THE BEE GEE MARRIAGE THAT'S STAYIN' ALIVE
(The Australian Women's Weekly, October 24, 1979)

Molly Gibb's husband, Robin, spends many months at a time working in the USA. But, unlike the other Bee Gee wives, Molly lives in England. In a rare interview she explains to Ruth Brotherhood why this extraordinary marriage survives.

Every time her husband comes home, Molly Gibb goes berserk. She's so pleased to see him that she throws her arms round him, won't leave his side, and when it's time for him to go back to work again, she cries. She then tries to adjust to being alone again. Molly is a pop widow - her husband Robin Gibb, youngest member of the Bee Gees and one of the hottest properties in the music business today. The problem is, he works in the USA while she lives in England with their two children, Spencer, seven, and Melissa, five. And since "Saturday Night Fever" swept the world there hasn't been much time for a home life.

Molly explains: "Robin came home for a month in April. The first time for a year that I'd spent so long without him, I was quite nervous just wondering what it was going to be like to have him home. "Suddenly, I had to change my habits and routine and fit back into being a married person again"

The children are the main reason Molly doesn't join Robin in the States, and he would love to be with his family more but it's just not possible. Financially, it will be easier for him to get home since Mrs. Thatcher slashed taxes in the high income bracket but most of his work is in the States.

I don't think America is the best country to raise children in - I don't like the whole commercial aspect of life out there," says Molly. She adds, "Besides I prefer to live in England and so does Robin. He's happy working in the States but I think he keeps his sanity by coming back here where he can relax."

"Robin and I are in constant contact - he phones me every night and we always chat for a quarter of an hour or so."

The only time Molly really does eat her heart out is when it's time for Robin to leave her after one of his rare and relished visits. She can cope with being apart, but the actual parting - that's unbearable. "We always have such a lovely time when he's home - we go to our favourite restaurants and to see movies at the local cinema - we generally relax."

"Then, for a couple of days before his departure date, I find myself getting very tense - I've become so used to having him back that it's as if he's never been away."

"I never go to the airport to see him off - we both get so emotional. It's better if he just walks out the front door."

Molly sighs, "Of course, the children miss their father, but they have grown up with the situation. It's not a sudden thing, and they have a very secure and happy home life here."

Her face brightens, "And there's always Concorde -- I pop over to the States fairly frequently. Sometimes I leave the children with my mother, but I usually try to make my visits coincide with their school holidays." Molly never stays sad for long. Her policy has to be positive thinking. She even feels her relationship with Robin may have been enhanced by the absences.

Or, to put it another way, if her marriage had meant traipsing around on the road after Robin and his Bee Gee brothers, Barry and Maurice, she'd have pulled out long ago.

"I couldn't have stood it -- I went on tour once and that was enough for me. It was so regimented -- everyone had to meet in the foyer at I the same time. I'm far too independent to be pushed and shoved around. I vowed I'd never go again and I haven't. I think you have to be very levelheaded to survive in this business if a woman is to survive as a wife there is no time for being helpless or jealous -- that's what causes so many breakups."

Molly has the strength of character to let her husband loose on the other side of the world for much of the year and the peace of mind not to worry about him.

"I trust Robin completely - so far no one has ever threatened our relationship. We're always totally honest with each other. If he wants to go to a party or take a girl to the cinema, that's fine by me and I'm free to do what I want too. It's something we've always agreed on - okay, you can be married and love one another but you don't own your partner."

And if Robin did have an affair?

"I'd know immediately -- I'd be able to tell by his voice on the telephone. I can't say how I'd react. I don't know whether I'd forgive him or not."

Even the groupies don't bother Molly. Some of the hopeful, have been hanging around since Robin's first hit record 12 years ago - New York Mining Disaster 1941.

"They don't worry me," she explains. "But it's really sad that these people think by sleeping around with pop stars they are somehow going to become involved, and maybe even find a husband. I know they haven't a hope in hell. I usually keep my distance from them but there's no way I'm going to drag Robin off if he happens to be talking to one of them."

