ronnie ronnie ronnie
Reply #246 - Today at 3:09pm
By Richard Price
Last updated at 7:54 AM on 16th October 2008
Four months ago, Ronnie Wood's life seemed just about perfect. He had just been paid £10 million for his latest tour with the Rolling Stones, was free of drink and drugs thanks to a stint in rehab, and blessed with one of the strongest marriages in showbusiness.
Even his hobby - painting - was raking in a small fortune, with a single artwork being sold for £1 million. The only worry on his mind, it seemed, was writing a speech for his daughter Leah's wedding in the grounds of the family mansion on mid-summer's eve.
Within the space of a week, however, this idyllic world came crashing down around his ears.
Walk the dog: Ronnie Wood and girlfriend Ekaterina Ivanova taking a walk in Hampstead
Today, as he wakes up in a soulless rented apartment in North London, the 61-year-old will be several miles from that stately pile in Surrey - and a million miles from the happiness he once knew.
Blinking the sleep from his eyes, he may take a moment to survey the wreckage of his life and allow himself a twinge of regret.
More likely, however, his thoughts will turn to booze. Whether this will be a dry day or one of the all-too-frequent occasions when he single-handedly works his way through two bottles of vodka - one way or another, alcohol will dominate his thoughts.
Gone is the security of his tight-knit family. They have barely spoken to him since the day four months ago when he walked out on them to spend every waking hour (and a significant proportion of sleeping time, too) with a 20-year-old Russian cocktail waitress by the name of Ekaterina Ivanova.
Leah, who had to cut short her honeymoon when her drunken father left home to embark on a gargantuan binge with 'Katya' - who within days was publicly describing Ronnie as her boyfriend - is incandescent with rage at his betrayal.
Jo, his partner of 30 years and his wife since 1985, is sick with worry and desperate to save their marriage. But decades of alcoholism and drug abuse have finally caught up with Ronnie. This week, the 53-year-old former model conceded that all lines of communication have broken down.
Now, I can reveal that the ageing rock star has called in a team of lawyers to go through his finances 'with a fine-tooth comb' to establish what has happened to his assets.
Ronnie and Jo Wood at the wedding of Leah in June before they split
The battlelines have been drawn with Ronnie and Katya the cocktail waitress on one side, and the Wood clan on the other.
At stake is his marriage (the Rolling Stone has consulted the same firm of solicitors who handled Mick Jagger's divorce from Jerry Hall) and a fortune which at the last count ran to £70 million. 'He's suffering from a disease and all we can do is hope he's going to get through it,' Ronnie's stepson Jamie told me this week.
'He's been an alcoholic for a very long time - most of my life, in fact - and Mum has always been there to deal with it. It's a bit more serious this time.
'Plenty of other people have the odd drink and take drugs sometimes, so he's hardly unique. But at the moment he's still in recovery, so all we can do is wait.'
For all Jamie's understatement (he is, it should be noted, also Ronnie's manager and the man who takes care of the family finances), I understand that in recent weeks the crisis has spiralled out of control.
Such has been the change wrought in the famously genial man known as 'Honest Ron' that fears are growing for his state of mind.
Whatever the reality of his situation, there are clear signs that a lifetime of excess has finally caught up with him - and his family are the innocent victims.
'I don't want to divorce Ronnie, but I don't know if he'll come back,' says a distraught Jo. 'I don't know what is happening. I haven't spoken to him about it.'
Indeed, aside from the odd conversation with Jamie about financial matters, Ronnie has barely uttered a word to any of his family since setting up home with Katya.
More worryingly for the Wood clan, his relationship seems to be going from strength to strength.
Fling: Ronnie Wood walked out on his family four months ago to spend his time with Ekaterina Ivanova
The star was oblivious to onlookers' observations that he looked more like Katya's grandad than boyfriend when they were spotted walking through north London, this week.
His devoted family are facing up to the fact that his dalliance could destroy the extraordinary closeness they have always enjoyed, despite their unconventional home life.
