were told to wait before sitting down as Paula was downstairs having photographs taken with Tiger for the magazine. Two hours later Paula appeared in a different outfit, with a tired and cranky Tiger. Just as they were about to eat she said she was tired and left them to finish their lunch. 'It had overtones of a rent-a-crowd' she said. The evening newspapers in Sydney reported that not only was the christening ceremony over in record time but that the baptism certificate had been left on a pew in the church. They published a photograph of the certificate in the paper. Among the godparents listed were Belinda Brewin, Martha Troup, Josephine Fairley, Andrew Young and Colin Diamond. Knowing my brother as I did, I am certain he would have chosen at least one close friend or family member to be godparent to his child.
Another nasty story appeared in a Sydney newspaper and was repeated in London. The ‘feuding Hutchence women' were again taking food out of Tiger Lily's mouth. Mother called Mandy who informed her that Belinda Brewin, who had stayed on in Sydney after the christening, had called Rhett's house repeatedly. She told Mandy that this story was only a small part of a much longer one in which Paula had something nasty to say about each one of us. They planned to release a little at a time. I was so very tired of it all.
On December 31st, 1998, Erin's twenty-one-year-old friend Linda from the defunct Bedlam Spiral was found dead, apparently from an overdose. She was on her way to New York to seek fame in the music industry. Ten days later her mother flew back to Los Angeles with her body and she, along with Linda's brother, arranged a funeral. About two hundred people attended, mostly under twenty-five. It was an emotional service. Afterward I walked over to a small group of Linda's friends including my daughter, and without exception they all told me that the service was, all wrong. They were all upset that they had not been consulted on the music and eulogies, they were angry. I surmised that their anger was misdirected and they were confusing it with the pain of losing a good friend. What was Linda's grieving mother and brother to do, cut off in their pain from those friends closest to their daughter and sister? Did any of the kids approach her mother? I asked. Erin knew exactly what I was referring to. It was a lesson in life and death.
By late April, Paula had made an attempt at suicide and was reportedly in a clinic. We were concerned for Tiger's welfare but had no idea who her nanny was since Paula had fired Anita after she had discovered the drugs in 1996 and the nanny who had gone to London with Michael at that time had returned to Australia. Through friends I found out that it was a joint effort between Belinda and a succession of temporary or part-time of nannies. I sent a fax to Bob Geldof's attorney, requesting that he call me in relation to Tiger's whereabouts and well being if he could.
Attn. Sir Bob Geldof; Re: Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence
Recent events surrounding my niece' mother have lead me to contact you
in an effort to gain some insight into the well being of Tiger. Surely as a caring parent -and I can tell you are -you can understand my angst. Naturally I am concerned, should I be? Contrary to the understanding Ms. Brewin has of the action being taken against my brother's executors - this action was brought about especially for Tiger Lily and her mother. We have never, ever disputed the terms of Michael's will. I may be contacted on the above numbers at my home in California.
Two days later Geldof's attorney called to inquire on the exact nature of my request. I explained as best as I could. Next day when I picked up my phone I heard, 'Tina? Bob here'. It was a very satisfying, if bittersweet, ninety minute call. I wished that I had made that call twelve months before. Bob filled in many of the missing pieces after confirming that Paula was in rehab. He proved to be an extremely sympathetic ally in those early days - after all he needed information too. He was still locked in a custody battle with Paula. He really likes to talk, he will go on and if you are cut off he calls back. He called back at least twice in that first conversation. He actually told me things about his ex-wife that I wish I had known much earlier. I desperately wished I had be armed with this information twelve months before. He understood about the 'stories' she told. He said that she had once told him something about his sister that made him cut off communication with her for six years.
In the ensuing months he kept us up to date on Tiger's activities. He gave me his private number and encouraged me to call any time. Sometimes he would be walking down a busy street, or in a meeting, at a restaurant or on the way to the airport but he always took my call. It meant so much to Mother and me to have this link with Tiger's world.
Once when Paula was visiting the Geldof girls who were now in Bob's care, she noticed my name and number on Bob's desk. She took the number to Belinda who called, blasted some obscenities and told me to stop calling her 'good friend Bob', threatening me again with, 'Or you'll never see Tiger again'. She said that Bob had complained to her that he wanted no more calls from me. With great strength, I laughed into the phone and hoped that it sounded genuine; it was the only thing I could think to do when barraged with the obscenities. When she hung up I called Bob who said he had not even spoken to her in months. He told me to tape her calls because she would deny them. Shortly after Joanne had a letter from Paula's attorney asking if she was still representing me. She replied that she indeed was and asked if it had anything to do with the harassing calls I had received from Paula and Belinda and asked if we could now talk about some visitation with Tiger Lily. There was no reply.
On April 16th 1998 I received an eight page fax containing copies of letters sent to the attorneys acting for Colin Diamond, Andrew Paul and the trust companies in Hong Kong and Queensland, Australia, representing Michael's holdings in Britain, France, and Australia. A press release read:
HUTCHENCE RELATIVES LAUNCH ACTION AGAINST EXECUTORS OF ESTATE
Patricia Glassop and Tina Hutchence, the mother and sister of the Late Michael Hutchence, have commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of Queensland in relation to his Estate.
In the proceedings, in which the Executors, Colin Diamond and Andrew Paul, have been joined as Defendants, Mrs Glassop and Ms. Hutchence seek orders for the administration of the Estate including the furnishing of accounts by the Executors.
They also seek declarations that certain assets held by the other corporate Defendants were in fact beneficially owned by Michael Hutchence at the time he died and that these assets form part of his Estate available for distribution to all Beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of his will.
The Defendant companies are registered in Queensland, the United Kingdom, France and the British Virgin Islands and the assets include properties on the Gold Coast, London, France and various bank accounts and other assets held by companies in the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.
Notice of the Writ has been personally served on the Executor, Andrew Paul, in Hong Kong on Thursday evening. The other Defendants are in the process of being served. Letters have been forwarded to solicitors acting for Colin Diamond in both Hong Kong and on the Gold Coast requesting that they accept service on behalf of Mr Diamond or that they advise of his whereabouts in order that he can be personally served with the Writ.
Well, this was what we had been waiting for. I sat next to my fax machine and read the pages over and over. Andrew Paul had been served. We still had a long road ahead of us but it was a start. There were copies of letters to the other beneficiaries Greenpeace and Amnesty International inviting them to join us as Plaintiffs. Amnesty International did join us. The best part of the fax contained copies of letters addressed to both Rhett and Kell, inviting them to also to join us in the proceedings. A unique approach at setting about mending a family divided. Michael would have savoured that.
END CHAPTER FIFTEEN