"He went very strange." After Michael Hutchence was coward-punched, he immediately changed.

In August 1992, Helena Christensen and Michael Hutchence left their home in Copenhagen, Denmark, grabbed their push bikes and went out for pizza.

It was the most wholesome of date nights for the Victoria’s Secret model and her rock star boyfriend. There was no partying, no drinking: Just their bicycles and a pizza.

But their night would end in the hospital, with INXS frontman Hutchence sustaining a head injury that would change him for good.

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

Richard Lowenstein, a friend of Hutchence’s who created new documentary, Mystify: Michael Hutchence and directed a number of film clips for INXS, spoke to Mamamia’s podcast No Filter about that night in Copenhagen that many, including Christensen, believed was the beginning of the end for Hutchence.

“They were on their Copenhagen push bikes eating slices of pizza,” Lowenstein explained of the night Hutchence was injured.

“Michael was just there, motionless, not riding the bike, and unbeknownst to him there was a taxi that was trying to get through this narrow laneway from behind.  The taxi didn’t beep its horn or anything but the taxi driver just got out and walloped him from behind, like a coward punch, a king hit.

“Michael fell, still on the bicycle, and cracked his head on the curb of the sidewalk.”

When Helena turned around, she saw her partner on the ground with blood coming out of his nose and ear. She initially thought he was dead.

Helena Christensen Michael Hutchence
Helena and Michael in 1994. Image: Getty.

The taxi driver got back in his cab and left before an ambulance arrived and paramedics tended to him.


"The two paramedics start talking in Danish, ‘Oh, that’s that rock star, he must be drunk and off his face on drugs’," Lowenstein said. "[Helena] let them have it."

Once Hutchence regained consciousness in hospital, he immediately started ripping all the medical equipment off him and yelling "Get me out of here".

They allowed him to check himself out, perhaps thinking the same as the paramedic: That he was just a drunk rock star.

But he wasn't.

Hutchence was concussed, but Lowenstein said no one had the strength or seniority to hold him in hospital and tell him that no, he could not leave.

"My interpretation of that is that he was kind of a victim of the stereotype. He had the long hair, he looked easily recognisable and people just interpreted it as if he had had a fist fight with the taxi driver.

"The only person who knows [what really happened] was Helena. Michael would never let the truth get in the way of a good story so he would change the story. Sometimes it was a motorcycle in Thailand, but in reality, it was a very un-rock and roll scenario of an old Copenhagen push bike and a slice of pizza."

Helena Christensen Michael Hutchence
The couple in London in 1994. Image: Getty.

For a month, Hutchence was holed up in Christensen's apartment. He was vomiting, not sleeping and not eating, but still he insisted he was fine.

Christensen, 22 years old at the time and 10 years younger than her boyfriend, did not have the confidence to go behind his back and order him to see a medical professional.

Finally, he allowed her to get a doctor to the apartment to check on him – that doctor recognised the severity of his injury and immediately ordered him to get a brain scan.


In Paris, Hutchence got an MRI that confirmed he had an irreversible brain injury and had lost his sense of taste and smell.

When Hutchence arrived in Melbourne not long after, Lowenstein noticed an immediate difference in him.

"It was very obvious... Trying to have a coherent conversation with Michael was very different. It wasn’t a slow transition, it was just sudden," Lowenstein said.

"It was very obvious that after one beer, he went very strange. Totally unable to finish a conversation, obsessive conversations, repeated conversations, changes of subject very erratically in the middle of a sentence. It was very disconcerting."

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

In Mystify: Michael Hutchence, Helena described their relationship as a “perfect match” that was “joyful, sweet, deep and emotional”.

She put his deteriorating health and wellbeing in the final five years of his life down to the injury he sustained in August 1992. She believed the injury fundamentally changed his personality, revealing a "dark and very angry" side to the rock star.

"We got to the hospital and he woke up and was aggressive... they were trying to make him stay but he was physically pushing them away," Christensen said in the documentary.

Christensen described the change as quick and drastic. Three years after the accident the musician left her for British television host Paula Yates.

He died in 1997. An inquest found it to be suicide.

In 2002, Christensen told The Guardian she believed his death was a mistake.

"'I'm sure he never meant to do what he did. It was a terrible mistake. The first thing I'm going to do when I get up there [pointing skywards] is ask him, 'What were you thinking of?'".

Mystify: Michael Hutchence is available to watch on ABC iview now.

For more on this topic:

Sign up for our weekly "TV and Movies" newsletter. Every week, our Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik gives you a backstage pass to the best movies, TV shows and celebrity interviews.

00:00 / ???