Annie Brown In Day Two of our exclusive series on the life
and loves of Scotland's pop queen Lulu, ANNIE BROWN reveals how the star's wedded bliss as
Mrs Gibb soon turned into a nightmare. It took a counsellor to give Lulu the courage to
tell Maurice Gibb their marriage was over. The Scots star was urged: "Leave him.
Leave him." Even then she was so convinced that Maurice wouldn't listen, or worse,
harm himself, that she asked the counsellor to explain it to him. At her behest, Maurice
spoke to the counsellor. Later, he gave his slant on the meeting when he told his wife:
"She thinks there's something wrong with you and we shouldn't get a divorce."
The statement was typical of the fantasy world the least known of the Bee Gees was
increasingly inhabiting. This, combined with his alcoholism, almost broke Lulu.
She said: "How do you break up with someone who doesn't want to split up and who
doesn't recognise the truth of the situation? For weeks I was like a zombie, so much so
that some people thought I was on drugs."
When they had married, four years earlier in 1969 in London, Maurice was a year younger
than 20-year-old Lulu - but was years behind her in maturity. She was self-disciplined and
bordered on the prudish, while he embraced the rock 'n' roll lifestyle of late night
drinking and total extravagance.
They had met on the set of Top Of The Pops and the courtship was conducted over
transatlantic phone calls while both toured the world. The relationship looked destined to
falter when Lulu went to America and started seeing Davy Jones, of the Monkees. Maurice
was jealous, split with her and then sought comfort in the bottle. Lulu told the Disc And
Music Echo in 1969: "Maurice got very jealous of Davy and broke the whole thing off.
I didn't want that and was very upset. "Then I tried to get all cool and wanted to
persuade him that there was no need for this childishness, and couldn't we just be good
friends, with no strings attached? "He said 'no' and told me to stop bothering him.
"Anyway, who was I kidding? I didn't want us just to be good friends. "But I got
him back. "We only had to look at each other in the eyes to know we were in
love." Five thousand fans crammed the streets to catch a glimpse of the pop wedding
of the year. It was splashed across newspaper front pages and was on TV news.
At that time Lulu was a bigger star that the Bee Gees. She'd had a major American hit with
To Sir With Love, was the British entry for the Eurovision Song Contest and had her own
BBC TV series. And Maurice admitted that he was the one Bee Gee who seemed to fade into
the background. He said: "No one knew me until I met my wife. Even Lulu's mother used
to ask: 'Which one is Maurice?' For six months she thought Lulu was dating Barry.
"I'm sure people in faraway places like Dundee were quite convinced she married
Barry. Stands to reason she would marry the best looking guy in the group."
The insecurity in Maurice's remarks was clear. As Lulu's career soared, the Bee Gees were
heading for a dry patch in what was to become a long and illustrious career. Chris
Hutchins, a former PR to the Bee Gees, said that it was far from marital bliss behind
closed doors. Lulu "wore the trousers" - although very reluctantly. Chris said:
"Lulu knew she had to take charge of the marriage once drink had taken charge of
Maurice. She even chose what clothes he would wear each morning.
"For a while Lulu tried to keep up with her husband's drinking until, in a moment of
sanity, she realised that it would destroy her as surely as it was destroying him."
He was lavish with his cash and bought flash cars and clothes, while she was happy to
drive a Mini. Lulu would also cook for Maurice trying to salvage a sense of normality. In
a typically working class way, she would always try to keep up appearances. Rod Stewart or
David Bowie were always popping in to visit them every couple of days and she would ask
Maurice to look his best.
Maurice said later: "With Lu it was always, 'You'd better put on something smart -
you don't know who will drop in'. "I once got into a row with her because she came
home from her TV show with some people and found me in the den watching Match Of The Day
with no shirt on." Maurice often threatened to leave her, but he never meant it.
However, when Lulu said it was over, it was. She knew she would one day want a family and
found it impossible to visualise Maurice as the father. When it sunk in that their
marriage was finally over, Maurice flew to Ibiza, got drunk and cried - then contemplated
buying a new speedboat to relax. Lulu said: "I lost my confidence. I wasn't used to
failure. I felt bruised mentally and physically."
The years have swept away any bitterness and Maurice is happily remarried and free of
drink. The couple recently sang together for the first time in 25 years in a poignant
reunion on ITV's An Audience With Lulu. Lulu said: "He didn't hesitate. I was
nervous, but it was great. "It seems like I was married to him in another life."
But after her split with Maurice, Lulu went on to meet the man who would be the "true
love" of her life, hairdresser John Frieda.