15 Years Ago: Paul McCartney Marries Heather Mills
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills were married on June 11, 2002, on the grounds of a remote castle in Glaslough, Ireland. Unlike that romantic and intimate affair, their four-year marriage ended as one of the most historically public and volatile divorces on record with Mills receiving more than $30 million in a settlement.
McCartney and Mills met at a charity event in May 1999 and began dating a couple months later. McCartney’s previous marriage of 29 years came to an end on April 17, 1998, with the death of his wife and mother to his three children, Linda, who had lost her long battle with breast cancer. Mills claimed to have counseled McCartney through his grieving and restored his confidence to resume touring.
It was initially reported that the couple sought to end their marriage as amicably as possible and that their main concern was for the well being of their daughter, Beatrice, who was 2 at the time. This stance took a drastic turn when McCartney filed proceedings citing Mills’ unreasonable behavior; accusing her of being argumentative and rude to his staff.
The remainder of McCartney’s allegations were kept private — unlike Mills’ response to his divorce petition, which was highly publicized. Among her various claims, she accused McCartney of physical and emotional abuse as well as suggesting that he abused drugs and alcohol during the course of their marriage.
Following the damaging reports from his estranged wife, McCartney stated that he would “vigorously and appropriately” defend himself against the allegations. McCartney’s entourage then released quotes from his 2005 world-tour DVD, which included praise from people like President Bill Clinton, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Disney Chief Executive Roger Iger and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder.
Both McCartney and Mills hired attorneys who were involved with the divorce proceedings between Princess Diana and Prince Charles. This brought an increased amount of unwanted attention to the already highly publicized divorce.
After several attempts to reach an agreement over a settlement and a confidentiality clause that would prevent Mills from speaking or writing about their four-year marriage, the case was sent to the court of appeals, which then turned the somewhat private discussion into a public free for all.
In the end, Mills, who sought an award of more than $150 million, exited the marriage with more than $30 million. Mills was reported saying that she was “very, very, very, pleased” at the sum that she received and would use it to secure her and her daughter’s futures, as well as support her many charities.
After the settlement, the official judgment was publicized, with the judge stating that he was “driven to the conclusion that much of [Mills’] evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall she was a less than impressive witness.” Mills, who often spoke about the divorce, said of her public image, “I’ve had worse press than a pedophile or a murderer, and I’ve done nothing but charity for 20 years.”
McCartney refused to issue a statement at the end of the trial, but he did offer that “It’s been suggested that she married me for the money, and there is not an ounce of truth in this.” No doubt he just wanted to move on. In 2011, he married Nancy Shevell, whom he had been dating since 2007.
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