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ADAM ANT - I'VE HAD THREE STALKERS AND TWO NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS BUT LILY HAS SAVED MY LIFE

THE HAIR-ERASING ADVENTURES OF EIGHTIES POP
ICON ADAM ANT

15/12/2001 written 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).

People can 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 and suicide.

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.

The singer - 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..."

Seven years 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 to fame.

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 1994 for
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."
"And 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.

Currently 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 every week."

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.

ADAM'S nationwide tour kicks off on April 18 in Cardiff. He will be visiting eight cities including London. For further details, log onto
www.ticketmaster.co.uk and www.firstcalltickets.com


Copyright 2001 MGN Ltd.
Date: 15/12/2001
Publication: The Mirror
Special thanks to Christine Smith at the Mirror
Also thanks to Philip

 

Adam, 1981

 

photo taken by webmistress@adam-ant.net - June 1996

1996

 

Adam's press photo, 2000

Adam 2000

Screen on the Green; video for adam-ant.net Adam shows a picture of his daughter to the camera
Adam shows a picture of his daughter Lily to the camera in the Screen on the Green feature. Oct 2001

Belinda Carlisle, Adam Ant, Toyah Here and New press photo, November 2001

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