A very unmerry Maccamas


Last updated at 12:17 30 December 2006

The Christmas truce between the McCartneys lasted longer than anyone could have hoped for - right up until Thursday, in fact.

Until then, it really hadn't been all that bad. Macca's children had made the effort to come to Peasmarsh to join him for the traditional nut roast on Christmas Day.

Stella, her husband Alasdhair Willis and their two young children arrived at the East Sussex estate on Christmas Eve, followed by her older sister, Mary, with her two sons, and their younger brother, James.

Sir Paul had done his best to shrug off the despair that hangs over him in these troubled times. He even managed to raise a smile when his three-year old daughter, Beatrice, opened her presents under the tree.

But then Heather turned up and all hell broke loose. After spending Christmas at her beachfront home in Hove, East Sussex, with her sister Fiona and friends, Heather arrived at Peasmarsh and headed to the lakeside log cabin which she moved into after the split from


The plan was to hold a New Year party at the cabin with friends. Instead, she found herself with a starring role in the latest episode of the battle of the Maccas - the case of the missing artworks.

Heather was apparently stunned to discover that £10 million-worth of priceless paintings - including Renoirs and Picassos - had been removed from the property without her knowledge. (According to reports, McCartney later explained that he had moved them because he was concerned about security.) Photographs of her and Beatrice had also vanished.

Furthermore, when Heather walked in, she set off the burglar alarm - and quickly realised the alarm codes had been changed. The police, alerted by the alarm's emergency call-out centre, were soon on the scene and Heather was on the phone to her lawyers.

The tranquillity of Christmas at Peasmarsh had been shattered.

But what is Heather's motivation in choosing the log cabin for her New Year jolly? Could it be she wants to antagonise the rest of the McCartney clan up at the main house? One can only hope the two warring factions don't bump into each other over the next few days.

It's hard to know which of the family loathes Heather the most. Sir Paul? Well, we all know his feelings. Stella? Pure hatred. But what about 37-year-old Mary? During the summer there was another drama at the log cabin, an astonishing altercation -unreported until now - between her and Heather.

It seems that Mary, who is a well regarded photographer, turned up at the cabin to have words with Heather. The conversation soon descended into angry shouts, culminating in a physical struggle between the pair.

'It was a proper girl fight - hair pulling, the lot,' says the source. 'It was a real punch-up. Paul had to break them up. Heather became hysterical and started screaming that she needed police protection. It's not clear what exactly caused the fight, but there was talk that it was something to do with the log cabin.

'If it had been Stella and Heather, it wouldn't have been such a surprise. But Mary is a very quiet, placid person and this is the last thing you would expect from her. It just shows to what degree this family has been torn apart.'

The family are now eager to find a replacement for Heather in McCartney's affections. Stella, certainly, appears to have taken the time-honoured view that the cure for a broken heart is another woman.

A few weeks ago, the 35-year-old fashion designer introduced her father to a friend of hers, hoping, possibly, that a spot of light romance might cheer her father up. A cynic might say that Stella is also motivated, in part, by a desire to goad 38-year-old Heather.

The woman is said to be a similar age to Heather and, like her, strong and independent. So far, then, so bad.

McCartney, 64, told friends he liked the woman in question - her identity is known only to the immediate family - and that they got on very well, but he is holding back because he is so scarred from his marriage to Heather.

He has never been without a woman in his life. He needs a woman - but is terrified of involvement.

'He met this lady and liked her a lot, but he is totally paranoid about getting close to another woman,' says a source. 'So it is hard to say whether anything is going to develop.'

The truth is, Sir Paul just isn't ready for a new relationship: he is profoundly lonely and depressed, utterly worn down by the tumultuous events of the past seven months since his separation from Heather Mills.

'What is the point of all my money and success now?' he asks his close friends.

'Paul is incredibly lonely right now,' says one friend. 'He says he is only able to keep going because of Beatrice and his music. They are the things that are holding him together.'

Three-year-old Beatrice is the centre of his world. Over the past few weeks, McCartney, closeted away at his rambling estate, riven by self-pity, has been putting his feelings down on paper, composing an open-ended letter to Bea, explaining the breakdown of the marriage from his point of view. Some of his words have been put into lyrics and set to music.

'He is writing this down now so that, if she chooses to, she can read it when she is older. He wants her to understand what has happened from his point of view.

'Paul never imagined he would have a child who would grow up in an environment like this, at the centre of a vicious divorce with an utterly divided mother and father. It has wrenched him in two.

