Daily Mail - 19 January 2002
"The penniless Englishman who seduced Madonna"
Exclusive by Alice Fowler.
The letter was and, heartfelt, and surprisingly vulnerable especially when one considers that the writer is perhaps the most famous woman on the planet.
'I will never get over you,' it said. 'You have touched me in an unfathomable and unexplainable way.
'You say that there can be no love without trust and I couldn't agree more. But you mistrusted me long before I behaved in an untrustworthy fashion.
'All of this just perpetuated more negative and reactive behaviour in both of us. We went to our corners and drew our swords. 'The irony now is that I'm alone completely. Alone with my thoughts and my memories. I have so many fond memories of you in my house and, m fact, they we the happiest memories of my life. It is so very hard to let go of them. 'I wish so many things. I wish that we were together and happy. I wish that we'd had a child wish that you were feeling fulfilled, artistically and creatively you have such a brilliant mind I wish I wish, I wish...' 'Most of all, I wish you happiness and peace in your heart and mind. Please know that you are my last thought before I go to sleep and my first thought when I wake up. 'My love for you is profound and immense. Confusing and mysterious. I long to put my arms around you.'
These were the words that Madonna wrote to the man who was the last great love of her life before her marriage to film maker Guy Ritchie a dreamy impoverished Englishman named Andy Bird. They came towards the end of their tumultuous 18 month affair. For Madonna, Bird followed a long list of high profile partner's including Sean Penn and Warren Beatty, pop singer Prince and John F Kennedy Jr. But as her letter suggests, this anonymous figure stirred deeper feelings in her than any of his celebrity predecessors. Indeed, had fate taken a different twist, perhaps Andy Bind rather than Guy Ritchie might have followed Seen Penn as Madonna's second husband. Certainly, but for a harrowing abortion that we will return to later, he would now be the father of Madonna's child. Few would recognise Andy Bird's name today. Yet his relationship with Madonna spanned a crucial period in her life, ending in bitter arguments around the time she met Ritchie. At the start, they were blissfully happy. The lyrics of Madonna's song Beautiful Stranger To love you is to be part of you, I've paid for you with my tears, And swallowed all my Pride - were inspired by Andy Bird.
Extraordinarily, Madonna, wealthy, ambitious and famously astute lost her heart to this charming drifter who slept on friends' sofas. It was an attraction of opposites the material girl and the man with nothing; the health conscious singer and the chain smoker; the glamorous star and the face in the crowd. But together as we are about to discover, their life ran a rollercoaster course from the heights of emotion to arguments about Bird's sweaty feet (she would make him disinfect them before he came to bed). The affair wrenched this unassuming figure from the provinces born in Birmingham, the son of an accountant and an educational social worker to the centre of a very different and dazzling world. Bird came to know the private Madonna: the woman who would sing snatches of opera as she cooked Pop Tarts for breakfast, whose hopeless driving would cause havoc on the roads, who gave him clothes that ware invariably the wrong size.
To learn the inside story of their relationship - as we will do during this exclusive Mail series, which continues on Monday - is to gain an entirely new insight into the world's most scrutinised woman. She emerges as a far more tender and attractive figure than previous accounts have suggested.
Over the coming days, we will discover the truth about that abortion which left them both drained and distraught; their extraordinary life together with Sting, Stella McCartney and some of showbusiness's greatest names and the very public clash in which Ritchie scuffled with Bird at a London bar. Until now, Bird has never talked publicly about his love for Madonna. He has shrunk instinctively from the public gaze. The reason he has chosen to speak out now, he says, is to put right the many inaccuracies which continue to be written about him. By telling the truth, he hopes, he can draw a line under the past and move on. It is not a task he finds easy. At times, as we talk, he squirms with reluctance. That Madonna should fall for this likeable, irresponsible man far younger than his years, is the greatest surprise of all.
Madonna, after all, is famed as a manipulator, renowned for her need to control - most notably in her affair with Carlos Leon the handsome fitness instructor seemingly picked out to father her child. Lourdes, then cast aside. Perhaps the clearest sign of the depth of Madonna's feelings for Bird is that she found it impossible to discard him in the same way, He was her 'beautiful stranger' and for many months, even after she had met Guy Ritchie, impossible to let go. They met in the summer of 1997 through a mutual friend. Alek Keshishian the moviemaker, who had directed Truth or Dare: In Bed With Madonna, the film of her 1990 world tour. Andy was 32 seven years her junior and living a bohemian life in London's Notting Hill. A former art, student, he was Involved on the outer edges of the film industry, working as a runner for production companies and creating film scenarios of his own. He earned money sporadically, sleeping on friends' sofas for weeks at a time, and wrote a script for an off-beat comedy that he showed to an American film producer he met In London. The American agreed to fly him to LA, using her surplus air miles to try to develop the project.
The week before he was due to leave, Andy went to see Keshishian in Paris to talk about his LA trip. Alek was well known in Hollywood, with no shortage of contacts. 'On a couple of occasions he let slip: Oh I know someone who'd likes you,' Bird recalls. 'He said it was someone I'd really get along with, but he never mentioned who it was. He's the kind of person who knows everyone and likes to show off the fact. 'While I was there, he was on the phone and suddenly said: 'Andrew, say Hello to Madonna, 'Why he did it I still don't know. 'Anyway, I took the phone and said "Hello to Madonna and there was a little giggly voice at the other end. Though he knew Alek was a friend of Madonna, Andy was still unsure whether he really was talking to the singer. It could just have been some strange joke. 'But we chatted for a bit and by the end of the call she seemed like a really nice person, whoever it was I was talking to. The conversation ended with her saying: 'Tell Alek to give you my numbers in L.A'
It seems extraordinary for a star like Madonna to give me her telephone number so freely. Perhaps, says Andy, Alek had already mentioned him to her. He took the number, and. on the Eurostar back to London, decided to find out if they were real, 'I rang up and said: Hi, how are you doing?' and she said 'I'm practising yoga,' or whatever. 'I remember thinking she sounded sweet. She's got a very nice phone voice; quite low and soft. There was a connection between us.' By now there was no doubt he was talking to Madonna herself. 'I suppose other people would have found it really weird to be taking to her, but somehow it didn't feel that strange,' says Bird. I just thought I was speaking to a girl I was getting on really well with. I was speaking to the person, not the icon. 'To start with, we just chatted about Alek. But she also was making an album with the producer William, Orbit, whose work I really admired, and I was very Interested in that.'
