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Paula Elizabeth Yates (24 April 1959 – 17 September 2000) was a British television presenter and writer, best known for her work on two iconic television programme, The Tube and The Big Breakfastmarker.

Early life

Born in Colwyn Baymarker, North Walesmarker, she was brought up in a show business family. Her mother was Elaine Smith, a former showgirl, actress and writer of erotic novels, who used the stage names Helene Thornton and Heller Toren. Until late in her life, Yates believed her father to be Jess Yates, who was known as "the Bishop" and presented the ITV religious programme Stars On Sunday. Yates and Smith were married from 1958 to 1975, though Yates was 16 years older than his wife and their marriage was unconventional. Jess Yates was sacked from his job in 1974 because of scandalous newspaper stories about his private life.

In an unsettled childhood, Yates attended school at Penrhos College, Ysgol Aberconwymarker. The Yates family ran the Deganwy Castle Hotel for a time, before moving to a large house in Rowen, Conwymarker. After the break-up of her parents' marriage in 1975, Yates lived mostly with her mother, including periods in Maltamarker and Mallorcamarker where she was a pupil at Bellver International College, before returning to Britain.

Career

Yates became a fan of the Boomtown Rats and their lead singer, Bob Geldof, with whom she became involved and who fathered her three daughters. She posed naked for Penthouse in 1978, just before she became a music journalist, writing a column called "Natural Blonde" in the Record Mirror. She first came to prominence in the 1980s, as co-presenter (with Jools Holland) of the Channel 4 pop music programme The Tube. She also appeared alongside friend Jennifer Saunders in 1987 for a spoof 'mockumentary' on Bananarama.

In 1982, she released a version of the Nancy Sinatra hit song "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'".

After the birth of her daughters, Yates wrote two books on motherhood.

Yates continued with her rock journalism, in addition to being presenter of cutting-edge music show The Tube. She became most notorious for her "on the bed" interviews on the show The Big Breakfastmarker, produced by Geldof. On 27 October 1995 Yates appeared on the quiz programme Have I Got News For You and repeatedly clashed with Ian Hislop. Yates referred to Hislop as being "the sperm of the devil".

Personal life

Yates met Geldof in the early days of the Boomtown Rats. They got became a couple in 1976 when she flew to Paris to surprise him while the band was playing there. Their first daughter, Fifi Trixibelle, was born on 31 March 1983. After 10 years together, they married on 31 August 1986 in Las Vegas, with Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran acting as Geldof's best man. The couple then had two more daughters, Peaches Geldof on 16 March 1989, and Little Pixie Geldof on 17 September 1990. Pixie is said to be named after a celebrity daughter character from the cartoon Celeb in the satirical magazine Private Eyemarker, itself a lampoon of the unusual names the Geldofs gave to their first children.

Many people still erroneously think that Yates and the INXS singer Michael Hutchence first met during the infamous interview on the Big Breakfastmarker bed in October 1994, but Yates had interviewed him as early as 1985 on Channel 4's The Tube rock magazine programme. They had maintained an irregular contact during the interceding nine years and their love affair had been underway long before the Big Breakfast interview. In 1995, Yates left Geldof for Hutchence. Geldof and Yates divorced in May 1996. Two months later Yates's daughter with Hutchence, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence (known as Tiger) was born on 22 July 1996.

On 22 November 1997, Hutchence was found hanged in a hotel room in Sydney. Yates became distraught, refusing to accept the coroner's verdict of suicide. She eventually sought psychiatric treatment. Yates never entirely recovered from losing him, and even attempted suicide. In June 1998, Bob Geldof won full custody of the couple's three daughters. Meanwhile, she battled Hutchence's mother Patricia Glassop and her daughter Tina for custody of Tiger Lily.

Yates's dispute with the Hutchence family over Michael's estate saw her struggling to bring up her daughter. While battling grief and problems with addiction, she was also in an extremely difficult financial situation. Yates resorted to selling her jewellery in order to pay bills, including the three amethyst rings Geldof gave her after the birth of each of their daughters. She downsized to living in a small mews house in the years prior to her death, but also purchased a second home in Hastingsmarker.

While fighting for custody of Tiger, it was reported in the media that Jess Yates had not been Yates's natural father. A paternity test proved that the quiz show host Hughie Green, who died six months before Hutchence, had in fact been her natural father.

In his memoir Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins (2006), actor Rupert Everett revealed that he had a six-year affair with Yates.

Death

On 17 September 2000 Yates was found dead at her home in London, the same day as her daughter Pixie's 10th birthday, at the age of 41, of an accidental heroin overdose. The coroner ruled that it was not a suicide, but a result of "foolish and incautious" behaviour.

Soon after her death, ex-husband Bob Geldof assumed a foster custody of Tiger Lily with the willing consent of Hutchence's parents, so that she could be raised with her three older half-sisters, Fifi, Peaches and Pixie. In 2007, Geldof further applied to a British court for and was granted formal adoption of Tiger Lily and a change of her surname to Geldof, despite vocal opposition from Hutchence's mother and sister. Since January 2008 her full name is now legally Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof.

Several people have written books claiming to know the truth about Paula Yates, including her estranged mother Helene Thornton, half-brother Christopher Green, and one-time manager and friend Gerry Agar. On 2 April 2008, a TV drama about Hughie Green's life, Hughie Green: Most Sincerely, was broadcast on BBC Four. It focused, in its later stages, on Green's apparent fixation with Yates, whom he knew to be his daughter, once she had become a television star.

Books

Paula Yates was the author of several books, including:
  • Rock Stars in Their Underpants (1980)
  • A Tail of Two Kitties (1983)
  • Blondes (1983)
  • Sex With Paula Yates (1986)
  • The Fun Starts Here (1990)
  • The Fun Don't Stop: Loads of Rip-roaring Activities for You and Your Toddler (1991)
  • And the Fun Goes On: A Practical Guide to Playing and Learning with Your Pre-school Child (1991)
  • Village People (1993)


References

  1. Deaths England and Wales 1984-2006
  2. These Boots Are Made for Walkin'
  3. Fifi Trixibelle Geldof IMDb listing
  4. [1]
  5. Bob Geldof at Astrodatabank
  6. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/suicide-threats-of-paula-yates-drove-hutchence-to-kill-himself-634539.html
  7. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/929725.stm
  8. BBC - h2g2 - Paula Yates (1960 - 2000) - Author and TV Presenter
  9. Gerry Agar - Paula, Michael and Bob, Pub. 2004
  10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/hughiegreenmostsincerely
  11. Paula Yates: TV star killed by heroine binge | UK news | The Guardian
  12. BBC News | UK | Heroin overdose killed Yates
  13. Mother objects to Geldof Adoption of Tiger Lily


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