ANT - I'VE HAD THREE STALKERS AND TWO NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS BUT LILY
HAS SAVED MY LIFE
HAIR-ERASING ADVENTURES OF EIGHTIES POP
ICON ADAM ANT
by: Christine Smith
reprinted with the
kind permission of Christine Smith at the Mirror.
ADAM Ant walks into the bar wearing a tall black
hat, blue shades, leather coat and a Spice Girls T-shirt. I get
the picture: This guy is in a league of his own. What follows
does nothing to diminish my first impression of a man who, in
my (humble) opinion, remains one the world's natural stars.
I will certainly
never forget my afternoon with the 80s king of the new romantics
- who is planning a major comeback after years in the wilderness.
What sets this 47-year-old former heart-throb apart from any other
celebrity I have met is his remarkable frankness. No subject is
taboo with glam pop legend Adam - real name Stuart Leslie Goddard.
We are supposed to be discussing the singer's return to the stage
as part of a revival tour next year, when he will wear those wacky
clothes , apply that famous white, striped make-up and become
again the Dandy Highwayman.
Then Mr Ant will churn out his collection of 22 smash-hit singles
(Prince Charming, Stand And Deliver, Ant Music etc, etc).
still sing 'em all. That's why Adam became a world-wide superstar.
But we don't seem to get onto the subject of his career with any
real success. Instead, we talk about sex, condoms, paedophiles
Adam readily volunteers deeply personal information while lounging
back on a leather sofa and smoking a Cuban cigar. He is drinking
water. Booze will come later, he assures me.
- who took up alcohol a month ago on his 47th birthday after a
23-year break - drinks strong beverages only after 3pm. It is
2pm. Sitting in the American Bar of London's Stafford Hotel, we
are on the countdown. In 60 minutes, we can drink. But why did
Adam stay dry for so long? "I got sh*tfaced on New Year's
Eve in 1978 with Kenny Morris out of Siouxsie And The Banshees.
"Two bottles of vodka, I laid face-down on the bed. My dad
had a problem, his dad did... and my friend was horrified. I decided
there and then to give it up. "But finally on my birthday,
I had another drink. Why? My daughter Lily made me realise I should
loosen up, live a bit." LILY, Lily, Lily. Adam is a besotted
father. Although he split up with Lorraine, his second wife, shortly
after Lily's birth four years ago, he still sees his daughter
nearly every day at his London home.
Lily is his raison d'etre and the reason why he has successfully
fought a life-long battle against manic depression. Adam is very
open about "his illness", as he refers to it."Depression
is a taboo," he says. "I hate taboos..."
ago Adam suffered a nervous breakdown and checked himself into
a clinic for three months. He admits he was finding it hard coming
to terms with the fact that he was no longer famous, no longer
the man idolised by millions.
"It was a very terrible thing," says Adam. "People
think you are nuts and I just did not want to know. So I went
into a clinic. The brain is cut off. I thought I was going to
die. The stress... But it's hardly surprising if you've been through
the kind of life I have.
"People weren't buying as many records. My record company
did not want me. I went through three record companies, went on
tour at the wrong time. It destroyed me. It is not nice when people
come up saying: 'Didn't you used to be Adam Ant?' I do have a
pulse, you know. But I got through it all." Since then, Adam
has had regular check-ups. He reckons his last visit to a clinic
was two years ago.
"I am off the medication now," he says. "And being
a father has ultimately pulled me through. I won't get depressed
again. I have to be around to bring Lily up. She has saved my
life in every way. "
He reminds me this was not his first breakdown. He fell into a
terrible depression back in 1975, aged 21, just before he shot
At the time, his one-year marriage to Carol Ann had collapsed.
He says he tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose. "It
was a cry for help. I took some tablets. They knocked me out for
10 minutes but luckily the ambulance came. I don't feel ashamed,
though. I have suffered from depression for most of my life. It
is an illness."
As Adam chats, he regularly switches to other equally significant
events in his life. And there are many. But for now he has turned
from depression to stalkers. "You may have one, too,"
he warns. I doubt it, Adam.
He has had three. His first, Ruth Marie Torres, was jailed in
bombarding him with threats. The last disappeared off the scene
only a month ago after he was forced to call in the police. "Terrifying,"
he says. "She kept turning up at my door night and day, pretending
we were married.
