Tamara's £5m fight with Mum

Last updated at 20:58 23 January 2008

A bitter family row

behind the pictureperfect

world of

glamorous multimillionaire


queen Tamara

Mellon is set to go public.

Yesterday, I can reveal, the battle

over the sale of the Jimmy Choo

shoe empire took an extraordinary

twist when Tamara, who founded

the company, formally began legal

action against her estranged

mother, former Chanel model Ann

Yeardye, who lives in America.

Filed in the California Superior

Court, her civil complaint is seeking

over £5 million in damages.

The two women fell out after

Jimmy Choo was sold in 2004 and

have not spoken for more than a

year after Ann, a widow, refused to

return stock in the company.

Both women held an interest in

the firm at the time of its sale and

the sale price included cash and

shares. But according to the writ,

Mrs Yeardye, who had never been

involved in the day-to-day running

of the business, insisted on receiving

her share "entirely in cash".

This meant her daughter, who

was taking on a new role in Jimmy

Choo, would have to take less cash.

She agreed, which meant, in effect,

reinvesting in the business.

In her complaint, Miss Mellon

says Ann got the cash she had

demanded, but that "by mistake"

half of the stock Tamara was

supposed to receive was

transferred to her mother instead.

Mrs Yeardye refused to return it.

In an attempt to break the deadlock

without litigation, Tamara

offered to put her mother's shares

in a separate trust for her five-year-old

daughter, Araminta.

That, too,

say Tamara's lawyers, Ann refused, "selfishly asserting her claim even

against her own grandchild".

Last night, Tamara said: "It is

with immense sadness that I take

this action, but I see no other way

to protect my daughter's interests,

which are my paramount concern.

"The property in question was to

help secure my daughter's future,

and I am baffled by my mother's

refusal to return assets which

rightfully do not belong to her.

"I have tried every means to settle

this case, but after a long period of

time the action I have initiated

seems the only course available."

Tamara's lawyer, Bert Fields,

accused Ann of playing no part in

the Jimmy Choo story "yet she

wants to cling to stock while keeping

the lion's share of the cash".

He added: "The last thing Tamara

wanted was this family fight."

Last night, Mrs Yeardye could

not be contacted.

How to atone for a busy life

Whether or not the film of the novel

Atonement — which stars Keira

Knightley — wins seven

Oscars is unlikely to fluster the

book's author, Ian McEwan, who has

decided to give Los Angeles a wide

berth next month.

Instead he is taking a trip that could

not be further removed from the

frenzied red-carpet jamboree.

The 59-year-old writer and his

literary editor wife Annalena will

spend five weeks trekking in the

Himalayas, enjoying the countryside

and staying in remote tiny villages.

"Ian loves walking and has done

treks before all over Europe and

America," says an aide. "He did his

bit for the UK release of the film

and was very much involved when

it was being made, but now he

wants a break."

The dark side of the TV

Rock star David Gilmour and his writer

wife Polly Samson are

celebrating the success of a harsh TV

ban imposed at the family home.

For the past three years, the couple's

three youngest children, Joe, 12,

Gabriel, nine, and Romany, six, have not

been permitted to watch any television.

All the sets in the Gilmours'West Sussex

home have been removed apart from

one in David and Polly's bedroom,

where they watch Newsnight before

retiring. The 61-year-old former Pink

Floyd guitarist tells me the ban has been

a resounding success.

"The children just read more," he says.

"Joe has now read all the Harry Potter

books five times and they actually don't

miss television."

Adds Polly, 45: "Joe even

asked for bookshelves for Christmas."

Alex finds her Forte

Her mother Olga is a renowned hotelier and her

grandfather was the legendary caterer Lord

Forte, so Alex Polizzi was perhaps the natural

choice when Channel Five was looking for a new

face to front its series Hotel Inspector.

For Alex has all the authority and industry

experience needed to turn flagging hotels into

profitable ventures. She trained at the Mandarin

Oriental in Hong Kong, worked for Marco Pierre

White at the Criterion and has done stints at her

uncle Sir Rocco Forte's outposts in Cardiff,

Rome and St Petersburg.

In the programme, to be screened later this year,

she will cast an expert eye on ailing

establishments and hopes to make them

successful again.

Alex, 36, who runs the Hotel

Endsleigh in Devon — where she has hosted

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall —

promises to leave no stone unturned.

Reformed cad James

Hewitt hopes he has finally

ended his quest to find a bar to

run in glitzy Puerto Banus in

southern Spain.


Hewitt, 49, moved to

the Costa del Sol 18 months

ago to start a new life — and a

search for suitable premises.

His eye, I am told, has now

settled on The Loft, a former

disco once popular with the

resort's gin-palace crowd.

Originally the former Cavalry

officer — who, after all he has

said, surprisingly declined to

appear at the Diana inquest —

had planned a polo-themed

bar, buying mallets, shirts and

other props from chums to


Now I'm told the new

watering hole will be a more

conventional piano bar. "I'm

finally getting there," he says.

Film director Mike

Figgis, whose actress

girlfriend Saffron Burrows

left him for another woman,

is heading for the High Court

after breaking his leg when

he slipped at a filling station.

Figgis, who directed the

Oscar-winning Leaving Las

Vegas, is claiming £300,000

after the accident in North

London left him with

shattered bones in his left

leg, which needed a plate,

screws and a bone graft.

He had just filled up his car

en route to visiting his

grown-up sons when he

slipped on a mixture of oil,

diesel and water.

He says he

has suffered significant

difficulties in going back to

work as a filmmaker.

PS Eccentric

dowager Lady

Killearn —

currently embroiled in a

industrial tribunal with her

sacked butler, who claims

she lived in squalor — was

clearly not ashamed of her

living arrangements as

recently as ten days ago.

For she invited 200 guests to

her home to celebrate her

98th birthday with

champagne, canapes and

sponge cake.

Her guests,

who included socialite

Sally Farmiloe and leading

London Conservatives,

heard her make her usual

vigorous speech before they

all sang Happy Birthday

round the piano.

Despite her great age, Lady

Killearn is always one for a

party. Her most amusing

guests were the gothic band

The Cure, who liked her

Harley Street mansion so

much they became tenants.