Even though Andy hadn't been looking for a relationship, one soon started to develop. 'We spoke several more times. It ended with us talking for a couple of hours a day on the phone before I even got to LA. She was flirty - she's a very flirty person, and I just flirted back, I asked her: 'Do you want me to bring you a present when I come over?' She said; 'Yes some of those waffle biscuits they sell on the Portobello Road.' 'Our conversations, were a first-thing-in-the-morning, last-thing-at-night kind of deal. There was certainly a degree of intimacy at that point. By the end we were actually saying, 'I miss you'" when we hadn't spoken for a few hours. There was a genuine keenness to meet.'
Back in London for the few days before he left for LA, he made no secret of his strange new friendship. My phone would ring in a bar, and it would be Madonna saying 'How are you?" My friends were a bit surprised and it was a big joke for five minutes, but after that they got used to it,' Perhaps his friends were too anxious to seem 'cool' to exhibit mere excitement. Whatever the explanation, Andy admits this lack of interest was one of the reasons why, later, he was unprepared for the frenzy of attention when their relationship became more widely known.
Full of anticipation, he flew to LA and went to stay with his producer friend. The next day, he called Madonna. 'It was three clays before we eventually met up. I was a bit nervous.
I met her at this photographer's studio where they were shooting a cover for Rolling Stone magazine, 1 had to wait outside because I couldn't smoke in the studio. 'I had a Safeway bag with her biscuits from Portobello Road in it. I was wearing a fake-fur coat a mate had given me. At that stage I was into wearing ripped?up clothes and holding them together with tape.
'After 20 minutes I was called in. She war hiding behind a curtain. I think her first words were: "Hello, you!" My first impression was: 'Isn't she tiny?' She had very long, blonde Goldilocks-style hair at the time, and she was dressed all in black. 'We chatted for a bit, and then we got into her car and she drove us to a dinner party she'd been invited to.' Madonna, it appeared, was nervous, too. 'She reversed into a wall as she was turning round, She was screaming: "'Andy, I hit something I think I probably swore - but it was only surface damage' he adds wryly. The dinner was informal. 'Everyone was in the kitchen, sitting on benches. Even so I felt a bit like a fish out of water, because I didn't know a soul, including her. People always ask questions when they don't know you, and I hate being asked questions. 'Somebody asked: 'Where do you live in London?' Madonna piped up 'He's a sofa surfer' because she knew I slept on friends' sofas. We were teasing one another from the outset.' Madonna seemed to be testing his reactions, checking out if he could really handle the prospect of a relationship with her. 'We were driving back after the dinner and she said: 'Shall I drop you at a hotel, because that's what I usually do with my dates, or do you want to come back to mine and call a cab from there?' 'It was all very flippant so I just said: 'I'm bloody going to yours.'She made some coffee and called a cab. I think we kissed.'
By then we were feeling at case with one another. We'd spoken so much already that a lot of barriers had gone down.' Andy also had his first glimpse of her LA home, an old Spanish-style house, filled with antique furniture and paintings. It was, he says, stylish but understated - a place where a guest could feel at home. 'It felt very natural, not at all forced. And she wasn't at all Madonna-ish, in a predatory way. She was warm and affectionate and womanly. She's really very normal: a lovely, traditional, sweet person. 'There was no problem being alone with her. I was more worried about getting back and waking up my producer friend to borrow some U.S. dollars to pay the taxi.'
Next evening, the two went out to dinner alone, at a restaurant near Madonna's studio. This time it was Andy's turn to tease her. I remember saying to her: "Kindness costs nothing," when she got fed up with waiting for a table and snapped ever so slightly at the waiter. 'Funnily enough, she seemed to think I spouting 'from some fount of knowledge. For me it was just a proverb, but perhaps in California it sounded like a deep spiritual insight. 'And after all, it was only our second date. We were hanging on each other's every word.' That evening. Andy mentions in passing, was also one of the few times he paid for dinner. In the excitement of a new relationship, such disparities - her vast wealth, his total lack of it - seemed not to matter. Perhaps, I suggest, it even added to the romance. In hindsight at least. Andy thinks otherwise. 'She's very much a realist: she probably saw it as problematic but chose to ignore it,' he says frankly.
Already the relationship had developed a sexual spark. 'It was brilliant: warm and exciting but quite gentle,' Andy remembers. 'We were holding hands, she was taking my arm, pretty much from the outset. 'It all seemed very natural. I'm a romantic anyway, and she's got a very big heart.' When he arrived in America, Andy had scant knowledge of Madonna's life. 'I knew she had a daughter, but what her name was I didn't know. 'I was aware she'd had relationships in the past, but none of them was an issue. I'd kind of separated Madonna as a pop star from the person I was with. 'You get so wrapped up with the person that their past really doesn't matter. We were in the throes of becoming infatuated, falling in love. 'The magic that goes on inside you when just sitting in a traffic jam can be brilliant, because you get to spend time with that person. That's probably why I was oblivious to the whole fame issue.'
Perhaps, for Madonna, that ability to see her as a normal person was the clue to Andy's appeal. In him - in contrast to so many hangers-on, she may have felt she'd met a man who valued her purely for herself. Whatever the reason, within the space of a week, Andy Bird and Madonna became lovers. Was he nervous, I ask, and Andy looks mortified. 'It wasn't like that. I was having a relationship with a woman called Madonna. I was no more nervous with her than I've been with anyone, before or since. She was an individual I wanted to share a closeness with.' He pauses, looking wistful. 'It was quite a soulful thing.'
So who really is this Englishman who captured Madonna's heart. When I first speak to Andy Bird, by telephone, his voice is deep and laconic: the kind that might, indeed, suggest romance.
When we meet, he is more shy and diffident than I expect. He is tall, with long dark hair swept back from his face, and striking green eyes. But at 36 he displays an unhealthy pallor, honed on a diet of Diet Coke and Marlboro cigarettes. Later, when he shows me a photo of himself with Madonna and Lourdes, I am surprised by how much brighter and healthier he appears, the intervening years you sense, have left their mark on Andy Bird.
His parents, he says, were middle-class mavericks who left the city to start a new life in the Warwickshire countryside when he was two. They kept pigs and lived their version of The Good Life. At school - first a local primary, then a nearby prep school, followed by a comprehensive Andy was an unacademic student, spending most of his time 'messing wound with friends in bands'.
