celebrity

Michael Hutchence always wanted a family. But once he had one, his life quickly spiralled.

“Seriously, would you trade her in for Paula Yates?”

Those were the words plastered alongside topless Danish model Helena Christensen on the cover of British GQ Magazine in September 1995.

It was an affair of epic proportions.

After a chemistry-fueled interview on UK program Big Breakfast, INXS frontman Michael Hutchence cheated on his long-term girlfriend Helena Christensen with British rock journalist and television presenter Paula Yates.

The four women in Michael Hutchence’s life. Post continues after podcast. 

Immediately, the cheating scandal spawned a very public wrangle.

From Christensen’s infamous magazine cover to Yates’ public vilification of her ex-husband, Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof, the tabloids were awash with stories about the new couple.

But behind the scenes, Hutchence and Yates’ relationship was far from what the tabloids portrayed.

This month, new documentary Mystify: Michael Hutchence will delve into the life and relationships of the late singer.

Richard Lowenstein, who created the documentary and directed a number of film clips for INXS, spoke to Mamamia’s podcast No Filter about how Hutchence fell “very hard and fast” for the British television presenter.

michael hutchence movie
Michael Hutchence met Paula Yates while he was dating Danish model Helena Christensen. Image: Getty.

According to Lowenstein, following the divorce of Hutchence's parents, Kelland Hutchence and Patricia Glassop, Hutchence was drawn to the idea of a family.

ADVERTISEMENT

For Hutchence, the fact that Yates had three young children with Geldof – Fifi, Pixie and Peaches – was very appealing.

"Paula herself was an incredibly seductive, flirtatious, charming, charismatic woman," Lowenstein told Mamamia's No Filter.

"I can totally understand him falling for her – family or no family," he added.

"But she came with these things [her children], that a lot of people might say 'that's baggage', but to Michael, that was comfort. That was security.

"He fell for Paula, he fell for her daughters, he fell for her family. That in itself is a huge tumultuous tabloid media event because of the sanctification of Bob [Geldof]."

According to Lowenstein, Hutchence was also deeply attracted to Yates' social circles.

paula yates michael hutchence
Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates on Big Breakfast. Image: YouTube.

"She had ins to this wonderful British world of artists and writers and great lawyers. He didn't have a hope of getting in to that world," Lowenstein said.

"He had just been through the world of Helena and all those designers," he added.

"He lands on Paula and suddenly he’s there with Nick Cave, who he has idolised since he was young, and she’s best friends with Bono. It sort of blew him away.”

Four months after their infamous interview on Big Breakfast, Yates officially left her husband Bob Geldof for the Australian rock star.

In May 1996, Yates finalised her divorce from Geldof and on the 22nd of July that same year, Yates and Hutchence welcomed their first and only daughter together – Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence.

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite longing for a sense of family, it was a change in their lives that Hutchence reportedly struggled to deal with.

Watch the trailer for Mystify: Michael Hutchence below. Post continues after video.

"The first months when the practicalities of life came along, when the novelty wears off, Michael couldn’t handle that," Lowenstein told Stellar in 2017.

"Michael was never – not even in Paula’s wildest dreams – going to be that domestic person. When they were living close to Nick Cave he would say, ‘I’m going to see Nick...’ and do nothing but bitch about the missus and the family," he added.

"Anyone who thought Michael was going to be this tame, domestic hubby with the kids was just kidding themselves."

Just a few months after Tiger Lily was born, a nanny reportedly discovered a tube of Smarties that contained opium under the couple's bed.

"I was in the hotel room when the big scandal about opium was happening," Lowenstein told Mamamia.

"The opium scandal was that this housekeeper supposedly discovered a box of Smarties with two or three little balls of Opium in it under the bed, which was kind of strange because the bed was actually a futon on the floor," he said.

"[The housekeeper] goes to Bob, Bob goes to the police, the story goes to the tabloids and suddenly it’s already over the headlines. It was just so obviously planned – that the Opium was in reach of the children so then the children needed to be taken away from Michael and Paula," he added.

Paula Yates Peaches Geldof
Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence with Paula's three children. Image: Getty.
ADVERTISEMENT

“I’m not saying Bob planned it – I doubt that. I think the housekeeper decided she could make some money by selling this story to the press and that these two hapless people wouldn’t interfere with that.”

The couple claimed that the tube had been planted, but the next month Geldof gained custody of Fifi, Peaches and Pixie.

It's believed the custody agreement significantly affected Hutchence's downward spiral.

On November 22, 1997, Hutchence ended his own life in a hotel room in Sydney. At the time, Hutchence's daughter, Tiger Lily, was just 16 months old.

On the day of Hutchence's death, Yates was in court fighting for permission to take all of her children to Australia to be with Hutchence during a three month INXS tour. The judge refused.

Yates recalled walking from the courtroom and turning to her solicitor, saying, "This will kill Michael".

tiger lily hutchence 2019
Tiger Lily Hutchence in 2017. Image: Getty.

In June 1998, Yates' life fell apart even more when she lost custody of her three daughters from her relationship with Geldof. At the time, she tried to end her life but a friend found her and she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Two years later, after beginning an affair with a heroin addict, Yates passed away from a heroin overdose. She was 41.

Mystify: Michael Hutchence will be released in Australian cinemas on July 4.

For more on this topic:

00:00 / ???