Publication: Daily Mail 
Date Published: October 18, 1996 
By: Mary Keenan
Section: Pg. 40-42

  BEING married to a rock star is every young's girl's dream. You have the love of a man whom millions of women crave, you rub shoulders with the aristocracy of the pop world, you have the money, the parties, the glamour .

 . . But, as Jerry Hall will testify, being a rock wife also has drawbacks.

 Femail spoke to three other women who have lived a rock 'n' roll lifestyle to hear their experiences.

 Irish-born Victoria Clarke, a 30-year-old television producer, has been the partner of ex-Pogues singer Shane MacGowan, 38, for ten years. During that time, the rock lifestyle drove the daughter of an art dealer to two nervous breakdowns and thoughts of suicide. Now, she and Shane live in separate flats in North London. Victoria says:

 I MET Shane in London when I was 16 and he was 24. I was working for Sock Shop, he was working in a record shop. Nothing happened for four years but in 1986 our friendship developed into something more. 

 Shane isn't an obvious sex symbol but he is a lovely, talented person with nice eyes and a good physique.

 We shared many of the same interests - we both love 18th-century literature and 17th-century poetry. We once spent 13 hours in a restaurant just chatting.

 But it didn't take long for the realities of rock to intrude. The Pogues were becoming very successful and they toured America three times the first year we were together. In 1988, the band played 300 gigs.

 I imagined all sorts of goings on and my suspicions weren't allayed by the fact that Shane was very bad at telephoning when he said he would. If I called his hotel, inevitably he would be somewhere else, so I spent the whole time sulking or in a rage of jealousy.

 Of course, there were good things. Shane was always very generous, so I could afford designer clothes; there were celebrity parties and I met all the big names. But, if you are there as the other half of the star, it's an unreal experience. People just look through you. It's as though you don't exist.

 It's a great way to find out how big an ego you have. If you're content to be part of the wallpaper, then you're fine. Unfortunately, I discovered that I had more of an ego than I'd bargained for. I wanted attention, too.

 But the only time people talked to me was if Shane did something out of order. Then everyone looked at me as if I was his nursemaid and should have prevented it.

 Shane often behaved badly. He was very much a part of the drink and drugs culture and when he was drunk he did the most incredible things, such as painting himself with magic markers or lying down in the middle of London's Euston Road, screaming that the world was about to end.

 I didn't drink much, took no drugs and liked to go to bed early, so I always felt left out. I was convinced that the rest of the band and all the hangers-on hated me. It was pretty miserable at times.

 Then I heard through the grapevine that Shane had gone off with a groupie and I told him that it was over if he couldn't be monogamous. He wasn't keen at first but he agreed and asked me to come on the road with the band.

 In 1989, I gave up my job as a sales rep and flew to Australia, Japan and America with The Pogues. We travelled around in stretch limos and stayed in five-star hotels.

 At first, Shane seemed to lose interest in the groupies because I was there. But the final straw was finding him in bed with one at the Tramore Festival in County Waterford. I told him it was over, but I got a call the next day, saying that he had got himself into a terrible state, painted himself black and jumped out of a moving car. He was in a Dublin hospital.

 When I went to see him he was sober, contrite and said he was sorry, so I forgave him, even though we both knew it was unlikely that he'd change.

 He knew that the rock lifestyle, the band and his drinking were connected but he couldn't foresee a life without music. Even after he left the Pogues in 1990 and became ill with alcoholic hepatitis, he soon started another band and slipped into the same old habits.

 Being creative and part of the rock scene led him to push himself, his body and other people to the limits. I accepted that part of producing good music was to put himself through extremes.

 There were always dodgy people around, nothing was secure or certain and I never knew what was going to happen next. At first, I'd liked it but as time went on it began to unsettle me.

 In 1994 I went to live in Dublin to write a book. I'd become friends with Bono from U2 and he lent me one of his houses in Dublin. Shortly afterwards Shane arrived, too. We moved into a place of our own, but, although there were plenty of stars to hang out with, lots of parties and so on, we were both unhappy there.

 By then I'd realised that my life and my career - I'd started writing celebrity interviews for newspapers and magazines - were totally tied up with Shane's. I felt trapped.

 I'd set out to save him from himself and it hadn't worked. I also saw that looking after him was a way of not having to think about my life, my problems or where I should be going. I was living a life that many people would have killed for, but I had none of the satisfaction of feeling that I'd earned it myself.

