Bonnie’s enduring career has been matched by a famously long-lasting marriage
BONNIE TYLER shakes her mane of ash blonde hair. At 67, she is still unspeakably glamorous – “thank God for Botox” – and showing no sign of hanging up her hairbrush any time soon. In fact, Bonnie is back with a new album on which she duets with Rod Stewart, Cliff Richard and Francis Rossi and she thinks it’s her best ever. “I can’t believe Rod Stewart and Cliff Richard and Francis Rossi each agreed to sing duets with me,” she says, blue-grey eyes wide in wonder. “Or that Barry Gibb wrote a track specially for me.”
Bonnie’s enduring career has been matched by a famously long-lasting marriage to her property developer husband, Robert Sullivan, pictured with her below. “The day I met Robert,” Bonnie says, “it was love at first sight.”
What you might call a total eclipse of the heart? She hoots her raspy bark of a laugh: “I took one look at him and I thought, ‘Wow!’ He had a full head of dark hair. He looked like Warren Beatty. He represented the UK at judo at the 1972 Olympic Games.We married the next year when I was 22.We’ll have been married 46 years this July.”
There is no secret formula for staying together: “You have to work at a marriage,” she says.
“There’ll always be ups and downs but we love each other. Also, since the end of the 70s, he’s always gone on the road with me when I’m touring. There’s no point leading separate lives.”
Bonnie with her beloved husband, Robert Sullivan
We are sitting in the understated elegance of Bonnie’s magnificent mid-Victorian house set in four acres in Mumbles, south Wales, with its commanding view of Swansea Bay.
“We had it completely renovated,” Bonnie says. “It took two years including lining the walls of the dining room and music room in oak panelling. I wanted it decorated in a classic style. My house in Portugal is ultra-modern by comparison.”
She and Robert also own a dairy farm in New Zealand; five houses in Berkshire as well as 65 stables; the yard and the gallops they rent to the Jockey Club; and a mineral quarry in Wales. “Robert’s invested very cleverly down the years. He’s always made my money make more money. I’m very lucky,” she says.
His prosperity, she says, has also contributed to their happiness. “That’s another reason why our marriage has lasted so long,” she says.
“He’s proud of me but he doesn’t live off my coat-tails. When we got married, he bought the land in Mumbles on which we built our first house. We were there for 16 years before we bought this place.”
Bonnie is humble and despite her popularity doesn’t seem to believe her success
Despite trying, the couple never had children. “I kept putting off trying for a baby,” Bonnie says. “My career was going so well that I’d say to myself, ‘Next year, next year.’ Anyway, I got broody at 39 and fell pregnant very quickly.”
Sadly, Bonnie had a miscarriage at 10 weeks and never got pregnant again.
“Well, I was 40 by then,” she says. “It was hard at the time but I threw myself into my work. In the end, I was pleased I’d been able to conceive. But it wasn’t meant to be.
“Anyway, I’ve got lots of nieces and nephews so there’s never been any shortage of young people around. And I’ve had such an incredible life. I never fail to thank God for all my blessings.”
One of six children, Bonnie grew up in a four-bedroom council house
Indeed, Bonnie is humble and despite her popularity doesn’t seem quite able to believe her continued success: “I’ve been in the business 50 years now but I am still Gaynor Hopkins in my head,” she says referring to her birth name.
She was born in Skewen, Wales, and her father, Glyndwr, was a coal miner, and her mother, Elsie, a housewife.
One of six children, Bonnie grew up in a four-bedroom council house, left school with no qualifications and worked in a grocery shop.
After coming second in a local talent contest, she pursued a career in singing, and despite being an international star after her success with hits such as Total Eclipse Of The Heart and It’sA Heartache, Bonnie has always had her feet on the ground, Welsh ground.
However, she isn’t the only famous face in Mumbles. Catherine Zeta-Jones was raised there and has a family connection to Bonnie. “Her father is a cousin of Robert’s,” says Bonnie.
“We see her and Michael [Douglas] if they’re over from America visiting her parents. And we went to their wedding. In fact, I sang Total Eclipse at it. Mick Hucknall and Art Garfunkel also performed so I was in good company.
“Michael’s an absolute gentleman, Hollywood old school. And I get on really well with Catherine. She’s lovely, inside and out. She’s got this home decoration company, Casa Zeta-Jones. She sent me a lovely Christmas present last year: a set of sheets and two dress pillows. The year before it was a beautiful, ultrasoft dressing gown. The bow on the box was so lovely, I kept it.”
What did Bonnie give Catherine? She giggles. “Nothing. Well, what can you possibly give Catherine Zeta-Jones?”, she asks, eyes wide again with wonder.
FOR EVER YOUNG: Bonnie with Cliff Richard
Not that Bonnie is star-struck around celebrities, counting many of them as friends, in particular Cliff Richard.
“I have known him for years. I have a house near his on the Algarve. I’ve had a house there since 1978, bought with the proceeds of It’s A Heartache,” she explains.
“We were going out with him for dinner last year and he came to the house first for a drink. So I played him the Barry Gibb song and then the duets with Francis Rossi and Rod Stewart. That’s when he said that, if we got the right song, he and I should do a duet. As soon as he heard Taking Control, he was up for it. It’s so catchy. It gets inside your head the first time you hear it. I think it could be a single.”
Bonnie is still angry at the way Cliff was treated after he was wrongly accused of historic sexual abuse. “He went through such a bad time so it’s lovely to see him now that he’s got his mojo back,” Bonnie says. “Anybody who knows him knew he was innocent. He’s not capable of hurting a soul.
Bonnie performing at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February 1984
“He was never charged and yet still he was named. I thought it was disgusting the way he was treated by both the police and the BBC. But he’s over it now, thank goodness. I went to one of his shows at the Albert Hall last October and sang Happy Birthday to him on stage to the tune of It’sA Heartache.”
She loves her collaboration with Cliff but, if she had to pick a favourite track from the new album, it would be one called Older.
“Well, I am – I’m 67 now,” laughs Bonnie although truly, she doesn’t look it.
“I have a dermatologist who comes to the house twice a year for the (Botox) injections above my eyebrows and by the side of my eyes.”
Bonnie believes in always looking your best
Bonnie says she believes in always looking your best: “I wouldn’t dream of going out minus my makeup. And my hair’s been quite a trademark especially in the ’80s when I wore it really big. Those were the days of glam rock. Even today, the first thing I do after taking a shower is put my face on. I wouldn’t feel like me without mascara or a bit of lippy.”
As a beautiful woman in the male-dominated music industry, she must have attracted unwanted attention? “Only once,” she snaps. “There was an occasion when a man grabbed my air. So I grabbed him by his knackers. That soon shut him up. Cheeky so-and-so! But I can look after myself.”
Despite this feistiness, Bonnie warns against taking it to extremes. “In my opinion, it’s gone a little bit too far in the other direction,” she says of the MeToo movement.
“Someone can’t even touch your leg without everyone being up in arms. A bit of common sense wouldn’t go amiss.”
Bonnie Tyler’s new album, Between The Earth And The Stars, is out on March 22
Read more here: Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feedhappy wheels
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