Thursday 19 January 2017

Break-up left Bob broken-hearted and suicidal

ALISON O'RIORDAN

Published 17/07/2011 | 05:00

Musician and activist Bob Geldof has spoken out about seriously contemplating suicide in the wake of his heart-wrenching marriage break-up with Paula Yates.

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"You get to a point where you say what am I hanging around for. I really don't want to wake up another morning with this existential sense of loss, where universes collapse, where there are oceans of grief and chasms of loss.

"I don't want that anymore, how long does this go on. And your brain goes you don't have to, you can check out anytime. It's as cold as that and that becomes dangerous," said the 59-year old in an intense one-on-one interview with his close friend Gay Byrne.

Together as a couple for 20 years, Geldof and his rock journalist wife Paula Yates had three children before she left him in 1995 for Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS, whom she had met several years previously.

"I loved her very much. It came out of the blue for me. I suppose I should have seen it coming, but you don't. I thought a broken heart was a metaphor for distress, I didn't understand it was literally, physically that. The pain in my chest was unbearable," said the former Boomtown Rats frontman.

The Irish singer and songwriter reveals that when he was at his lowest he made a list of reasons to live and reasons not to.

"This one day I woke up and I had been crying in my sleep, I think that is so odd that your soul is so destroyed that it weeps when you are unconscious. I had drawn up a list of pros and cons. The cons were at least a page long; the pros were two words 'The Kids'. That was the only time I really considered (suicide), very seriously," said the international activist.

Comparing his heartache to a "Shakespearean tragedy", he firmly believes that two people died in his marriage break-up.

His main concern was to protect his children but he reveals how some of his daughters have been "more damaged than others" by their experiences to date, including their mother's accidental heroin overdose in 2000.

"They have had to live through extremes that nobody could imagine, I promise you nobody could imagine and go to school and have it plastered all over noticeboards. The fact that they came through it, some a little more damaged than others, is a testimony to how great they are. They are great girls. I love them," said the humanitarian about his three daughters Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches and Pixie and adopted daughter Tiger Lily.

The zany musician's traumatic and unhappy childhood is touched upon. After his mother Amelia's untimely death at 41, when Geldof was only seven, he was often left to fend for himself as his father Robert travelled around the country selling towels for a living.

"It was not fun for me. The conditions were just wrong. My mum died very early and my dad sold towels around Ireland so Monday to Friday we were left to our own devices. My oldest sister got out pretty quickly as she didn't want to be a surrogate mum, then my middle sister was the family swot and she stayed in school 'til late as there was no real reason for her to come home. So I would be there by myself and no, I didn't like it," adds the Band Aid hero.

An emotional Geldof declares his regret at upsetting his late father who died in August last year at the age of 96. On a more light-hearted note, the free-speaking Bob does drop Gay the F-word but he laughs it off.

Geldof, who will be 60 in October this year, ended the interview on a positive note with the story of how he first met his French actress girlfriend Jeanne Marine and how he has since found love and peace with her. They currently reside in Battersea, South London with daughter Tiger.

"I registered this beautiful woman but I didn't want to know. She found something lovable in this most unlovable man at that time."

For One Night Only -- Bob Geldof, Friday, RTE One, 9.35pm

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