After school, he went to London to study design at Kingston Polytechnic. When he left, he drifted. Good-looking and easy-going, he began modelling, his trip to America was partly financed by a fleeting appearance in a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial - and made karaoke videos. Affable and relaxed, he made friends easily 'I was meeting lots of different people, going to trendy bars, being put on the right guest lists,' he recalls. By the time he had met Madonna, he had, he says seriously, 500 friends. His social life revolved around fashionable restaurants such as 192 in Notting Hill, his gym on Portobello Green and the Met Bar, where he was friends with the manager. Many of his friends were connected to the media. It should have been obvious that, when he began a relationship with Madonna, there was no chance of it staying secret. Five hundred 'friends' were ready to sell information to the newspapers. To Andy's surprise if no one else's - his old, bohemian existence would blow up in his face.
Back in the autumn of 1997 though, Notting Hill felt far away. Andy was in LA caught up in a burgeoning love affair. Madonna was working in the studio, finishing her best-selling album, Ray Of Light. Andy spent almost every night with her, staying at her house in Los Felix. Quickly Andy's life fell into a routine. In the morning, he and Madonna would wake up early and takes it in turns to make coffee. Then, while she practised yoga for a couple of hours, he would play with Lourdes - Lola, as her mother called her, or 'set up meetings on his still unrealised film project.
In the evenings they would meet for dinner, sometimes at the tiny macrobiotic restaurant 'really good and cheap' and maybe watch a film. He also spent time with the rest of the household: Daisy the maid, Lola's nanny Clara, and Manual the gardener. When I meet Andy at a hotel in England, he swiftly befriends every waiter; in LA, though he was dating a superstar, his behaviour was no different. He rented a Dodge pick-up and often would meet Madonna and follow her in his car. It was a rapid introduction to one of his new girlfriends surprising quirks - her terrible same of direction. 'I'd only been there a short time, but I'd still work out we were going completely the wrong way,' he remembers. 'Following her was a nightmare. You'd be at traffic lights, and out of nowhere she'd edge her way across the lanes and in the lane for turning left, and there was no way you could follow her. It's ironic really somebody with so much direction in their life not to have a clue where they were going.'
While he struggled with her driving, Madonna would try to get him to wear new clothes. 'She's given quite a lot of stuff by designers and fashion companies, and so a black velvet suit showed up that, thankfully I didn't fit into. Then there was a velvet double-breasted coat all Dolce & Gabbana that was too big. 'It was a bit like getting presents from your granny at Christmas things you'd wear for a couple of days just to please them, and then forget about.'
For the most part, though, the couple enjoyed their new found closeness. 'For both of us there was a real sense of familiarity. You know, when you feel you've met somebody before.' says Andy. 'My feelings were strong, and so were hers. There was a powerful physical and emotional attraction between us. 'There was also a sense of vulnerability the way there is when you meet someone new. She would ask my opinion on a lot of things. 'At that time, Lola was less than year old. Madonna was unsure about motherhood what was normal and what wasn't. I helped out as much as I could.' In the beginning, Andy had intended to go to LA for just three weeks. In fact, swept up in the passion of a new relationship, three months passed before he begun to think about coming home. That November, Madonna was visiting Britain to prepare for the release of Ray Of Light. Andy was short of money and starting to feel homesick. They decided to come to London together, as a couple. Andy came over a few days before her 'It was brilliant to be back. I knew I'd missed my friends, but I'd been in such a cocoon I hadn't realised how much,' he says.
Three days later, Madonna's private jet landed at Luton airport. Andy picked her up in a Range Rover with blacked out windows. 'It was great to see her again. She was staying at a house in Tregunter Road, close to The Boltons, one of the most exclusive areas of South Kensington. It was a kind of unspoken assumption that we'd be there together'
For a day or two, no one knew about it. Then Andy took her to a friend's birthday party. Next day, he says ruefully, everything went crazy: their relationship was front-page news.
'It was just awful.' Andy remembers, shrinking into his chair, 'My phone rang incessantly; stories were being written about me. I was being followed. 'One of the red-top tabloids printed a number for anyone who knew mystery man Andy Bird to call. There was even a phone in on Radio 1 for people to say what they thought about Madonna's latest choice of boyfriend.'
For Andy, the media onslaught was a total shock. I knew they'd all be interested in her, but I didn't really think they'd care about who she was dating. 'I know it sound, ridiculous now, and I was obviously being downright stupid but 1 just perceived me as being me and I knew her as somebody else my girlfriend.' Surely Madonna herself must have known what would happen? 'You would have thought so, but I don't think she wanted to acknowledge the fact it might have a detrimental effect on us, or on me. 'Also, after 15 or 20 years in the spotlight it becomes normal, I imagine. It only became an issue after my reaction to it. It made me really withdrawn. 1 felt paranoid. I hadn't realised I would care what anyone wrote about me, but it really did upset me. 'Most hurtfully, says Andy, he was labelled a 'wannabe'. 'The implication was that the only way I was going to get fame and success and some semblance of a career was by hanging about with Madonna. That hurt my pride a lot.' The differences between them, which in America had hardly mattered, were rammed in their faces in Britain. At the same time, Andy was still trying to treat Madonna like any other girlfriend. He took her to friends' flats in West London. 'Most people were fine, but some were horrified at the idea of this superstar coming into their homes. 'No! It's filthy!' they'd say. 'You mustn't come!' 'Others went wild with excitement and you'd think: 'For God's sake, calm down.' Madonna, he says, was charming add polite I think maybe she felt like a novelty, being wheeled about. I think she quite shy in a certain way. But she was my girlfriend and I wanted her to meet my friends.'
Andy was also keen to introduce Madonna to his parents, Horace and Kathleen. 'I wanted to show her another side of me, to show her where I grew up. I didn't envisage spending a lot of time with them; just introducing her and going for a country drive perhaps. 'I rang my parents and said please don't make any more effort than you normally would," and they were fine.'
On a Sunday afternoon, Andy drove Madonna and Lola to the large house his parents built 30 years ago near the village of Clifford Chambers in Warwickshire. With its wide, pitched roof and adjoining garage, it looks like the kind of house stockbrokers retire to. The three of them arrived late. 'It took us ages to get out of London because we were having to sort the baby out and deal with the paparazzi waiting outside our house. 'And, of course, Americans only drive at 50mph, so me doing 90mph down the motorway isn't go down very well at all. 'We didn't actually get there until 4pm, and when my parents opened the door they were dressed in their best clothes. They saw my face and said: 'This isn't for you we're going to a drinks party. We can only stay 20 minutes.' My mum said to Madonna something like: 'Oh, let me give you a kiss because I always kiss Andrews girlfriends.'Then she got the baby photos out: 'Here's Andrew naked in the sink at three months old.Few families you imagine, would have reacted so calmly to a pop icon sitting on their sofa. Andy's, he explains, is different: 'They hardly watch TV and don't read tabloid newspapers. I suppose you could say the whole cult of celebrity has passed them by 'They were at their ease they're very down to earth people They were more worried about being late for their drinks party than anything else.' There was, however, one unexpected hitch. A paparazzi photographer had followed them from London and was waiting outside the house. 'That made it very difficult,' says Andy, still indignant at the intrusion. 'We had to close the curtains so he couldn't see in.' Andy was angry most of all with himself, for bringing his parents into the public eye. All the same, he adds, he eventually took the photographer a cup of tea and some homemade cakes. 'I felt sorry for him' he explains helplessly.
