Just days before Michael Hutchence died, he was planning to leave Paula Yates.

From the moment Paula Yates draped her legs over Michael Hutchence’s lap during a flirty television interview in 1994, the chemistry between them was palpable.

INXS frontman Hutchence, who was still in a relationship with model Helena Christensen at the time, and music journalist Yates, who was married to Sir Bob Geldof, soon struck up a relationship – becoming, to this day, one of music’s most iconic couples.

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Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates on Big Breakfast. Image: YouTube.

They went on to have a child together; Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence, or Tiger Lily as she is most commonly known, who was raised by Yates' ex-husband Sir Bob Geldof after the death of both of her parents.

Yates was found dead in her London home at 41, just three years after Hutchence died in 2000, following an accidental heroin overdose.

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


But just weeks before the rock star died from a suspected suicide, it seems the undeniable chemistry the world saw in the now-famous interview clip wasn't enough to sustain a relationship.

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

New documentary, Mystify: Michael Hutchence, delves 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.

He said the fact that Yates had three young children with Geldof – Fifi, Pixie and Peaches – was very appealing to him, until reality sunk in.

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

"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."

Richard Lowenstein, who created new documentary Mystify: Michael Hutchence, speaks to Mia Freedman about Hutchence's relationships. Post continues after podcast. 

According to his sister and his band mates, the INXS frontman was so unhappy in his relationship, he was considering leaving Yates.

Michael's sister Tina opened up to New Idea last year about their dwindling relationship.

She also said Yates' reaction to Michael's death – claiming it was not suicide, but rather a sex act gone wrong – was "creepy".

Tina went on to speculate that the outlandish suggestion came from Yates being unable to handle the fact that Hutchence was suffering from depression and unhappy in their relationship.

“She [Paula] could not face the fact that she wasn’t enough [for Michael],” Tina told the publication. “He didn’t want to live for her. She just couldn’t handle it that he’d leave her.”

In Tina's book, simply titled Michael, she described Paula as “the worst possible partner Michael could have chosen at the time”.

“I just found her to be quite unusual,” Tina wrote.

“She would tell stories…that I knew not to be true.

“I felt there was something wrong with her. And it wasn’t until later that I started reading up and I found that she had a borderline personality (disorder).”

Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates. Image: Getty.

The comments echo those of Michael’s former INXS bandmate, Kirk Pengilly, who appeared on Channel Seven's Sunday Night in 2014.

During the interview, the musician said he had been harbouring the secret of Hutchence's relationship dissatisfaction for 16 years.


"Just prior to his death, that week or so – what he told me, he had a plan in place to basically split up with Paula," Pengilly said.

"That's what he told me, you know. It's all very personal stuff, it's a long time ago now, too, you know. I don't want to dwell on it."

Pengilly went on to discuss his thoughts on Yates, who infamously exclaimed in a busy restaurant that Hutchence enjoyed strangling her during sex while speaking to police about his death.

Similarly to Tina's reflection, former senior detective Mark Smith believed the outburst came from her refusing to believe the that he had killed himself intentionally, news.com.au report.

Pengilly suspected that when Yates first met Michael, she had been planning to "get him" for quite some time.

"It seems that perhaps Paula had a kind of a mission from a long time ago to get Michael, you know. And maybe he just couldn't, he couldn't get out of her web."

In the same Sunday Night segment, fellow band member Tim Farriss recalled that Hutchence was "angry and agitated" shortly before he died. Yates had called him from London to say she, her three other daughters and Tiger Lily would not be coming to Sydney after a custody hearing was adjourned.

Farriss said Hutchence had been trying to get them all to join him in Australia for some time.

Geldoff  – knee-deep in the custody battle with Yates at the time – was reported to have received a threatening message from Hutchence hours before he died, Sunday Night reported.

"Michael hated Bob in the end so much," Farriss said.

"To think that he would end up as the sole parent of Tiger Lily would have been the most horrific thing he could have imagined.

"But luckily for Tiger, she had Bob in the end."

Geldof eventually won custody of Tiger Lily and her half sisters after Yates died. He formally adopted Tiger Lily in 2007.

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Tiger Lily Hutchence in 2017. Image: Getty.

The five surviving members of INXS to this day pinpoint an acquired brain injury as the beginning of Hutchence's declining mental health.

Hutchence was holidaying in Denmark in August 1992 with his then girlfriend Helena Christensen when a taxi driver coward punched him. Hutchence fell to the pavement, fracturing his skull and losing his sense of taste and smell.

The band's Los Angeles-based bassist Garry Beers – who also appeared on Sunday Night in 2014 – said Hutchence wasn't the same after the head trauma.

"He was a dick and it wasn't him, that's the thing. It wasn't the Michael we knew and that's what was so surprising. He couldn't smell, he couldn't taste, he was drinking wine by the bottle 'cause it was just like nothing to him."

Farriss similarly said Hutchence was more aggressive after "that knock on the head".

The band members of INXS have been criticised by Hutchence's half-sister, Tina, for their participation in the biopic INXS: Never Tear Us Apart.

She says the television movie tainted the family's reputation, and turned Hutchence's life into a soap opera.

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

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