FAMED AUSTRALIANS #3
FRONTMAN, AUSSIE ROCK GROUP INXS
Twenty- Five Years of Pain
It’s been 25 years since the tragic death of rock star Michael Hutchence and Tiger is the little girl whose parents tragically never got to see her grow up.
At the ripe old age of 24, Tiger Lily Hutchence-Geldof has grown into a remarkably beautiful young woman – and is the spitting image of her father, former INXS frontman Michael Hutchence.
Tiger was just over a year old when her father died – and only four-years-old when her mother Paula Yates suffered a fatal drugs overdose. This is how her life all unfolded.
Michael Kelland John Hutchence was an Australian musician and actor. He was also the founding member and lead singer of rock band INXS from 1977 to 1997.
Born 22 January 1960, to Sydney Businessman Kell and make-up artist Patricia, Michael also has a half sister and younger brother Rhett. Due to his fathers ever demanding career, the family Hutchence, moved from Sydney to Brisbane and then onto Hong Kong, where Michael showed a lot of promise in a possible swimming career, however it was cut short when he had a bad accident, breaking his arm quite badly.
Finally the family returned to Sydney’s Northern Beaches when Michael was in his mid teens. It was around this time at Killarney Heights High School where he befriended Andrew Farriss. Together with Andrews brothers, the boys spent a lot of their spare time jamming in the garage. Michael impressed Andrew, so he asked him to join his band “Doctor Dolphin” with other classmates Kent Kerny and Neil Sanders. From another nearby school, two more recruits Bass guitarist Garry Beers and on drums Geoff Kennelly made the group complete. The boys took their music very seriously but it was all about to come crashing down as, Hutchence’s parents decided to separate and subsequently end their marriage. He was 15 years old when reluctantly he was packed off to live with his mother and half sister Tina in California for a short time.
THE BIRTH OF INXS
When Hutchence returned to Sydney, with his mother in 1977, Andrew Farriss had started up a group “The Farris Brothers” with Tim Farris on lead guitar, brother Andrew on Keyboards, and younger brother Jon on drums. Andrew then convinced Michael to be on board as lead singer, also adding Beers on bass guitar and Kirk Pengilly on guitar and saxophone. The boys regularly were a support act to Aussie band “Midnight Oil” and even cut a few demo tracks before they decided on a name change to INXS in 1979.
Hutchence then became the main spokesperson for the band which is totally out of character for the long haired, macho cool, sexually appealing young singer. All his friends maintain if you got to know him, he was far more introverted than his onstage persona.
Between 1979 and 1989, INXS won many awards and had a very successful career in the Australian, US and European music scene with hits like, “Need you tonight”, “Just keep walking.” “Devil Inside,” and “New Sensation” just to name a few. In 1989, Hutchence collaborated with Olsen for the Max Q project. Together they released a self tiltled album and three singles. The band disbanded in 1990.
KYLIE MINOGUE – Singer, Actor, Delinquent
Kylie and Michael met at a bash after the Countdown Awards, the programs final show, in July 1987. He was the charismatic rock-god frontman of INXS, a band who’s name says it all. She was eight years his junior, the girl next door soapy starlet whose pop debut, had unexpectedly topped the charts.
Hutchence had a bad-boy reputation and widely reported taste for supermodels, Kylie had a steady boyfriend in Jason Donovan, her small screen love interest.
Witnesses confirmed that upon seeing Kylie in the distance, he jumped from his seat and flung himself towards Kylie, declaring for all to hear that he wanted to f@#k her. The 20 year old was startled. Hutchence then smiled at her, excused himself in a softer tone and slipped back into the crowd.
Upon being interviewed that night, Kylie was quoted as saying, “I thoroughly enjoyed the Countdown Awards, and I was worried sick that all the big time rock music people would look down on me, but they were really nice. Michael Hutchence made an effort to come over and say hi, which was nice of him”.
A year later, Hutchence was nice again when he spotted Kylie and her then boyfriend Jason Donovan at and INXS concert. He invited them to kick on back at the bands hotel. Whilst Jason was distracted, Hutchence cornered Kylie and the two spent the evening sitting on his bed, heads together, whispering and laughing.
A year later, Kylie quit Neighbours to focus on her recording career. It was August 1988 when Kylie was about to commence her first international tour, “Disco in Dream” so she decided to take a short break in Hong Kong before touring. As it happened Hutchence kept an apartment there. The moment she arrived, Hutchence was his charming self, knocking on her door and next thing poor Jason has got the flick.
