It was also around this time that Von Teese met Manson. A
long-time fan of her work and a member of her website, the famed
shock-rocker initially approached Von Teese by inviting her to dance
in one of his videos. Although she refused, the two stayed in
contact. In 2001 Von Teese arrived at Manson's 32nd birthday
party with a bottle of absinthe, and that, as they say, was that.
By 2005 the pair were engaged and happily nested in a secluded
mansion in the San Fernando Valley, where they lived surrounded by
Manson's collections of Nazi uniforms, a foetus in a jar named
Ludwig and a taxidermied baboon sitting on a rock with an erection.
'I had all the faith in the world in our relationship for the
seven years we were together. I loved him very much, and when I
married him I completely believed it would be forever.' She
pauses. 'But that's not what happened.'
So what did happen? The afternoon I meet Von Teese at the Chateau,
she drops some hints. There is a lot of talk about her new digs in
Hollywood (complete with a silver-satin upholstered bedroom designed
to look like 'an enormous jewel box') and how nice it is
to have 'some peace and quiet for a change'. There is the
comment about how she wasn't able to have any of her things
around her at her old house, and the even odder aside: 'I
basically lived with Mommie Dearest for six years,' a comment
on which she wouldn't be drawn. But the picture remains hazy
until Von Teese calls from Seoul.
Manson, she says down the line, has a party lifestyle that she
found impossible to live with. 'It was difficult, because I was
trying to get him help for his problems, and eventually I realised
that he didn't want help. I wasn't supportive about his
partying or his relationship with another girl, and as much as I
loved him I wasn't going to be part of that.' After the
wedding the relationship went into sharp decline, according to Von
Teese. 'Everything went downhill after we got married. I
started working a lot to escape my home life.' Manson, she
says, lapsed into depression.
There was also an alleged infidelity. Indeed, in his Rolling Stone
interview, Manson dropped a lot of hints about having a new
relationship. His new album, he said, 'was clearly written to
seduce somebody'. He attributes his musical revival to a close
friend's gesture of devotion. 'She picked up a
butcher's knife and said, "Here, you can stab
me,"' he says. 'When someone was willing to drown
with me, I really didn't want to drown any more.'
The interview clearly cut Von Teese to the quick. 'He says
how depressed he was. I get the impression he thinks I was
unsupportive,' she says. 'But the truth is I wasn't
supportive of his lifestyle, and someone else came along who
was.' Von Teese issued Manson an ultimatum, and, she says
sadly, 'It didn't work. Instead, it made me the
enemy.' She decided to move out on Christmas Eve, essentially
empty-handed. 'I left with nothing. I knew that there was an
inappropriate relationship going on in it, and I didn't want
any part of it around to remind me. I didn't want that sofa. I
didn't want that bed. I didn't want the knife you read
about in the article.'
I ask her how things are going for her now. She pauses and then
says, 'You know, I read a lot of biographies and
autobiographies, so I know I'm not the only person who's
gone through something like this. Millions of people have gone
through this; millions of people go through it every day. I know
I'm not alone. I know I'm going to be OK. I'm having
fun focusing on my work and decorating my house and reconnecting
with old friends.'
Recently, Von Teese has allowed herself to be set up on several
blind dates by friends. 'I figure I have a better chance being
introduced to somebody through a friend than I do meeting someone in
a bar or on the internet,' she says. And though she
'isn't ready for another relationship yet', she is
hopeful. 'I know I'll fall in love again.' She laughs
a sad, bright little laugh. 'And I know that I loved him
[Manson] enough to try and help.'