Next day, he was shocked to find the visit was a major news story. I still had no idea that my parents' house would be on the front page of one of the tabloids. When I saw that, I realised the whole visit was a mistake. I didn't want to involve my parents in all that.' For both him and Madonna, the strain was starting to tell. 'I was starting to withdraw into myself. She could tell I wasn't happy. 'We tried to make light of it, but the situation had changed. It did get to me, and I didn't handle it very well, I was frightened to answer my phone. My stomach churns just talking about it, 'We still really cared about each other, but I was becoming much more aware of how difficult life would be with her. She was frustrated that this stuff upset me. At one point she said to me 'Oh Andrew you love me, but you hate my life.'That was completely true. But what do you do in that situation? I still loved being in her company. I thought the papers would get bored. But I wanted my freedom back.' Late one night, when their visit to London was close to an end, he went for a drive on his own. 'I needed to forget about the whole situation. 'I was questioning everything. I'd begun to feel that perhaps I really was this no-hoper everyone said I was. I didn't want to end the relationship, but I had to prove I wasn't just trying to ride on Madonna's coat tails.' Finally, after driving for many hours, Andy made his decision. He would not go back to America with Madonna, but stay in London and rebuild his life. He hoped their relationship could survive; if not, he would have to accept it.
When he got back to Tregunter Road, Madonna was waiting for him. 'She wanted to knew where I'd been for all this time. 'I just said: 'Listen I've been thinking and I've get something to tell you.'Before I could say another word, she said: 'Well, I've got something to tell you, too.'And that's when she told me she was having a baby.' The pregnancy was totally unexpected 'We were careful.' says Andy, his voice a whisper. 'I was numb, shocked, happy, panicked, sad, tired. I was looking into her eyes, trying desperately to see how she felt. 'When you're really fond of someone, there's a part of you that's happy in that situation; another part that thinks 'Oh no.'It was very early days in our relationship, and I was beginning to realise events were running me, not the other way round. 'I was full of self?doubt anyway, because of all the things being written about me in the newspapers. I wasn't sure I should even be allowed to father a child. I was in a tumultuous state, but trying my hardest to be calm.' His main concern was for Madonna. 'When someone tells you that kind of news, your overwhelming sense is to know how they are. A man feels that even more keenly, because it's something that goes on in the other person's body and you are completely cut off from it.'
He pauses, looking helpless. 'I wanted to do the right thing,' he says. 'Whatever that was.'
Daily Mail - 21 January 2002
"The penniless Englishman who seduced Madonna"
Exclusive by Alice Fowler
Madonna was pregnant and the timing could hardly have been worse. It wasn't that she didn't want another baby, it was no secret that she was keen to provide her only daughter, Lourdes, with a brother or sister. But November 1997 simply wasn't the right moment. Her relationship with the unborn baby's father, Andy Bird, was just three months old. And already their passionate affair, Madonna's last great romance before her marriage to Guy Ritchie, was under enormous strain.
Andy, a charming English drifter whom she'd met through a mutual friend, was finding the publicity surrounding their unlikely liaison impossible to live with. Virtually penniless, and a stranger to the public eye, he'd been sucked into a world that was utterly alien to him. As we saw on Saturday in the first part of this series, his very indifference to fame had enabled him to stir deeper feelings in Madonna than any of the celebrity lovers of her past. Later, she would describe her memories of their times together as 'the happiest of my life'. For once, it seems, she felt sure that her boyfriend valued her for herself, rather than her public image. But was he the right man to father her baby? Could their relationship survive the worldwide attention that her pregnancy would attract? The events of the next few days were to be pivotal in Andy's life and Madonna's.
'I wish that we were together and happy she wrote to him later, when the relationship finally began to unravel. 'I wish we'd had a child.' On the night that Madonna learned she was pregnant, Andy was driving through London on his own. He wanted time to think about his future and had made up his mind not to return with Madonna to America when she left to promote her new album. Ray Of Light. Instead, he intended to stay in Britain and hide from the glare of the media. If that meant the end of their relationship, it was a risk he was reluctantly prepared to accept.
But before he could reveal his decision Madonna stunned him with her own momentous news. 'I don't think she was sure how she felt,' he remembers. 'She was experiencing the same turmoil I was. Everything about the relationship was in flux'. They had little chance to talk on what was the last night of her stay in London 'We were packing, getting everything done, there were people calling up. We weren't alone, there were nannies and assistants, and her friends coming over to say goodbye. For Andy, already questioning every aspect of his life, there was no one he could turn to for support, I couldn't tell a soul, because I didn't know whom I could trust. I didn't even tell my parents.' Instead, next morning, he and Madonna flew to Miami.
For Andy all thoughts of staying behind in London had evaporated. They spent a few quiet days together at Madonna's three?storey Twenties house in Coconut Grove, next to Sylvester Stallone's estate. For a while, the pregnancy increased their closeness. But, for Madonna in particular, pressures were mounting. 'She was working very hard,' says Andy. 'She'd just finished Ray Of Light and was preparing for the videos. She had a Vanity Fair shoot coming up with Mario Testino the top photographer, and Dolce & Gabbana, had made all these clothes specifically for the shoot. 'There's no getting out of things like that. And they take forever.' They talked about what to do about their unborn child. 'I wanted to support her in her choice, whatever it was,' says Andy. According to the line pedalled by one of Madonna's most recent biographers that choice was made for her. In this version of events she had a miscarriage in her seventh week. The same biographer even repeats claims by Madonna's friends that Andy Bird knew nothing of her condition until after the event. The facts are rather different and sadder. For a few days, the singer wrestled with the decision. In the end, she had an abortion. 'I felt terrible. Absolutely terrible,' says Andy, with painful emphasis. Even now he is unable to talk about a loss so personal he refers to it only as 'the event'.