'He fears that Heather is saying inappropriate things to Bea about him, and loading her with thoughts against her father. He has some evidence of this.

'He feels that because it was he who left Heather, and not the other way round, she can really load the situation against him in Bea's mind and make him the reason it has all gone wrong. He is desperate that Bea understands what has been behind it.

'So it is very important to Paul that he gives Bea his side of the story; that she understands how it all went wrong and that he didn't want her to suffer.'

So if the marriage breakdown is not his fault, it must be Heather's, then? Of course not. If Heather decided to write her version of the split down for her daughter, it might end up rather confused. Sir Paul found his wife controlling and bossy; Heather found Sir Paul controlling and bossy.

She also says he is mean with his £800 million fortune. Indeed, Heather appears to have fallen on hard times in the run-up to her multi-million-pound divorce settlement, and last month put the Grade II listed barn in East Sussex she bought in May on the market for £625,000.

It had been suggested that Heather might move into the property, just a 15-minute drive from Peasmarsh, after the divorce, making it easier for Bea to divide her time between her mother and father. Friends say, however, that she is selling up because she needs the money to pay her legal fees.

'Heather has to find a way to pay her legal bills, so the house has to go,' says a source. 'When they were together, Heather had access to a joint account, but she no longer has that available.'

It has been reported that Heather's legal fees to date amount to £250,000, and that the final bill could be as much as £1million. So it was with this in mind that Heather took the unusual step earlier this month of representing herself in the High Court in applications to keep Sir Paul out of her beachfront house at Hove, East Sussex, and to gain access to his properties.

In doing so, she saved herself a lot of money. A barrister can charge as much as £15,000 a day for certain hearings. Heather has, however, retained the services of her London law firm, Mishcon de Reya.

The 64,000-dollar question is this: how much of Sir Paul's £800 million fortune will Heather get? A report earlier this month said a deal had been reached; that Heather would receive the colossal sum of £120 million, but that it would remain a 'secret' and it would appear to the rest of the world that she would receive around £10 million, most of which she would give to charity.

Her friends say this is 'utter rubbish'.

'Heather had around £10 million in mind when she started divorce proceedings,' says a friend. All these huge figures are way off the mark. Now that lawyers are involved, I don't know exactly how much it will eventually be - but it will be nothing like as much as has been said.'

The friend added that Heather has been keen to get the divorce over and done with as quickly as possible and has been frustrated by what appears to be Sir Paul's determination to string it out.

'Their marriage was all about control, and the divorce is all about control,' says the friend. 'When she was with him, everything had to be done his way. If he wanted to change plans at the 11th hour, everyone had to go along with it.

'Now he is controlling the divorce. It has to be done at his pace.'

The animosity between the pair is as bad as it has ever been. As well as their divorce wrangles, friends say Heather is furious at her estranged husband's 'meanness' with regard to her favourite charity, Adopt-A-Minefield.

The former Beatle and his wife were due to host a benefit concert for the charity in Beverly Hills in October, but after they split McCartney pulled out and it was cancelled. The concert normally raises up to £1million - crucial funding for the charity.

McCartney pledged to make amends with a donation, but according to a friend of Heather's, he wrote a cheque for just £250,000 - leaving the charity with a huge shortfall.

'Heather is desperately disappointed. Adopt-A-Minefield is very close to her heart and the charity has come to depend on the money raised from these galas. McCartney had to be, how shall I put it, reminded to hand over the money.

'This was always an issue with Paul and Heather during their marriage. He has all this money and Heather would say to him he should give more to charity. She couldn't figure out why he wouldn't. It seemed mean to her.'

It is one fight after another. Sir Paul is still trying to come to terms with allegations -which have always been fiercely denied by his wife - that Heather worked as a prostitute in her 20s. During the summer, pornographic photographs of her were dredged up.

Then legal documents were mysteriously leaked alleging that Sir Paul had been violent towards Heather during the marriage, at one time pushing her over a coffee table, another time into a bath.

On top of all that, details of audio tapes emerged, on which were alleged recordings of conversations his late wife Linda had held with a friend. On the tapes, she is said to speak emotionally of her husband's 'controlling' ways, leaving her 'deeply unhappy and depressed' and feeling 'trapped'.

McCartney reportedly paid £200,000 for the tapes to ensure they never aired in public. No wonder he's depressed. Who wouldn't be?

And it ain't over yet.

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