"She sent wedding rings, pictures, all sorts. Eventually,
after four years, I went to the police. She had tried to attack
me and I was worried about my daughter."
He will never put his daughter at risk and he declares."I
mean it." Adam is now talking very loudly. He tells me about
his biological father, Les, who was found guilty in 1987 of gross
indecency on a junior. It was during the height of Adam's fame.
"Shocking," he sighs. "But the worst bit was everyone
got him mixed up with my stepfather, Tony. That caused me and
my family a lot of stress."
BROUGHT up in a council flat in North London, Adam was just seven
when Les left the family home. He regularly beat up Adam's mother
Betty, the singer claims. His mum later remarried Tony and Adam
always looked upon him as his dad. He severed contact with Les.
So when Les was sent to prison, Adam confides he did not know
what to think: "I wasn't in touch with Les - I learned the
truth only when I read the court evidence. He was involved with
the worst kind of scumbags, and these guys put funny weed in his
tobacco. It was terrible. I wanted nothing to do with him when
he came out. It killed him in the end." He shakes his head.
"But a paedophile. For me, that should mean a compulsory
life sentence." He is nearly shouting, he feels so strongly.
"Life," he storms. "You come out in a box."
if anyone messes with my daughter, I will put them in a bag and
drag them to the police."
You don't mess with Adam, either. But it is certainly not all
doom and gloom as he shares his incredible life story with me.
Our conversation is frequently littered with giggles and banter.
And he nearly falls off the sofa when I ask if he loves ants.
"They are good," he splutters. "That is why I liked
the name. I called myself Adam when I formed my band in 1978 instead
of Stuart, because I am muscley like Michelangelo's Birth of Adam.
Ants because they are survivors."
Adam, 5ft 7in, is still trim: "I walk everywhere with my
daughter." His hair is cut very short but he has retained
a bizarre black tuft at the back. He views himself as a punk -
and a pirate. "I love romany gypsies," he says, pointing
to his silver jewellery. He also has three tattoos. "But
I am not showing you the one on my bum."
Thank goodness for that, I exclaim.
single, he loves Vivienne Westwood clothes and boxing (his hero
is Mohammed Ali). And women. He has had two failed marriages and
plenty of girlfriends, such as actress Amanda Donohoe.
"The great love of my life," he says. "She dumped
me. I still think of her. I think about the girls I have loved
THERE'S a long silence. "I have loved eight women in my life,"
he says eventually. "I remember every woman's face. Let's
just say that back in the old days, sex was available every two
feet. But I never made love to anybody that did not want me to."
And how many have you slept with? "That is not a nice question,"
he retorts. Silence. I tell him he doesn't have to reply. "Under
1,000," he says at last. He smirks. So what's his secret?
"I am a rake."
Adam is unique.
No question, however personal, is left unanswered. "I didn't
lose my virginity until I was 18 The first time was a nightmare.
Who shows you how to use a condom?"
"You should say to a girl: 'Put a helmet on that soldier
because he is going into action'. I would love it if Robbie Williams
stood up and told young men how to put on a condom."
Adam loves Robbie and Kylie. And the Spice Girls, hence his T-shirt.
But he won't tell me who he dislikes. As time is ticking by, I
steer the conversation towards his comeback tour Since his fall
from grace in the late 80s, he has dabbled in acting and knocked
out a few flop records. Now is his big new chance to return to
the top. "I am doing it for Lily - to show her what Daddy
does," he says. "Everything I do is for Lily."
Adam, whose old outrageous outfits are stored in London's V &
A museum, is excited. But then, that's Adam for you. He loves
the fame and adulation - or rather, I think he does. "I like
being infamous," he corrects me. "I think it is safe
being a cult. I still get 100 fan letters a week, you know."
As he gets up to leave, he hands me his home number. "Give
me a ring," he says, still retaining the open attitude that
was so much in evidence when he entered the bar an hour earlier.
As I said, Adam is one hell of a man.
tour kicks off on April 18 in Cardiff. He will be visiting eight
cities including London. For further details, log onto
Copyright 2001 MGN Ltd.
Publication: The Mirror
Special thanks to Christine Smith at the Mirror
Also thanks to Philip
Adam shows a picture of his daughter Lily to the camera
in the Screen
on the Green feature. Oct 2001
Carlisle, Adam Ant, Toyah Here and New press photo, November