New to motherhood and having just written her first novel, the late Paula Yates gave an exclusive interview to IMAGE in 1993, just seven years before her untimely death. Here she speaks about raising daughters Fifi Trixiebelle, Peaches and Pixie and ‘summering in Kent’ with husband Bob Geldof.
On her own parents:
“Both of my parents were consumed by their own lives and their problems, which were myriad and fascinating, but not conducive to a child’s wellbeing. My mother didn’t really look after me. I was looked after by just anyone who happened to be around.
Although my father was a fairly crappy dad, he became a fantastic grandfather to my children. This enormously diminished my own feelings of anger towards him and we became very close. He died earlier this year and we all felt very cheated, the kids were besotted with him and we miss his funny stories and accounts of all the peculiar people he had known.”
On visiting Ireland:
“The kids love going to Ireland. Next time we’re staying in the Shelbourne Hotel – the children are so excited. It’s got large chintz curtains on everything – including the toilet.”
On falling in love with Bob Geldof:
“When I first met him I thought he was a bit rough. There I was in Oxford surrounded by gilded youths, all of whom were keen to emulate Sebastian Flyte, when Bob turned up, I was fascinated because I couldn’t place him.”
“Irish people in England in general do benefit from the fact they can’t be pigeonholed in terms of class.”
“Most women with young children who work are crucified with guilt. Twenty years of feminism have only won women the right to do it all, not have it all. I am not against working mothers, I’ve always worked and I have a nanny but I would like mothers to get a better deal… Whenever I say these kind of things and make what I think are valid and important points, they get fudged under a deluge of ‘oh, it’s alright for her’-style comments. The mentality of the schoolyard takes over.”
“I do The Big Breakfast Show because the hours allow me to be at home to look after the kids. When Bob’s away I go to bed at seven with the kids, but when he’s home I stay up til about nine to be all grown up and vampish. I wouldn’t consider any other kind of telly. The director would be trying to get one take after another and I’d just want to stab him in the heart and get out of there to go home.”
On her career:
“I’m not one of those people with a passion for work. I feel a great sense of relief when I’m not working. I do all this because I’m saving up for my retirement fund. I can probably keep this up for another year but I don’t want to be doing this when I’m thirty-five.”
On married life:
“I’ve never looked at another man – why should I when I’m married to Bob? Also, I don’t believe in divorce and that makes you try much, much harder…”
Hannah Popham @HannahPopham