Jesse, 30, Ronnie's son from his first marriage to the model Krissy Findlay, Jamie, 33, the product of Jo's previous union, and their children Leah, 29, and Tyrone, 24, make up a unique family unit which one friend described to me as 'the Darling Buds of May on acid'.
While Ronnie lived the life of excess one might expect from the guitarist in the world's most successful rock 'n' roll band, his family remained a touchstone which somehow kept his feet on the ground.
Jo was always firmly by his side. Wherever Ronnie went, she went. It was a highly unusual dash of domesticity against a background of excess, and Ronnie admits he most probably owes his life to his adoring wife. All that changed earlier this year, however.
During a Rolling Stones visit to the Berlin Film Festival in March, Jo was told to stay at home - much to her chagrin. The official explanation given was that no band members were allowed to take their family. In truth, there was no such ban.
During the junket, members of the entourage detected a subtle but unmistakable change in Ronnie's behaviour. He was a free agent again for the first time in years, and began to slip off mysteriously on his own.
Returning from his travels, Ronnie subsequently checked in to rehab to ensure he was in top condition for Leah's wedding. Yet while the big day passed without incident, within days he had left the family home to go on a drinking binge with Katya.
The Wood family have since discovered he had been slipping out of rehab long before anyone had suspected a thing, and had been pursuing his young lover since April.
Though the situation was undoubtedly distressing for his family, at that stage it was not regarded as hugely significant.
He had strayed before under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but when confronted by his loved ones he invariably stepped back in line.
But not this time. Wood refused to give up the girl he'd come to regard as his muse (she had, it emerged, been posing for nude portraits while holed up in his Irish mansion) and his rebellion did not stop there.
Up to that point, the one person, Jo aside, who had always been able to control
Ronnie was Mick Jagger. It was Jagger who forced him to go to rehab the first time after issuing an ultimatum to clean up his act or be kicked out of the band.
Ronnie, affectionately described by his fellow Stones as 'childlike' because he is so easily led, has for years been in awe of Jagger. So, when Mick told him to give up his 'ridiculous' relationship with Katya, there should have been only one outcome.
But Ronnie refused to budge. Something had changed. It seems that everyone had underestimated the relationship because Ronnie and Katya have repeatedly rejected all attempts to prise them apart.
Incredibly, he suggested spending half the week with Katya and the other half with his family, thereby, according to his warped logic, keeping everyone happy. When Jo rejected his suggestion, he is understood to have stormed out in a rage.
As his drinking spiralled out of --control once again during the summer, his anger turned to bitterness. In the midst of binges he would repeatedly complain that 'no one takes me seriously' and insist that his bond with Katya runs far deeper than mere physical attraction.
In one of his more wounding recent outbursts, he claimed to have had more stimulating conversations with Katya in three months than he did with his wife in 30 years.
Now Ronnie's thoughts are turning to money. He is understood to be bewildered by what he believes to be a lack of ready capital which is preventing him from buying a new home with his young lover.
As a man who considers himself to be low maintenance - he has never gone in for luxury cars or private jets, while his clothes appear to have been bought in charity shops - he cannot understand why his advisers are urging him to rein in his spending.
Hence his decision to call in the lawyers for a closer look at his finances. To echo one of Ronnie's own phrases, he has a growing fear that he is being 'taken for a mug'.
Jo has a controlling stake in the pair's finances and has acted as her husband's personal assistant on deals for many years. It is thought that she could easily lay claim to half his assets, as well as a sizeable chunk of his future earnings.
Whether he comes out of this situation and realises how blessed he truly is to have his family, only time will tell. Few people can live a life of such excess and emerge unscathed.
How sad that it should be his family who are facing the consequences.
Please, i will like to know if somebody have this picture of Brian, or can scanned it in this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rolling-Ston...400453&sr=1-54
He is just drop dead gorgeous and elegant in this one
Photographed by myself
Just watched "Shine A Light," and! Can't get enough of Keith singing "You got the silver." I dressed up as him for Hallowe'en but I think I was a little too passable as him..!