- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Paul denies abuse

Lawyers for Paul McCartney said yesterday that he will “vigorously” defend himself against claims of abuse made by his estranged wife, Heather Mills McCartney, Associated Press reports.

Britain’s Daily Mail yesterday reported details of a purported court document containing accounts of acrimony and mistreatment during their four-year marriage. In the story, Mrs. Mills McCartney, 38, accuses the ex-Beatle, 64, of being domineering, abusive and frequently drunk or high on drugs.

She also says he was violent four times during furious rows in which he:

• Stabbed her in the arm with a broken wineglass, leaving her scarred.

• Shoved her, sending her flying over a coffee table.

• Grabbed her around the throat.

• Pushed her into a bath while she was pregnant.

Mrs. Mills McCartney, a former model who lost her leg in a traffic accident in 1993, also claims that the rock demigod demanded she cook his dinner every night — even when she was on crutches with a broken pelvic plate — and that he would not let her have an antique bedpan under their bed to save her crawling to the bathroom at night, saying it would be like “an old woman’s home.”

She also accused him of trying to stop her from breast-feeding their daughter, Beatrice, telling her: “They are my breasts.” Mrs. Mills McCartney also says that she once found Mr. McCartney lying naked and semiconscious in the bath covered with vomit after one of his frequent drinking binges.

According to the Daily Mail, the court papers are Mrs. Mills McCartney’s response to her estranged husband’s petition for divorce, filed in July. The papers reportedly were “leaked” to Britain’s Press Association and Bloomberg news agencies in a fax — a move that’s being viewed by Mr. McCartney’s side as part of a dirty-tricks campaign, the Daily Mail reported.

Mrs. Mills McCartney’s spokesman, Phil Hall, described the divorce proceedings as “highly confidential” and said he could not confirm whether the document was genuine. He said Mrs. Mills McCartney had been “shocked” by the story in the Daily Mail. Mishcon de Reya, the law firm representing Mrs. Mills McCartney in the divorce, said it would not comment on “leaked or allegedly leaked documents.”

According to AP, Mr. McCartney’s law firm said the legendary musician “would very much like to respond in public and in detail to the claims made against him by his wife and published in the press, but he recognizes, on advice, that the only correct forum for his response to the allegations made against him is in the current divorce proceedings.”

Mrs. Lovett cast

Helena Bonham-Carter will star as the diabolical meat-pie manufacturer Mrs. Lovett opposite demon barber Johnny Depp in a movie version of “Sweeney Todd,” Agence France-Presse reports.

Mrs. Lovett, played onstage by Angela Lansbury and, more recently, by Patti LuPone, is a murderess who dispenses with her victims’ bodies in meat pies. Tim Burton, Miss Bonham-Carter’s fiance, will direct.

It’s finally over

In another celebrity-couple split, Whitney Houston is divorcing Bobby Brown after a tumultuous 14-year marriage marked by drug arrests and stints in rehab.

The pop singer filed divorce papers in Orange County Superior Court this week, a month after filing for legal separation from Mr. Brown, Miss Houston’s publicist, Nancy Seltzer, said Tuesday. Mr. Brown’s attorney, Phaedra Parks, declined to comment, AP said.

Miss Houston, 43, had asked in her separation papers that she be granted custody of the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and that Mr. Brown, 37, be allowed visitation rights. The couple wed in 1992, with Miss Houston at the height of her fame as a Grammy-winning superstar known for such hits as “I Will Always Love You.” Mr. Brown won acclaim for his gritty R&B; songs as a one-time member of the boy band New Edition.

During their marriage, Mr. Brown was arrested for drugs and alcohol abuse and Miss Houston twice entered drug rehabilitation programs. Mr. Brown, who also has two teenage children with a Massachusetts woman, recently paid up to $11,000 in delinquent child support after being threatened with arrest two weeks ago if he stepped back into the state.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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