For them both, it sounds a lonely, desolate time. 'We didn't even have that much time to talk together' he says quietly. 'She had to go to New York for a tribute to her murdered friend Gianni Versace, but she wanted me to go back to her house in LA to get things ready for when she joined me in a few days. 'I felt estranged from everything, and I assume she did, too. It was terribly sad. We were deeply upset. 'Perhaps it would have helped to sit down together, without even talking, and to share a closeness. But long, shared silences don't work the same way on the telephone. They're just long silences and I do remember quite a few. I tried to be supportive, though whether I succeeded is another matter.'
On his own, he felt an overwhelming sense of loss. I wanted to be able to compensate in some way for what had happened. But at the time I was flat broke, I didn't even have a credit card. 'I couldn't arrange for a bunch of flowers to be delivered to her, let alone arrive with one myself. I felt guilty about that as well.' Why didn't he ask Madonna to fly him to New York so they could be together? 'I didn't want to impose on her,' he says awkwardly, 'I wanted to be able to do these things without asking her permission. Perhaps, after such a traumatic event, neither was behaving rationally, but was there not, for Andy at least an element of relief at avoiding the responsibility of becoming a father? 'After three or four years, yes,' he says honestly. 'At the time, not even remotely.' In the past, Madonna had undergone other abortions, including one in 1990 when she began pregnant during a short-lived relationship with the bisexual film extra Tony Ward. The foetus was unhealthy and doctors advised her to terminate the pregnancy.
Throughout her 30's, the singer had given public hints of her hopes of another child. By the time she became pregnant by Andy she was 39. It is not hard to imagine why, this time, Madonna was so devastated by the choice she had made. When she returned to LA from Miami, she and Andy tried in vain to recapture the happiness of their first three months. 'It was coming up to Christmas, and I was very pleased to see her and Lola (her nickname for Lourdes),' he remembers. 'But things were never the same after that. The innocence in the relationship had already started to disappear. We couldn't go back, no matter how hard we tried.' Andy, normally laidback and gentle was becoming increasingly volatile. 'I was going to ridiculous lengths to keep out of the headlines, trying never to appear in public with her. 'But she had to do all this work: the organisation of the album and the promotional tour. My moods were very up and down, and it was difficult for us to get time together.'
In February, he decided to move out of Madonna's and rent an apartment of his own, in a part of LA known as Venice Beach. 'She was about to embark on a tour around America and Europe, and I didn't fancy the prospect of staying in the house on my own,' he says. He also wanted more autonomy, to arrange his life as he wanted, rather than constantly fitting around hers. It sounds like the beginning of the end of the relationship, but that is to underestimate the strength of their bond. Through the months that followed, as Andy tried (without much success) to establish a career as a Hollywood screenwriter, he and Madonna continued to share a deep commitment.
For Andy's birthday on February 3 the first they had spent together. Madonna threw a surprise party. 'We went to my favourite restaurant just off Hollywood Boulevard, and when we walked in I saw this huge table, full of people I knew. 'She had called up all the people I knew in Los Angeles and asked them to be there. 'Just as I sat down, two friends of mine from London - Ben and Martina walked through the door. They were the manager and assistant manager at the Met Bar, one of my favourite hang-outs in London, and she'd met them when we were in Britain. She'd paid for their flights and put them up at the Mondrian hotel, one of the best in the city. 'It was a really lovely thing to do. She knew how homesick I was. 'Martina and I were pretty close and Madonna watched us hugging and kissing each other. On our way home from dinner she turned to me and said: "Why do you like me, Andrew, when Martina is so stunningly beautiful?' It's quite sweet to think that somebody like Madonna could feel a little bit insecure and admit it.
But as Andy says it just goes to show that she's a thoroughly normal person.' For Valentine's Day that same month, she bought him a silver Swiss Army knife from Tiffany with 'Birdy be my Valentine' inscribed on it. 'Which I subsequently lost,' adds Andy, looking sheepish. With money he had saved he bought her a Tiffany necklace, with a tiny diamond. 'I used to joke with my friends, 'What do you buy the woman who has everything?' but she was actually really easy to buy presents for. She was always really gracious when she received gifts.'
Andy, meanwhile, was living a life of extraordinary contrasts. On impulse he had bought a battered 1971 Chevrolet Impala coupe. Because it broke down so often, he got to know the owners of a garage in Santa Monica. Soon, he got a job helping out there, to supplement his income from 'bits and pieces' of film work. With Madonna, meanwhile, be was attending some of the glitziest premieres and events in Hollywood - even though, to avoid the cameras, he usually joined her only at the parties afterwards.
Parties like that are work to Madonna, 'he says. 'Deals are done there, and she is brilliant at networking. Occasionally, we would catch each other's eye and have a quick chat but most of the time I just let her get on with it.' When she presented the Best Song statuette to Celine Dion at the Academy Awards, Andy missed the event itself but went to the famous post-Oscars party given by Vanity Fair magazine. 'She'd gone on ahead but had given me the passes to get in. It was great turning up at this fantastic restaurant, behind a line of presidential limousines, in my ridiculous old car.' At the party guests were given cookies decorated with the cover of the magazine in icing. It was meant to be the ultimate going-home present, a sign they had been at the most coveted social event of the year. Andy typically, was unimpressed 'I got very hungry, an I ate mine,' he says, looking mischievous.
On nights on the town like this he would rub shoulders with stars such as Jack Nicholson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 'I was always trying not to stare,' he says. 'I remember seeing Tony Curtis, whom I'd watched in Some Like It Hot and Spartacus. It was a shock to see a really old man with a well built platinum blonde on his arm.' He met Madonna's friend, Stella McCartney, the celebrity designer, a couple of times 'a lovely girl' and quite often saw her close friends Sting and Trudi Styler. His happiest times, however were spent at home with Madonna and her daughter Lourdes. 'In some ways, Madonna's a very ordinary woman who enjoys doing ordinary things,' he says.
'Like eating liquorice sticks, watching videos in bed or reading the newspapers over breakfast and not saying a word. 'A lot of people see Madonna as being quite an unhappy moody figure, but she spends far more time being happy than she does being sad. When she wants to, she can have a great sense of humour about herself. 'She used to send herself up by calling herself a creamy smooth pop icon goddess and then she would sing opera when she was heating up Pop Tarts for breakfast. 'A lot of the time we would spend playing with Lola or we'd go on family outings to Disneyland. That was probably the most fun we had, being together like a normal couple with a child. 'She got so much joy from her daughter. Just watching Lola trying to run in the park with her little legs flailing about, would set her off laughing. Nannies would take Lola over to the studio when Madonna was recording and she would take at least a couple of hours out to play with her.
