Pattie Boyd: I burst into tears when George died. Was I right to leave him?
20th August 2007
The Daily Mail
In the final part of her gripping book, Pattie Boyd recalls her struggle to adapt to life outside the world of rock 'n' roll - and how she was shattered by George Harrison's death
It was hard to go from being a rock star's wife, with someone to take care of everything, to being an ex with nothing.
Leaving Eric Clapton's Surrey manor house for a tiny rented flat in London in 1987 was a comedown, but my self-esteem was so low I didn't question it.
I had been an alcoholic's carer for so long that I had forgotten how to live for myself.
I was ignorant about the practical, everyday things that everyone else took for granted. I didn't know I had to buy a tax disc for my car, or a television licence. I didn't know about water bills or rates, and I'd never paid an electricity or telephone bill.
Pattie Boyd, pictured today, loved George Harrison deeply, but experienced 'incredible passion' with Eric Clapton
It had been 25 years since I'd sat on a bus or found my way around the Underground, but after I was arrested for drink-driving and banned for a year I had to use public transport.
I had to ask a friend to show me how it worked: stations and ticket-buying had changed since the Sixties and I was frightened to go alone, afraid people would wonder why I was travelling on the Tube.
My confidence was shot.
Every journey was a trial. At every station enormous posters of Eric would be staring at me from the walls, up and down the escalators and along the tunnels. I would go into shops and they would be playing Eric's music and the tears would start to flow.
I felt as though I was losing my sanity.
Meeting friends for lunch, I felt as though I was in a bubble: I had nothing in common with their world of husbands and children. I could hardly speak, and if anyone spoke to me I was lost for words and the tears would come.
I thought alcohol might dull the pain, and cocaine ease the depression, but all they did was make matters worse.
I was having a breakdown.
I was grieving - not just over the loss of my marriage to Eric but finally, after all these years, the loss of my marriage to George Harrison. I had gone straight from George to Eric without taking a breath, and had always wondered whether I had done the right thing.
One day I picked up the phone and rang an old friend from my modelling days, Amanda Lear. She was Salvador Dali's muse and living in the south of France.
"Amanda, hello," I said.
"It's Pattie. I used to be Pattie Boyd." "You still are!"
"Oh - am I? I suppose I am."
The process of building myself up again, reconstructing a degree of self-esteem, was slow. I went to parties where people didn't want to talk to anyone unless they were going somewhere fast.
It was the late Eighties and the idea of someone like me saying to them with a big smile, "No, I don't do anything" was not what they wanted to hear. I felt useless, as though I had been in a dream all these years and had achieved nothing.
Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison lark about not long before George died
I was friends with a property developer called Rod Weston. He had recently split from his fiancee and embarked on a series of disastrous affairs. He would chat through each one with me.
When Phil Collins invited me to the premiere of Buster in 1988, I invited Rod. He was comfortable to be with - and he was very good-looking. He came with me to many other parties, and afterwards he occasionally came back to my flat. I'd go to bed and he'd be asleep on the sofa in the morning.
Then one night, after about a year of this, when we got back to my flat
I said: "Come on, come to bed."
Almost the next day he started to move his clothes in. I didn't say anything because it was nice to have him around.
With Rod in my life I felt better about myself. He's nine years younger than I am and when he was growing up, Julie Christie and I had been his idols. I felt as though I was slowly crawling out of a dark hole and it was wonderful to feel the warming rays of the sun on my back.
But curiously, for about three or four years after Rod and I started seeing each other, I dreamt about going back to Eric. It was bizarre to have the same dream in such detail like that over so many years.
I gave up my London flat and we spent weekdays at Rod's place in Kensington and weekends at the West Sussex cottage Eric bought me in 1995.
Rod liked to drink, but his capacity didn't come anywhere near Eric's. It was social drinking - and Rod was social every day, usually at lunchtime and in the evenings.
He had a huge number of friends and between us we had more invitations than we could possibly accept, but Rod wanted to go to everything. At first it was fun. I loved going out, meeting people, but when we had done that every night of the week in London, I began to feel I'd like a rest at weekends.
He wanted big lunch and supper parties. Much as I adore cooking and entertaining, by the time we went back to London I was worn out.
My relationship with him eventually ran its course.
He was getting angry with me over the slightest thing and was drinking far too much.
I once said to him: "I hate the way you get drunk. I have lived with an alcoholic. You're just like Eric."
Rod just smiled. He thought I was complimenting him.
I had grown up at last.
That was not the life I wanted any more. We argued for weeks until finally I said: "That's it. I don't want you to come to the cottage any more. We're no longer going out together."
I didn't want to cut him out of my life, just change the nature of our relationship. And it worked. We're still the best of friends.