by Anne Marie
Bee Gee Colin Petersen’s secret marriage to Joanne Newfield was not
only something of a lightning and surprise affair – but will go down in
history as pop’s most unusual marriage.
Most girls who end up as a pop singers wives have never had any contact
with the pop business apart from going out and buying a record, or seeing
their boyfriend on stage. But Joanne has been immersed in pop, through her
work as the late Brian Epstein’s secretary and her current job as
personal assistant to Bee Gee’s manager Robert Stigwood, for over three
She us a highly competent cool headed girl, intelligent and very active
in the pop world. She will organise the Bee Gees to be in the right place
at the right time, book cars to pick them up, travel all over the world
with Robert Stigwood. She, more than anyone, has been close enough to pop
to appreciate the pitfalls of a pop marriage and all it entails.
“When things first started getting serious I really fought against
it. I never wanted to marry someone in the pop world – I thought I might
marry someone behind the scenes, but I’ve seen too much of the pressures
and strains put on marriages when boys are actually group members to want
to get involved”.
Joanne in a crisp turquoise shirt, white skirt and cardigan and white
ribbon in her hair was sitting in her plushly furnished office amidst the
Stigwood Empire. Colin had made a tactful retreat into another room.
“But I’m convinced our marriage will work because we ARE in the
same business. Because I can understand Colin’s work and be cause my own
work is so interesting – that’s why I won’t give it up and stay at
“It means I can travel with Colin but in a working capacity as Robert’s
assistant. I don’t want to be one of those wives that’s always in the
way, hanging around. After all, road managers have enough problems with
the group and equipment without having to keep worrying if someone’s
wife is okay too, and it brings pressure on the group.
“And Colin isn’t like an ordinary boy from a group. He isn’t a
raver, or a big club-goer. He likes a family life, he’s quiet and
intelligent. It’s just a job to him. Well, he’s been in show business
since he was a child”.
Joanne first met Colin through her close friend Lulu, who introduced
them last Christmas.
“I went down to Top Of The Pops hen Lulu was going out with Maurice.
I didn’t really think much about Colin except that he was rather sweet.
That afternoon some sort of row developed between us and Lu and Maurice
were trying to get us together like mad.
“We went out – the four of us – and had a meal – we both
cancelled dates with people to do it – and the next day Colin was
leaving for an Australian tour. I thought “Oh well a brief romance”
but I had a pretty miserable Christmas.
“When he came back we always went out with Lu and Maurice – hardly
ever on our own and things never got really serious. Just before he left
for a tour of Germany we broke it off and then I had to go out with Robert
to see them.
“I realised I was more than just a bit interested because I asked
Maurice how Colin had been and he said “Oh great – been dating all the
bids”, and I felt terrible.
“On the plane back from Germany we talked things out and a month
before we got married he turned to me and said ‘Marry me’ and my
stomach turned over and before I knew where I was I’d said yes!
“My mother knew I was going out with a Bee Gee but she never knew
which one it was – she was always telling people the wrong name. a week
before we went to the Bahamas with Vince and Diane we told her we thought
we’d get married”
Did they have a ‘secret’ marriage away from London to escape the
Bee Gee’s fans?
“No. it as just that we thought it would be nice to go away and do it
without a lot of publicity. Vince and Diane were our witnesses and they
cried all the way through the ceremony; it was lovely”.
Joanne and Colin live in a mews house in Bayswater, so
far they have hardly had a quiet time of it. Joanne was very ill with
German measles on their return from the Bahamas and since then a steady
influx of friends, well wishers, and neighbours have entrenched themselves
at the house.
“It’s funny really” Joanne said giggling “You
know, since I married Colin I’ve got more and more organised. There’s
a great strength in him I didn’t realise existed until I went to
Germany. He’s really quite a dominant person.
“And he’s very domesticated – I’m a rotten
cook, though I’m trying to improve.
“You know I was talking to someone the other day
about how Colin often works on sessions until early in the morning and
sleeps all day if he’s not working, and how I get up early to get to
work, and she said ‘you poor dear, it must be terrible for you’. But I’ve
never been so happy in my life”.
On the way out the pretty blonde girl at the reception
desk was still managing to keep the stalwart band of Bee Gee fans OUTSIDE
“When Joanne first started going out with Colin the fans didn’t
like it. But now they’re married they really accept her and like her”.