I remember the first time she ever spent a night away from Lola. She had to go into the desert to shoot a video and she was so tearful at being apart from her daughter. 'I stayed at the house with Lola and the next days a car was suppose to take her out to the desert to meet her mother but it broke down. 'Madonna was just distraught she was in a state of panic until the car finally arrived and she could see Lola was safe.' Andy also met members of Madonna's family, including her brother Christopher and her father, Tony Ciccone, who owns a vineyard and winery in northern Michigan. 'He's a lovely man, very down to earth. I remember him talking about special varieties of grape that grow under heavy snowfall. 'One Christmas she bought him some piece of irrigation equipment because that was all he wanted. That's how star-struck he is.'
Madonna spoke little of her mother who died of breast cancer when she was five. 'Everybody knows she lost her mother when she was very young, and I can't even imagine how traumatic that must have been for her,' says Andy. 'I think there is probably an element of that loss in some of the lyrics she writes. You can sense it in her work. 'Her mother was deeply religious and quite passionate about the shrine at Lourdes, which is why Madonna gave that name to her daughter.'
With a flair for art and style, Madonna had many friends in the world of fashion, including the designers Donatella Versace and Stefano Gabbana. 'Because she was quite influential in launching Dolce and Gabbana by wearing their clothes in her videos, they look after her very well,' says Andy. 'At their studio in Milan they have a mannequin with her measurements and a bootmakers last in her shoe size. Vans would regularly turn up at the house with rails of their clothes for her to choose from.' Even so, not all her clothes were from designers. 'She could wear the tattiest pair of jeans and still look good in them. Often she'd walk round the house in just a Hennes vest and look fantastic. She once said to me if she didn't do what she did, she would love to have been in fashion journalism. She is very creative.' There is affection and admiration in his voice; Madonna's, he says often, is a lovely woman.
Yet, for Andy at least something had changed. For all the happy times they shared together, and his growing fondness for Lola, the differences between them, those that had first surfaced in London only to be pushed aside were becoming harder to ignore. Andy's self confidence was suffering, trying to develop film projects of his own, he felt he was only taken seriously as Madonna's boyfriend. 'I felt cheap in a way, that I'd got where I was through no merit of my own. 'When opportunities were offered. I didn't take them. I was suspicious of everyone.' Madonna, who had encouraged Andy's career was disappointed at his lack progress. 'I think she thought I had to have a career within that world in order for us to continue a successful relationship. 'Her work is so important to her, and she needed someone whose career was equally important to them. She's very driven, and she ended up wishing I was more driven, too.'
At the start of the relationship, Andy's lack of money had never seemed a problem. Now, his pride became an issue. Simple things, such as Madonna's effort to make her unashamedly scruffy lover wear new clothes, made him angry. 'I eventually bought myself some smarter outfits, but not until we'd been seeing one another for quite a while. I'd hate to think of myself m someone who can be bought. We were fighting more: such as 'Where are my socks?' - 'In the bin' - 'But they've got months left in them.' Our relationship was gradually breaking under the strain of all the things I didn't like about the situation. 'It was changing me: I certainly wasn't the person she had met. I knew I didn't belong in LA. I felt like, a child among a group of adults. And Madonna was changing, too. As time went on, she was less ready to look at the problems between us in a rose-coloured way.' Both recognised the pressures they were under 'I'm so sorry that you were threatened by my career and fame and past,' wrote Madonna sadly to Andy, later in their relationship. 'I wish I could erase all the bad memories between us and go back to LA before we left for New York and London. Before we both got scared.'
The passion that remained between them led to fierce, arguments. 'That in itself can almost make a stronger link between you, because you become locked in battle,' says Andy. 'Everything was heightened.' It was clear the situation could not go on. Finally, Andy decided to leave LA and return to London. Even then, their relationship continued, in angry phone calls and long, heartfelt letters. Neither could let go completely. It was not until late 1998 that the situation began to change.
By then, as we will see tomorrow, Madonna had met the man who would transform her life once more: a little known film-maker named Guy Ritchie.
Daily Mail - 22 January 2002
"The penniless Englishman who seduced Madonna"
PART THREE / FINAL
Exclusive by Alice Fowler
Andy Bird remembers clearly the moment his girlfriend Madonna first set eyes on Guy Ritchie. There was, he notes carefully, a 'chemistry' between them. Ironically it is the very word he uses to describe the start of their own extraordinary love affair, just a year before. Bird, an unassuming and virtually penniless Englishman, who was scratching out a living as an aspiring film screenwriter, had been introduced to her through a mutual friend. A sexual spark was struck, and he suddenly found himself the boyfriend of the most famous woman on the planet. It was one of the most unexpected but tumultuous affairs of Madonna's amazing life.
As we have already seen, in this series, she was carrying Andy's child within three months. But although he stirred profound feelings in the singer touching her more deeply than previous celebrity lovers such as Warren Beatty and John Kennedy Jr, Andy was unable to cope with the constant blaze off publicity in which she lived. Uncertain of their future together Madonna aborted their child. And by the time she met Ritchie in the summer of 1998 she and Andy were living apart. Madonna was in the US with her daughter Lourdes (known as Lola), promoting her album Ray Of Light. Andy was in London, resuming his bohemian life in Notting Hill. His first job when he returned was to work on the door of his old haunt, the Met Bar in Mayfair, not surprisingly, the fact that Madonna's boyfriend was working as a glorified bouncer instantly made the papers.
'I was flat broke.' he explains shrugging apologetically 'The manager was one of my friends, and I needed the money.' His relationship with Madonna continued in long, fraught phone calls and letters in which they tried to make amends for the rows. 'It's Mother's Day, and I have just put Lola to sleep,' wrote Madonna in one typical letter. 'The past few hours I've been distracted with thoughts of you and our last conversation. 'I hate to fight with you especially around Lola. I hate it when you call me names. The whole time we argue, all I really want to say to you is that I wish you were here and I was looking to your eyes. 'It's been so long since we've seen each other - and nothing would make me happier. But we never seem to get to tenderness because you we still so angry with me. You save your tender words for Lola and it hurts me so.' Both of them feIt anxious and insecure.
When the newspapers discovered that Andy was back in London, they labelled him 'broken-hearted Andy Bird' and were quick to speculate that Madonna had moved on to other men. Andy says: 'I read one report that Robbie Williams had been having dinner with her. In fact, it was all down to some over-zealous public relations person, met they'd never even met. 'But when you're on the other side of the Atlantic, you think: 'What the hell are you doing?' It would frustrate her that I would suddenly start quizzing her about stuff in the papers.' Madonna had questions of her own. 'She knew I'd recovered if not all then certainly some of my anonymity. To a certain extent I could run around and do what I wanted to do. If I'd have wanted to have an affair, I could have done. 'There was hostility on her side.' How would I know if you were doing anything?'she would say. It wasn't really jealousy, but it was definitely uncertainty.' Did they stay faithful to one another? 'I can only speak for myself,' says Andy. 'But yes, I did. The trust in the relationship had pretty much disappeared by then, but not because we'd started having other relationships. It's just that when you're arguing all the time, you do lose your trust.'