 Shane's drinking was as bad as ever and I'd had enough. I decided that, if I couldn't beat him, I might as well join him and I went off the rails.

 I'd take three or four temazapan - a strong tranquilliser - washed down with a bottle of champagne and maybe a line of cocaine. I'd go to a party, black out and have to be carried home. I think I was having a nervous breakdown. I thought about suicide and I'd walk in front of cars, not caring if I lived or died.

 Towards the end of that period, Shane and I had a huge fight in his dressing room at the Tramore Festival, in front of Bob Dylan and his roadies. I was bashing Shane around the head with my handbag and Bob was laughing his head off. Then I got very drunk and we broke up - unofficially - for a few months.

 We ended up back in London and lived together for a while but I had another nervous breakdown and had to move out. I couldn't function and live with him. I like quiet, space, light rooms and tranquillity. Shane likes dark walls, the blinds drawn, cigarette smoke in the air, and a crowd of people watching violent videos at all times of the day and night.

 Once I had my own space, I decided to write about what I'd been through and finished my book, Astral Weekends, in less than a year.

 I'd been exploring all sorts of spirituality as a way of finding some sort of contentment and that's what my book is about - me looking for enlightenment against the background of lots of people getting drunk, taking drugs and doing mad things. It's with several publishers at the moment.

 Then I moved into televison and I've just come back from India after researching a programme idea. I have a real sense of myself now, apart from Shane, although we're still very much together.

 Shane has calmed down quite a lot. He drinks in moderation, has a  band called The Popes and he's recording a Christmas single.

 He still tours and sometimes I go with him. It's much more civilised now.

 After a show we go to a restaurant. Once Shane was managing his own band with no one telling him what to do - even I had given up - he pulled himself together because he wanted to.

 We do love each other dearly and we've talked about marriage. But we'd need a house big enough to contain both our lifestyles.

 SHARON OSBOURNE has been married to rock star Ozzy for 14 years. They have three children: Aimee, 13, Kelly, 12 and Jack, ten. Sharon, 43, works as 47-year-old Ozzy's manager, masterminding his career from their 110-acre property in Buckinghamshire. She says:

 OZZY wasn't the first star I'd encountered. When we met in 1979 I was working in celebrity management and Black Sabbath, his group at the time, was just one of the clients my company dealt with.

 I started working closely with Ozzy and we ended up spending 20 hours a day together. His marriage broke up - which was awful, because he had a son and a daughter he loved - and we started seeing each other in 1980. We married in 1982.

 Ozzy was an alcoholic when I met him but I didn't realise it. When he was sacked from Black Sabbath in 1980 because of his drinking, I saw it as an opportunity to take his career in hand and make him a financial success.

 I went on tour with him from the start. We were broke for the first three years of our marriage and we spent the whole time on the road.

 'It was exciting at first: Ozzy and I were a team. I didn't notice that his drinking was out of control.

 Celebrity parties and being on the road were no problem for me because of my experience working with other artists. There were always executives and lawyers there that I could talk to, but when the star is your husband it can make things a little difficult.

 Groupies are always a problem with male stars and I've never been one to stand for any nonsense from them. Initially, I felt insecure but as Ozzy and I became closer, with the children and the deepening of our work relationship as well as our physical relationship, I became more confident.

 Now, I'd kill anyone who tried it on with my husband and I have come to blows with several fans.

 When the children were little, we all went on tour. I've had three toddlers under five on the road and it was a nightmare. What they needed was a secure environment but what they got was constant change. We had a run of ear infections, colds and sore throats, but I had to do my best while managing Ozzy at the same time.

 Although I was used to the way the music industry worked, there were certain record executives who just wouldn't take me seriously as his manager. In those days, the industry was run by middle-aged men who wanted to keep women out of the way. Once I was married to Ozzy, they expected me to play the air-head wife, but that wasn't me, so I came in for quite a lot of abuse.

 All the while, Ozzy's drinking was getting worse. He was also taking drugs. But although I considered leaving him, it was never really an option because I loved him.

 He went to a total of seven clinics, including the Betty Ford Clinic in America for six weeks in 1989. He loved it there and I had high hopes that he had finally beaten his addiction.

 I was so excited the day he came home. He walked through the door at noon but by 2pm he was drunk on the floor. I wept with rage.

 We both knew that the fact that he was a rock star was at the root of his problems. Creative people are different from others - they're more fragile.

 But I knew Ozzy couldn't give up his music. It was his life.

