By Eileen Murphy
Start spreading the news — he’s leaving today. Or some time in the near-distant future, anyway. He wants to be a part of it: New York, New York.
We refer, of course, to reports that Bono, like almost everyone else on the planet, is seeking an ‘umble shack to call his own on the romantic island of Manhattan. We hear that the U2 frontman recently looked at a $3.6 million townhouse in Soho, and will no doubt be looking at other downtown properties.
If Bono and family move here, they’ll be within brunching distance of bandmate Larry Mullen Jr., who has a place uptown. Of course, if Bono finds the townhouse a bit pricey, he could always look a little farther north — there’s plenty of space available in the Bronx. In fact, if he bought something in Woodlawn — maybe a nice two family, so he could rent out half to cover the mortgage — with all the Irish shops up there, he’d feel as if he’d never left home at all, at all. And there’s always the express bus into Manhattan. And there’s a nice Waldbaum’s on McLean . . .
Leopards and kids: a bad mix?
Yes, yes, it’s axiomatic that rock stars marry models, or at the very least, women who look an awful lot like models. Of course, it’s also a given that, after a few thousand (s)miles, they like to trade in their older models for newer ones. Need proof? Look no further than Mick and Jerry, Rod and Rachel, Axl and Stephanie, etc., etc.
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But in the case of the divorce of Dublin-based heavy metal god Joe Elliott of Def Leopard and his photogenic Irish wife, Karla, it hasn’t been so much a split as an escape from "mental torture." At least, that’s what Karla’s court papers alleged.
Citing Elliott’s refusal to have children, and no doubt kept awake at night by the ticking of her biological clock, Karla took Elliott to court. She won a £1 million divorce settlement.
Elliott paid up, but has said publicly that he made it clear that he never wanted children.
"If I didn’t do what I do, I think I’d make a great father," said the rock star. "But I don’t want a kid growing up thinking that a nanny is his mother. . . . Or bring a nanny on the road and you have a kid who keeps wailing his head off and pissing off the other four guys in the band . . ."
Well, it kinda sounds like the basis of a movie comedy to us. How does "Five Headbangers and a Baby" sound?
Anyway, the story has a happy ending. Elliott, who lives in the village of Stepaside, on Dublin’s south side (with day passes, we’re sure, to the rock star belt of Killiney), still loves Ireland. He also loves his new girlfriend, American flight attendant Bobby Tolsma. As for Karla, she’s given birth to a baby with her new partner, David Walsh. All together now: awwww . . .
"Thriller" for Bozone’s Steve
Well, there are dreams and there are DREAMS. Some of us long to cavort in a tropical paradise with a certain Jedi master (sans goofy hair extensions, thanks), while others would prefer to share a stage with a surgical-mask-wearing, crotch-grabbing pop singer.
OK, no points for guessing who wants to do the former, but you might be surprised about who wants to do — and who’ll get to do — the latter. Boyzone hunk Steve Gately will feel as though he’s in hog heaven when he steps onstage with his childhood idol, Michael Jackson. In the role of roly-poly fairy godmother is Italian opera star Luciano Pavarotti, who organizes the annual concert in his hometown of Modena, Italy.
Stevo is thrilled at the thought of performing with Wacko Ja . . . whoops! . . . The Gloved One. He said, "I’ve lived a charmed life through the success of Boyzone, but sharing the same bill with Michael Jackson is the icing on the cake."
Also scheduled to appear is sexy diva Mariah Carey, much to Gately’s delight.
"It’s all my birthdays come at one time," he gushed. "Mariah Carey is fantastic, she really is. I’m looking forward to meeting her." Well, Stevo, we’re sure Mariah can’t wait to meet you, either.
In more Boyzone news, lead singer Ronan Keating has revealed that he and his model wife, Yvonne, almost lost their baby at birth. Little Jack Keating, a strapping 10-pound bundle of joy, was born with his umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck.
The Keatings are featured in a photo spread in this week’s issue of OK! Magazine. Recalls Ronan: "When Jack came out he wasn’t breathing, which was really, really scary. I could see from the look on the midwife’s face that she was very concerned, and I knew something was wrong."
The doctors sprang into action, placing an oxygen mask on the baby’s face. After an agonizing 30 seconds, the baby let out its first cry.
"Those 30 seconds felt like an hour," Keating said.
We also find out that the fashionably slim Yvonne ate anything that wasn’t nailed down during her pregnancy, to the point where she worried about her weight.
"I’ve always been a chocoholic, but I was eating it constantly," she said. "I was huge." (By the way, that strange sound you’re hearing is all the non-models among us biting into their Nestle Crunch bars.)
Ronan laughed the carefree laugh of a guy whose wife will pretty much always find a size 2 extremely roomy.
"I was worried that my baby would be born a chocoholic with a big chocolate head on him and wrapped in tin foil."
Regg’ band UB40 got the shock of their lives when a member of the audience was shot in the head during the band’s recent concert at Belfast’s Botanic Garden. The victim, Jerry Adair, survived. The Sunday World describes him as a "commander of the Ulster Freedom Fighters," and helpfully supplies his nickname: Mad Dog. What? You think they don’t like good music too?
We were sorry to hear of the death of actor Birdy Sweeney, who played the character Eamon Byrne on the TV show "Ballykissangel." The Tyrone-born Sweeney, 68, was a popular character actor who got his nickname at the age of 11, when he performed on BBC radio, imitating blackbirds.
He was hilarious as the crafty but slightly batty old farmer who was emotionally attached to his livestock. Fans will remember the classic episode from the first season where Eamon was convinced that the government was spying on him via satellite. Worried that they would cut his subsidy payment if the herd numbers didn’t tally, he built a bunch of wooden sheep and scattered them on the mountain . . .
Sweeney is survived by his wife and eight children.
Talk about floating on the sea of love. We hear that Ellen Barkin and Irish heartthrob Gabriel Byrne are making it official — they’re filing for divorce. The sultry blonde actress has been all over the gossip columns of late, thanks to her romance with Revlon billionaire Ron Perelman. We hear that the divorce is friendly, and that the couple will share custody of their two children.
IT’S COMING BAAAAACK! Excuse us, but we can work up that level of excitement only when it’s something as important as "Riverdance: The Show," which will make its Broadway debut in the Spring of 2000. Tickets for the limited engagement at the Gershwin Theatre will go on sale in the Fall. Group sales are available new, so call (212) 398-8383 or (800) 223-7565. Those of you who are plugged in to the internet can visit the show’s official website, www.riverdance.com.