Despite the tensions, neither was prepared to give up on each other - or as Andy puts it, 'concede defeat.' Almost every other weekend he would fly to the U.S. 'I'd spend two or three days In New York, then fly back to London for a couple of weeks. It sounds glamorous but it wasn't at all. It was actually quite laborious. 'We couldn't really communicate. By the time we'd be getting used to being with one another again, it would be time for me to leave. 'Madonna was still very helpful, she paid for the flights far more regularly than I did. But you have to be very solid to continue a long-distance relationship and our foundations were really non-existent.' At times, the affair seems to have descended into farce. 'There was always an issue about how smelly my feet were, especially when I was travelling backwards and forwards to New York. When I got to her apartment and took my shoes off, Lola would be going, 'Pooh! Stinky Andrew!' Madonna used to make me wash my feet before I got into bed, with hydrogen peroxide, which Americana use as antiseptic.
'Her apartment in New York had a balcony overlooking Central Park, with a big urn on it. Once. I ran out there in my stockinged feet to have a cigarette, and took my socks off and put them in the urn. 'I got a call from her three weeks later saying Lola had been pointing at this urn saying "Stinky Andrew" because she'd found my socks. That kind of thing was very funny. But I think I as beginning to stretch Madonna's sense of humour somewhat.' Yet - remarkably, perhaps - a deep well of affection remained as Madonna's letters show. 'We haven't spoken for a week and it makes me very sad, but there's nothing I can do, so I'm sending you this note and some music I'd like you to listen to,' she wrote after one argument. 'I think of you so often when I listen to music. I feel it's the one thing we have that has not been tainted is a love of good music. 'You have a very good ear. The fact is there is nothing you wouldn't be good at, given the right circumstances. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you have so much talent and creativity inside you. It just needs to be manifested. 'You have so much to offer the universe I look forward to seeing into your heart. You are still so deeply embedded in my heart.'
Sometimes she would send Andy touching presents. 'After one bout of arguing, she put together a lovely little parcel for me, with a scented candle, some magazines, a little picture Lola had drawn, a letter and a CD,' he remembers. 'Occasionally, she would send money. That would make me feel pretty rough, and I'd invariably give it away. But I suppose she wanted to help and show she cared.'
For weeks the relationship waxed and waned. 'Just when I thought I couldn't take any more, something would happen to give us breathing space for the next round. She'd write me letters and I'd write to her. 'We'd be breaking up all the time, maybe not talking for a few days. Then we'd call each other up, or send long faxes. There was never a point when it really ended.'
This was the stormy, uncertain background against which Madonna first met Guy Ritchie another handsome Englishman, also involved in film-making, although with rather more success than Andy Bird. The singer had come to London for work, and had been invited to a barbecue at the Wiltshire home of Sting and his wife Trudi Styler. Trudi was a close friend of Madonna and was also involved in Ritchie's new film, Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels.
For Andy and Madonna's, the day of the barbecue had started badly. She was keen for him to come with her, while he wanted to see some of his friends. 'I was heading home after seeing her at her hotel when she rang me on the mobile, asking if I was sure I didn't want to go,' he remembers. 'I wasn't keen because I was still wearing the clothes I'd had on the night before and was hardly dressed for barbecue, but I agreed to go with her. 'Her chauffeured Mercedes people-carrier picked me up on Pack Lane and I just jumped in next to the driver. Madonna - who was in the back with one of her assistants and Lola - interpreted this as a snub. 'It wasn't meant that way at all - but things went downhill from there. By the time we got to the party we were hardly speaking to each other.
'Trudi introduced us both to Guy and I could see a chemistry between him and Madonna. They looked good together - they kind of fitted. There was an instant interest and they started chatting straight away.' When they all sat down for dinner Madonna wanted Andy to sit next to her. Instead, he sat at the other end of the table with Lola. At least sitting next to Lola, I knew we wouldn't have an argument. Madonna ended up sitting next to Guy and they seemed to be getting on really well. Surprisingly, perhaps, Andy insists he felt no jealousy. 'There didn't seem to be anything to be jealous about. I'd seen that they'd hit it off at the start but now they were just two people at a party, chatting away like everyone else.
To this day, Andy insists that he knows nothing of how Madonna's relationship with Ritchie developed over the following months. But by March 1999, when he next met Guy, his own relationship with Madonna was over and Ritchie had very obviously taken his place. Their chance encounter at the Met Bar was to generate sensational headlines suggesting Ritchie had flattened his supposed rival in an ugly brawl. But that's not how Andy Bird remembers it. 'I was there with friend, and he was, too,' Andy says. 'We ended up having a chat. It was very loud and we went to have a talk about things in the lobby, which was quieter. 'I suppose I was saying 'no hard feelings', which was obviously a one-sided sentiment. Probably I said something derogatory about her, or about her life. Whatever it was, he suddenly pushed me over. 'It was out I nowhere - I was sitting on a chair and he pushed me off. But it wasn't the big brawl that some people have claimed.' Wisely, Andy did not respond and returned to the bar, while the doormen threw Ritchie out.
Why, though, did Guy react so violently? Perhaps he saw Andy as a threat, or at least a thorn in his side. Bird remains mystified by the scuffle, but refuses to speak harshly of the man who displaced him in Madonna's affections. 'Who knows what Madonna might have told him about me?' he says. 'But it wasn't like I was standing in his way. I wasn't in touch with Madonna by this stage and I don't think I even had her phone number. 'He clearly had - and has - very strong feelings for her. He'd had a drop to drink, and love can make you do silly things,' Possibly, Ritchie was simply aware of how intensely his girlfriend still cared for Andy.
