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Paula Yates: Celebrity beset by tragedy

Paula Yates was a celebrity with a taste for the high life.

The daughter of British television presenter Jess Yates, she grew up to develop a celebrity lifestyle of her own, attracting fame, fortune, and a succession of popstar partners.

Her marriage to Bob Geldof, and her subsequent relationship with Australian rock star Michael Hutchence, was combined with a successful television career.

She was a presenter of the TV music show the Tube in the early 1980s, and in the 1990s became an interviewer on the successful morning show The Big Breakfast.

Her nine-year marriage to Geldof, the man who instigated huge famine relief ventures in aid of Africa in the 1980s, foundered in 1994 when she became involved with Hutchence.

A bitter divorce battle followed in which she lost custody of her three children with Geldof -- Fifi Trixibelle, 17, Peaches Honeyblossom, 10, and Pixie, seven.

Then came the most devastating blow of all. Hutchence -- with whom she had her fourth child Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily in 1996 -- was found dead in a hotel room in Sydney in late 1997.

She said at the time: "He was the love of my life, the man I wanted to spend the rest of my days with."

Describing her torment to friends, she said she slept with her lover's ashes, and she told one friend she would be written about as "a suicide blonde."

The following year there were reports that she tried to hang herself, but was saved by a friend who found her slumped in the bedroom of her London home.

She was barely conscious and had a noose around her neck. The reports said it was a suicide attempt in a bid to copy Hutchence.

She was to suffer three further blows to add further burdens to her fragile state.

The Australian parents of Michael Hutchence began a fight over custody of their granddaughter Heavenly.

A coroner recorded a verdict of suicide on Hutchence, a verdict she rejected saying he died accidentally in a sexual experiment that went tragically wrong.

Then she learned that the late broadcaster Jess Yates was not her biological father. It was another well-known television presenter, Hughie Green. The discovery was said to have traumatised her.

Miss Yates was born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, in 1960. She met Geldof in 1977 and they married in 1986 soon after he inititiated the Band Aid and Live Aid efforts by leading pop stars to counter famine.

In a recent magazine article, she spoke optimistically of the future and said she was beginning to put her life back together again.

In June, Yates finally reached a settlement with Hutchence's family over the singer's estate.

Neighbours around her home in London’s fashionable Notting Hill spoke how she was frequently seen out with her daughter Tiger Lily and had appeared cheerful and friendly.

Her solicitor Mark Stephens, who handled her divorce, said: "She was a vibrant personality, she lived life to the full. She epitomised the rock and roll life style.

"Her children were the real passion of her life. She would quite often be at home with them rather than going to the opening of an envelope, as some people did.

“The blow of Michael's death hit her for six, it took all her energy to come back from that. She's now with the man that she loved, hopefully she'll be at peace."

From CNN.com Europe



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