 He'd scream that he hated me and that he was leaving, but when he was sober again he'd be my loving husband once more, he'd apologise and promise to try harder.

 About a year after he was treated in America, Ozzy hit his lowest point.

 He woke up one evening after a day's drinking and decided that he wanted to kill me. I managed to reach one of the panic buttons we'd had installed as a security measure, and the police came and arrested him. He ended up in court and the judge put him into another treatment centre.

 Amazingly, out of that disaster came a miracle. He stopped drinking and he has never returned to his old ways. Since then, life has been much easier for us.

 Ozzy's audiences tend to be overseas, in America, Canada and Japan, and he is on a 15-month world tour at the moment. We speak to each other about 20 times a day by telephone and I've just been to see him in Chicago.

 He loves being at home and he'll never go on tour for so long again. When he's here, he doesn't leave our land. He walks our five dogs, goes camping in our woods with the children and plays the loving dad and husband.

 Ozzy is an older man now, a more mature man. He still has great stage presence and he's happier with himself and his life.

 The rock industry could have ruined our marriage but, by working in it as a team, we've managed to survive.

Angie Bowie, 46, was married to pop superstar David Bowie, 48, for eight years during the Seventies. On their divorce, she received a settlement of £300,000 and she later wrote two books about their bisexual, drug-fuelled lifestyles. She now lives in California where she is a performer in her own right. She has a 16-year-old daughter Stasia from a relationship with punk musician Drew Blood. She and David have a 26-year-old son Joe, christened Zowie, who is a student in America. She says:

 I'M FED up with people assuming that I must have had a glamorous rock 'n' roll life with David. The truth is, I worked like a dog and it was no party being on the road for 30 or 40 days at a stretch.

 When I met David I was 18 and studying marketing and economics at Kingston Polytechnic in Surrey. He was a singer-songwriter and I wanted to be an actress.

 He wanted to marry me but told me he didn't love me. I said I felt that I did love him but I was sure that I was kidding myself. Marrying him was advantageous to me because, as an American citizen, it meant I didn't have to keep leaving the country.

 I didn't have to look for a job either. I started marketing David and I think I did a pretty good job. He was a wonderfully talented person and I did all I could to further his career.

 It was a marriage of convenience. We had a pact that we would work on his career first and then mine. As he started to become more successful, the stress began to tell. He started doing a lot of cocaine and I soon realised that the only way to handle his drugs lifestyle was to get involved with it myself.

 We were flying all over the world, staying in good hotels, being ferried around in big cars but it wasn't luxurious - it was just about getting from A to B in the most efficient way. We didn't have time to enjoy it. Everyone would be tired, tempers frayed and it took its toll on relationships.

 David wanted to write and perform, he didn't want to travel, but he found that you had to do that to be a success. It was hard on him.

 You think limos are glamorous? David and I did a whole American tour in one and it was hell. If there's more than three people in there - and there were - there's room for just one person to lie down and it has to be the star. It's terrible for everyone else. The next time we opted for a bus, which was far more comfortable.

 After months in foreign hotels, the whole scene would get everyone down.

 Things which seemed amusing at first - different food, strange television programmes - became annoying. The food made us ill, the differences in lifestyle grated on us. I used to try to book a suite with a kitchen and I'd cook so that it was a bit more like home.

 David didn't like flying, which made things difficult, so once we sailed to America on the QE2 - it was the best way to get where we were going. It was good and we arrived relaxed.

 As for groupies, I never bothered about them. David and I had an open relationship and I was glad that these people found him attractive. I'd worked hard to make him into this figure that they adored so I could hardly complain.

 We had an agreement that we could do what we liked with whom we liked and that there would be no jealousy. I told him that I would never divorce him and I meant it.

 The marriage broke up before he signed a big deal with EMI and I can see why he didn't want to get involved with that while I was still around and could have asked for half of it.

 I've taken a lot of criticism for leaving our son with David. But the truth is I realised that, the way his life was going, having Zowie around was the only thing that would keep David alive.

 David and I don't talk now. I still have respect for him as an artist but a lot of things have happened between us.

 I don't miss the rock 'n' roll lifestyle - it's good to be managing my own career instead of someone else's, and I don't even mind about the money any more. Sure, a settlement of $ 10 million would have been nice - it would have taken me a little longer to spend it.

 * ROCK Wives will be shown on Channel 4 on Saturday at 11.55pm.

©Copyright 1996 Associated Newspapers Ltd.
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