Jason recalls, “That was when their relationship began and mine ended. The drama unfolded in a brief phone call in 1989 whilst she was in Hong Kong and he was in New York”.
Jason later found out from his manager that they had met up in Hong Kong and he didn’t take it well. He never went to an INXS concert after that.
By the time the two-year affair ended, it had transformed a singing budgie into a sex vixen. It didn’t do Michael any harm either.
In 1990, INXS released X, which attributed to international hits “Suicide Blonde” and “Disappear”. It was prior to this that Hutchence met Kylie Minogue and she asked him to partner her for the premiere of her 1989 film ‘The Deliquents” which depicts her in a platinum blonde wig. Hutchence and Farriss wrote the song after kylie used the phrase, suicide blonde, to describe her own look during filming.
It came as no surprise that they would hook up given that Michael’s private life was often reported in the Australian and international press, as having had a string of love affairs with prominent actresses, models and singers.
Helena Christensen – The Model
Michael Hutchence’s relationship with Helena Christensen began after the pair were introduced by fashion photographer Herb Ritts. Hutchence soon became smitten with the Danish supermodel, which proved to be problematic as he was still dating Kylie Minogue. When rumours began to surface about his infidelity, it is alleged Kylie confronted him, leaving Michael with no choice but to make ‘the other woman’ his only woman.
After the break up with Kylie, he seemed to have found a stable long time relationship with new love interest Helena Christensen. However one fateful night Christensen and Hutchence decided to go out cycling, after an evening of partying. Hutchence was drunk and riding a bicycle home, down the middle of a street. After refusing to move out of the path of a taxi, the irate driver stepped out of his vehicle and punched Hutchence; his head violently hit the kerb, knocking him out. As a result, Hutchence’s fractured skull left him with substantial loss of the sense of smell and partial loss of taste. Michael suffered increased levels of aggression and depression, even after two weeks of intensive therapy in a Copenhagen hospital. Beers recalls one time Hutchence pulling a knife on him and threatening to kill him during the 1993 recording of Full Moon, Dirty Hearts on the isle of Capri. Over those six weeks, Michael threatened or physically confronted nearly every member of the band.
When the band received a less than positive success with next release Full Moon, Dirty Hearts, they all took time off to be with their families, however Michael remained in the public eye because of his continuing romances.
In 1994 the gossip magazines had rumours of marriage between Helena and Michael, but nothing could have been further from the truth, with the pair seeming to drift apart. Helena’s career was taking off while Michael’s was stuck in a rut. What finally ended the relationship was the ever present eye of the UK tabloids which caught Michael on a secret rendezvous with Bob Geldof’s soon to be ex-wife, and Michael’s soon to be new girlfriend, Paula Yates.
Paula Yates – The TV Presenter and Married Woman
Around the mid 1990’s Hutchence and Christensen ended their relationship which sent Michael back into the recording studio to work on a self titled “solo” album. It was also around this time he renewed his friendship with UK TV Presenter Paula Yates. Hutchence and Yates met back in 1985, when she interviewed him for her program “The Tube” and at that time she was married to Bob Geldof, lead singer of UK Band “Boomtown Rats” and later the force behind “Live Aid”.
By the time these two had hooked up again, Yates and Geldofs marriage, was in deep crisis. In 1994, Yates interviewed Hutchence for her new TV show “Big Breakfast” and their on going affair was uncovered by the British Press. It was a very hard time for all, as Yates and Geldof also had their three girls to consider, Fifi, Trixibelle, Peaches, Honey-blossom and Little Pixie. Yes, these are their children’s names, go figure.
The media attached themselves to the young lovers and in a fit of rage, one particular time, Hutchence had had enough and assaulted one of the photographers who was following them. Yates and Geldof divorced in May 1996 after a very bitter custody battle over the children.
Two months after the divorce Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence was rumoured to be born, in the couples bathroom at home. The name was very unusual, with Pixie choosing Heavenly, Hutchence chose Hiraani, and Yates provided Tiger Lily. Later to be known as “Tiger” this was to be Hutchence’s only child.
After a long absence from the music scene, INXS finally banded together again to produce another album “Elegantly Wasted” which received a lukewarm response by critics and the music industry.
The band went on a world tour to promote the album which was having less chart success than prior releases. The final leg of this tour was to have taken place in November/December in Australia, but this wasn’t to come to fruition.
For Inxs, Michael was an international phenomenon. His command of the stage earn’t him comparisons to Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison. Michael could just sit on a stool all night long, not sing a note, not move a muscle, and he would still be the most charismatic person in the room.
