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War of the Roses: the bizarre Shakespearean tragedy of Guns N' Roses

Ahead of their summer show here, Barry Egan tells the bizarre Shakespearean tragedy of supermodels, lorry-loads of drugs, epic tantrums, paranoia, beefs and betrayal that was Guns N' Roses

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Axl Rose with then girlfriend Stephanie Seymour. Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Axl Rose with then girlfriend Stephanie Seymour. Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

WireImage

Axl Rose with then girlfriend Stephanie Seymour. Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Axl Rose had written Guns N' Roses' most romantic ballad, Sweet Child O' Mine, about her. So, on October 10, 1989, when the heavy-metal king of paranoia accused David Bowie on a video set in Los Angeles of flirting with his model girlfriend Erin Everly, there was only ever likely to be one outcome. Axl punched Bowie in the face.

Despite the omens not being good, on April 28, 1990, in Cupid's Inn Chapel in Las Vegas, Everly and Axl were married. The bride asked for an annulment less than 48 hours later. Their marriage was officially ended in January 1991. "Erin and I treated each other like shit," Axl would later say. "Sometimes we treated each other great, because the children in us were best friends. But then there were other times when we just f**ked up each other's lives completely."

In March 1994, in a law suit that was settled out of court, Erin - whose father was Don Everly of legendary duo The Everly Brothers - alleged that her ex-husband believed he had within him the spirit of the dead Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham (Axl also claimed, allegedly, that "in a past life we were Indians and that I killed our children, and that's why he was so mean to me in this life.")