Molly admits she doesn't go to the recording studio.

"It's so boring. How they manage to write and record so many records and always stay enthusiastic, I really don't know. I just wait for the end product, then sit down and listen to it."

She couldn't bear to live with Robin's mother and his brothers. "I couldn't stand it -- I mean, could you? Barry, Maurice and their mother all live within half a kilometer of each other in America - much too close. I wouldn't even like to live that near my own mother, and I love her dearly."

She can't bear pretentious people either. "You know, some of the showbiz ladies around here -- they go to the shops dressed up like a dog's dinner. Not me -- I don't go out of my way to be recognized."

Part of Molly's bluntness comes from the fact that she's never had the kid-glove treatment, and has always had to stick up for herself. She was one of seven children, brought up in the council house her mother still refuses to leave. Then, at 17, she decided to leave their home in a sleepy village and head for the proverbial bright lights.

In London she landed a job as a receptionist for NEMS, the late Brian Epstein's company, where she met, fell in love with, and married a gangly, scruffy young singer who turned out, with the rest of the Bee Gees, to be the next biggest thing to the Beatles. And they both lived happily ever after. Except for one thing - Molly had to look after herself.

"If something goes wrong, there's invariably no one here to put an arm around me and tell me I'll be all right. I suppose it does tend to make you a bit...not so much hard as independent."

"For example, once when I was away, friends rang to say there'd been a burglary here at our house. I had to go back and face it alone - that was one time I really wished Robin could have been with me."

But Molly coped, as she copes alone on her birthday, wedding anniversary, and the children's birthday. Because both babies were premature, Robin wasn't even around to hold her hand when they were born.

Apart from the fact that she's married to a millionaire and lives in a beautiful eight-bedroom house with its own swimming pool, Molly is very much an ordinary housewife. She takes her role as a mother very seriously and says, with typical bluntness, "I would rather not have children than leave them with a nanny -- and the same goes for boarding school. I want to be with my children --I enjoy them."

One of her more serious roles is handling Robin's business affairs. "I spend a lot of time going to meetings. I mean, if you've got money, you've got to look after it. Robin's not here so I do it. Besides, Robin's not really interested in that sort of thing -- he can't be bothered discussing how our money's going to work for us -- so it tends to get left to me to have meetings with bankers, stockbrokers and lawyers. I enjoy it. I find it relatively easy and it's something I can shine at. In a way, it's given me something I can do better than Robin."

She spoke with no hint of envy, just genuine pleasure.

"I don't feel overshadowed - I just think, okay, I rely on Robin for a lot of things, but he can rely on me in this one area."

So much money, so much to spend Molly could satisfy every whim everyday of her life if she chose to -- but she doesn't, despite the fact that she has a joint account with almost bottomless resources and no stern husband to put the damper on things. She is too levelheaded. "Money has never worried me -- I got along without it as a child and at various other times in my life I've been broke; I just managed on what I had."

"Agreed, I am lucky enough to have beautiful things, and I love my home, but I rarely go out on mad spending sprees. I'm not particularly interested in clothes -- I usually wear jeans. There was a stage before Robin was successful when I had more money than he did, but it didn't make any difference. It was our money and that's how it is now. I'd hate to be given an allowance -- you know the sort of thing: 'Here you are dear, put it in your bank account, it's up to you what you do with it.' I hate the whole idea of getting housekeeping money -- it's not based on trust."

The children, however, have slightly more restrictions than Molly. For them, there's no limitless supply of sweets and toys. They've been brought up to know the value of money.

Says Molly, "I have just started giving the children pocket money - 20c a week each. They are definitely not spoiled, I make sure of that."

"I'm popping over to America to look for a house soon -- then at least we'll have a home to go to when we stay for holidays. It'll be better for the kids ... it'll be better for me ..."

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