Michael loved to live his life on the edge, and the press were there to publish every little slip. Every time he was seen with a woman, it became front page news. He loved women and the women loved him. Party, Party, Party. But according to Michaels closest friends, they paint a picture of a man who’s rock star life, led him down a road of uncertainty, and massive self doubt. Michael felt like he had no “real friends”. That their were very few people he could actually count on and fully trust. And then their was the loneliness side to this life, Yes hard to imagine hey, but yes Michael was lonely. He could make love to numerous women in one night, but at the end of it, he would be alone, and at the end of his life, he died alone.
HUTCHENCE DEAD AT 37
On the morning of 22 November 1997, Hutchence at the tender age of 37, was found dead in Room 524 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Double Bay, Sydney by the hotels housekeeping staff. The turn of events that took place in that room in the early hours of Saturday proved that even the world’s most organised and luxurious hotels have moments they cannot control. It also proved there’s nothing like a bit of global scandal to help put your hotel on the map to ensure everlasting fame.
Hutchence had been preparing for INXS’s 20th Anniversary Tour, when the shocking news was relayed to his fellow band mates, who were waiting for him at the rehearsal studios, for a final run-through of songs prior to the first concert.
It was well documented that Hutchence was battling a clinically diagnosed depression, which was being exasperated by a child custody row in London over his daughter Tiger Lily. He wanted her, her two sisters and their mother all with him in Australia for Christmas.
Hutchence has just returned to his hotel room at 10.30pm the previous night, after an evening out with his father Kell, who later reported that Hutchence had been in a jovial mood despite all his worries and had even danced his way though the entrance of the hotel when he dropped him off.
Hutchence continued a low-key party with his friend and actress Kym Wilson and her boyfriend. Kym and her then boyfriend Andrew Reyment were the last two people to see Michael alive when they left him waiting for a call from Yates in London at 4.50am. Yates was to inform Hutchence if she was bringing Tiger to Australia with her, to spend time with Michael as he wound up the tour. Whilst alone in his room, the call came through from Yates and it clearly wasn’t good news as a guest in the next room Gail Coward was awoken shortly after 5.00am by the rock star arguing loudly. The custody matter had not been finalised and was adjourned until December 17, so Yates would not be bringing the children to Australia.
Phone records revealed that Hutchence then made a call to his personal manager Martha Troup. As she didn’t answer, he left this very disturbing message on her voicemail – “Marth, Michael here”. “I’ve fucking had enough”.
Later when Troup was to call him back, she was met with no answer. Hutchence then made his very last call to former longtime girlfriend Michele Bennett, in a very distressed state, crying, upset and asking to see her.
Bennett then made her way to the hotel and arrived at his door at about 10.40 but their was no answer. She left and at 11.50am, Hutchence was discovered in a kneeling position facing the door by the Hotels housekeeping maid. She immediately secured the room, calling her manager, who then informed the police. Hutchence had used his snake skin belt to tie a knot on the automatic door closure at the top of the door, and had strained his head forward into the loop so hard that the buckle broke. It was also noted many drugs were found in that room.
The coroner was later to rule it was “death by suicide” which Yates tried to have overturned and wanted the coroner Derek Hand, to overturn his findings and deliver an open verdict, as she was convinced that Hutchence accidentally killed himself whilst trying to perform a so called auto-erotic sex act. Yates was later to reveal graphic details about the unusual sex life of her partner.
Yates was convinced Michael was performing auto-erotic asphyxia, a dangerous form of masturbation where the person deliberately restricts his oxygen supply supposedly in a bid to heighten the pleasure of the sexual act and gratification.
Professor Steve Hucker also added as a world authority on auto-erotic asphyxia, that the New South Wales police and state coroner Derek Hand missed vital clues which all pointed to accidental death rather than suicide. But it wasn’t to be.
The coroners report stated, An analysis report of the deceased blood indicates the presence of alcohol, cocaine, Prozac and other prescription drugs.
On consideration of the entirety of the evidence gathered, I am satisfied that the deceased was in a severe depressed state on the morning of 22 November 1997, due to an on going dispute with Sir Bob Geldof, combined with the effects of substances that he had ingested at the time.
As indicated, I am satisfied that the deceased intended and did take his own life, said the coroner.
Paula’s – Own Downward Spiral
Adding to the tragedy was the news that Yates and Hutchence were to be married in Bora Bora the following January. After the death of her partner, Yates herself began her own downward spiral, which ultimately led to her death in September 2000. Four year old Tiger Lily was said to be in the house at the time playing next to the body of her dead mother. It was Tiger who answered a call from one of Yates’s friends which prompted her to go and check on her friend at around 10 am when the discovery was made. At just four years old, Tiger Lily was an orphan – and one of the world’s most famous orphans at that.