In the months after Guy and Madonna met, she had continued to see Andy regularly. For her 40th birthday in August 1998 - not long after her first meeting with Guy it was Andy whom she flew but to be at her side. 'I went over to New York for a week and we had a couple of days together at her apartment,' Andy remembers. 'Then she chartered a small sea-place to take us from Manhattan to this gross Hugh Hefner-style mansion in the Hamptons that she had hired for her birthday. 'There were the two of us, her brother Christopher, her assistant, plus Lola, the nanny and a couple of friends. Then we were joined by about 30 people at the mansion and we had a lovely dinner party. 'We played silly party games and everyone seemed to have a great time. Her masseuse came along and gave everyone massages as her present to Madonna. 'After dinner, we went into this huge cinema that was in the mansion and watched the new film of The Avengers. But it was so awful that I went off into the video library and came back with In The Heat Of The Night, with Sidney Poitier, which everyone enjoyed.' At the time, Madonna was deeply influenced by Memoirs Of A Geisha. Arthur Golden's compelling novel about the eroticism and exploitation of a Japanese geisha. Back in London, Andy had bought an antique kimono for Madonna and a smaller one for Lola. 'I also got a huge chunk of silvercoloured metal and, with a friend of mine, carved her out a huge silver heart, which I took over for her. It must have weighed more than a house brick and she seemed to appreciate it. 'But we still had an argument, even on her birthday. I wasn't feeling well and kept disappearing to throw up, and she accused me of being ill on purpose to spoil her birthday.'
For months the arguments dragged on. 'One of us would slam the phone down and ring back just to slam it down again,' says Andy. 'She changed her numbers, I changed mine. It was almost like a competition, neither of us wanted to admit defeat. Neither of us was very good at saying sorry and we would never admit to being in the wrong.' For Madonna, Andy's whole approach to life was the easy-going, impulsive style that had helped bring them together in the first place - was wearing thin. 'I'm irresponsible in fundamental ways, which did become an issue' he concedes. It was about whether I could say to Madonna: 'I can look after you.' That was important, Madonna may have grown up looking after herself and everyone else around her, but I think she does want to be looked after. 'Not looked after financially, necessarily - that would be a daunting task. But to have someone who at least contributes to the household, who organises things, takes responsibility for things. 'Even if you can look after yourself particularly well, as she can, you want that.'
Certainly, Madonna had always been frustrated by Bird's laid back attitude to his career. In Guy Ritchie she found a man whose ambition matched her own.' But it was also a matter of emotional commitment. The truth is, with seven years between them, Andy and Madonna may simply have wanted different things. 'I think she was looking for a caring, stable relationship. I know she wanted another child, but I knew that I wasn't ready to become a parent.' Had fate run a little differently, it is conceivable that Madonna could have ended up marrying Andy Bird rather than Guy Ritchie. But Andy remains sceptical - even if they'd had a child, he says, it would not have made a difference. 'We would still have broken up. There were serious difficulties. Having a child wouldn't have changed our personalities, it ought have made us a little less headstrong but I don't think, ultimately, we would have stayed together. The relationship might just have lasted a little longer, that's all.'
Indeed, looking back, he is unsure how deep their feelings really were. 'In hindsight I'd have to look deep inside me to say we fell in love. 'It's very difficult to quantify those feelings when you're in the moment, whether it's infatuation, or desire, or love. But I don't really think we were in love.' It's a difficult claim to accept when you look back at Madonna's letters to Andy, where she talks of a love she describes as 'profound and immense' add tells him, 'I will never get over you.' The evidence, indeed, appears to entirely contradict his self-effacing verdict. But then, even though he has chosen to tell his story, Bird is a touchingly diffident man, determined not to exaggerate his role in Madonna's life.
In July 1999, over two evenings, they saw each other for the final time. Madonna had flown to London and was staying at the exclusive private members' club, Home House. Out of the blue she phoned Bird and invited him over, after seeing Guy Ritchie earlier that evening. 'I don't know why we saw each other then,' Andy says. 'Maybe it was just so that we could, in some kind of way, say our goodbyes to each other. The chemistry was no longer there. 'The anger still flared up because we are a couple of fighters, but our feelings had changed. The passion that had been there at the beginning of our relationship had gone by that stage. 'We had dinner together and chatted about what we had been doing, I can't remember what our last words were that night, I remember the emotions more than the words. There was resignation and a certain amount of sorrow, but no regrets that it hadn't worked out between us. 'She's certainly not one for regrets, She's very forward-looking and positive, as you can see from what she's achieved in her life.'
Even then, Madonna could not part from Andy completely. She called him the next day and arranged to meet him for dinner at a restaurant called Bali Sugar in Notting Hill. 'We actually got on much better that time. She had just got back from staying at Donatella Versace's place on Lake Como, and she'd bought a video camera with her so I could see where she had been staying. We had a pleasant conversation and then she went back to Home House, packed and got on a plane that night. Even then, we couldn't say we would never see each other again and we spoke subsequently on the phone. 'I was supposed to go over to Miami for her birthday the following month but it was at the height of the season and I couldn't afford the £800 for the flight. 'She was saying things such as 'If you really loved me you would find the money and I was saying, if you really loved me you would understand my situation.' So we didn't see each other again. I think we were both exhausted and had finally ground each other down.'
That Christmas, Madonna wrote to him one last time. 'It was just before she and Guy announced her pregnancy, She just said 'Hi, I hope things we OK with you. Lola still mentions you occasionally. Maybe we should meet it would be nice to have a chat about things.' Andy did not respond. 'It didn't really warrant it. It was just a few words on a Christmas card. She sent it to a restaurant I used to go to, and I only got it a month and a half later.' By then, he explains, the moment had passed: the world knew she was having a baby. 'I felt she was opening a new chapter in her life. By that stage, I definitely had as well.' How did he feel, after the loss of their own child, hearing Madonna was pregnant with another man? It didn't affect me,' he says evenly. 'By then, my head was somewhere else. Already it seemed another life. 'I did feel pleased for her. And from the little bits of information that filter through to me I understand they we very happy.'
It seems an odd coincidence that, after Andy, Madonna should go on to marry another Englishman. Andy, however says he saw little sign of a hankering for English men. 'She was married to Sean Penn and had a long relationship with Warren Beatty, and there's nothing remotely English about them. 'Since she and Guy got together, she's probably discovered quite a lot of nice things about England. But I don't think she was looking for an English husband.' While Madonna has found happiness with Ritchie - and given birth to a son Rocco - Andy has stepped back into the shadows. Today, he has another, happy relationship. He has grown up, it seems, in the past few years. Even now, his phone still rings with people wanting to talk to him about Madonna.
There have been some false suggestions that he is planning to write a book about his experiences, in fact, he hopes that by telling his story in this series, he can draw a line beneath the whole episode and get on with the rest of his life. He has, he says fervently, few regrets. I can look back and categorically say Madonna's a lovely, lovely person. But I definitely wasn't the right person for her, add she wasn't for me.' In the end, the contrasts that once seemed so alluring tore the relationship apart. Then love was at its best, an extraordinary fairy tale. Sadly, as with most real-life fairy tales, there could be no lasting happy ending.