Bob Geldof made this statement upon learning of the death of his former wife. “It doesn’t require much imagination to understand the pain. Please do nothing to add to that. We are all so sad. The loss for all the children is insupportable. Leave them to their loss and Paula with her dignity”.
Bob is said to have considered killing himself and fought a universe of grief after his partner of 20 years Paula Yates left him and went into decline that led to her death from an accidental heroin overdose. There was only one thing that prevented that thought from actually eventuating, his children.
“When she left me, I was destroyed. I loved her very much and I didn’t understand why? I never saw it coming.
The decline and fall of Yates was a movie in the making, to be played out on a public stage. Over the years he has found it easier to talk about the loss of his ex wife, but he is no closer to understanding the turn of events that led to it.
BOB – GETS FULL CUSTODY OF TIGER
During the custody battle that Geldof waged with Yates, the former Boomtown Rats frontman claimed his main concern at the time was to protect his children from all the madness.
He totally understood on one level they were a “media family” and that their lives had been a national soap opera for some time, but the collapse of their marriage was just awful and he could do nothing about it. It just all seemed to be headed towards an inevitable end.
In 2000, after the death of Yates from a drug and alcohol overdose, Geldof became the legal guardian of Tiger Lily believing it best that she be raised with her three half-sisters. In 2007, Geldof formally adopted her, changing her name to Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence-Geldof although she simply goes by the name Tiger Hutchence –Geldof.
Geldof currently resides in Battersea, South London after marrying his long time partner, French actress Jeanne Marine
TIGER – And her fortune (NOT)
in the years since the legendary Australian performer ended his own life, his only child has largely managed to avoid the spotlight. She was based in London, living in a student share house.
The one thing she is quite disturbed about, is that there doesn’t seem to be any legal acknowledgement or even financial acknowledgment that she is her father’s daughter. The entire estate has been stolen.
In 2017, it was reported on ABC’s Four Corners that Hutchence’s estate and his trust was controlled by his former lawyer, and Tiger Lily’s godfather, Colin Diamond. Diamond was outed in the biggest ever leak of secret documents outlining the offshore dealings of politicians, celebrities and world leaders in the so-called Paradise Papers. Among them were documents detailing how the late INXS singer’s lawyer owned the rights to the singer’s work. Rhett Hutchence (brother) also alleged on Four Corners that Diamond exploited his brother’s assets immediately after his death.
Tiger Lily was due to inherit a share of her father’s estate when she turned 21. To date, she hasn’t received a cent because there is nothing left.
And to add salt to the wound, Tiger doesn’t seem the be the recipient of the INXS percentages either. There’s been no communication there. Her dodgy accountant hasn’t been receiving the royalties for quite a while because they’ve been stopped, but where do they all go?
Last year, the new documentary Mystify: Michael Hutchence delves into the life and relationships of the late singer. Richard Lowenstein, who created the documentary and directed a number of film clips for INXS, met with Hutchence’s reclusive daughter Tiger Lily at her London apartment to show the now 22-year-old the first cut of the documentary and she loved it. There was so much about her father she never knew. When she did look at the rough cut of the film, she got very emotional, largely because there was a whole side to Michael she’d never known. After watching the demo, she did say that she would prefer to not see it again.
Lowenstein paid her a licence fee for her dad’s solo recordings, four songs they used in the film – it was a nice chunk of money for a kid her age and she was so grateful. She said, ‘This is the first money I’ve ever received from my dad’s artistic endeavours’.
Hutchence’s older sister, Tina, also claims Tiger Lily and the rest of the family haven’t received their share of Hutchence’s missing fortune.
Michaels estate paid for Tiger’s school, nanny and upkeep until she turned 18, but the big payments she was supposed to receive at different stages of her life, when she turned 18 and 21, never arrived.
Rhett worked with INXS for 20 years and he wanted to leave money for his daughter and family but he hasnt seen a penny, Tina says.
In 2018, it was reported that Tiger Lily had graduated from a psychology degree and was dating Nicholas Allbrook, a former member of Australian band Tame Impala. Since, rumours have been circulating that the two are engaged, however, in an interview recently with “Woman;s Day”, Tiger said that both she and Nick have spoken about their commitment to each other, and in their own way, they are engaged.
The pair are currently living in Fremantle together.
RIP – MICHAEL HUTCHENCE (1960 – 1997)