PUSHING BACK THE FRONTIERS
(Ian Woodward, OK! Magazine, May 1995)
Bee Gee Robin Gibb outraged
his family and friends by revealing on live radio, "My wife's a lesbian and I love
it." His outburst caused such reverberations that he refused even to confirm whether
it was true or not. Now, Robin and Dwina talk for the first time about their most unusual
The Bee Gees string of pop hits brought Robin Gibb 50 million but, he says, it was his
wife Dwina who brought him liberation.... As we sit by the pool in their sumptuous Miami
mansion, he looks at her and says: "Dwina's brought something to my private life
which I doubt any other woman could bring." As for Dwina, she says: "If Robin
hadn't come along, I would never have married. Definitely not."
She may not be a great advocate of marriage, but the couple have been together 15 years
now and celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary on July 31st. They have even weathered
the storm that raged in the British tabloids following Robin's revelation on American
radio that his wife was a lesbian.
At the time, a shocked Dwina said "I'm going to kill him", and Robin has
remained tight-lipped on the subject since then. But now the couple want to tell it how it
is. Robin, 45, whose hits include "Night Fever", "Stayin' Alive",
"If I can't have you" and "Massachusetts", explains: "I was being
interviewed by the biggest shock jockey in the US on live radio. You have to shock with
him or you become the butt of his treatment, so I got in first. It wasn't until I got on
the plane later to go to London that I realised what a can of worms I'd opened... but yes
it's true, Dwina is bisexual with me."
Dwina says she wasn't hurt by Robin's revelations, but admits: "His comments did
upset me, but only because I was worried about how my family, my mother and our son
Robin-John (now 12) would take it. I didn't have shames about what Robin said, and I still
don't. I've always been liberated. No one can hurt me in anything they do or say, I just
carry on living my life."
And a very luxurious lifestyle she has, too. After the dust had settled, she decided to
impose a fine on her husband: "I said, "You owe me the biggest diamond
ever", and as I like Jaguars he gave me a diamond-blue XJRS with a number-plate that
says DRUID." Dwina, who was born in Northern Ireland, is a Druid leader as well as a
successful artist and novelist. And, to show him all was forgiven, she gave Robin a gold
ring with a cameo of Lord Nelson which had belonged to Lady Hamilton.
The couple are physically very different - Robin is extremely thin in drainpipe jeans,
with diamond ear stud and bikers boots, and Dwina, 40, is blonde and blooming - but they
believe they are kindred spirits. "We share the same philosophy about breaking down
the barriers erected by society, about pushing back the frontiers in terms of
sexuality," says Dwina. And Robin says that she's "made me more open, liberated
me". He insists: "We have freedom to do our own thing. If we're parted from each
other for two or three weeks, we don't worry about it. We don't have any jealousies. We've
passed the frantic boyfriend / girlfriend thing." "If Robin met another woman
and wanted to have a fling, so what?" asks Dwina. "We have a spiritual /
physical bond whereby we know we're always going to be together. And, because of AIDS,
we're extra careful not to march unthinkingly into extra-marital affairs."
Robin comes straight to the point. "I knew Dwina was gay when we married, but that
didn't matter because I was in love with her; I still am very much in love with her. And,
anyway, she is bisexual with me. She is the best wife any husband could want."
"If we find somebody who sexually excites us, we can actually talk to each other
about it," says Dwina. "We'll discuss it without fear of feeling guilty. It's
totally open. We like to cruise and we like to watch." The Bee Gee leans forward.
"All of which is why I got an enormous kick from talking about this on the radio.
There was no malicious intention, just high-spirited tomfoolery in order to engage the
moment." Says Dwina: "He was trying to shock - and he certainly shocked my
So what did his brothers Maurice and Barry, who live close by, think? "They're used
to Robin," Dwina answers. "On one radio show they were asked what past lives
they might have led, and Robin piped up, "Barry was probably a rent-boy for Oscar
Wilde". He tends to throw in these bombshells. That attraction began back in 1980.
"Our first meeting was at Maurice's house", she recalls. "Robin was going
to commission me to do some artwork, and I remember him peeping out from behind the
curtains as I arrived with some drawings."
Robin, who has two older children (Spencer, 22, and Melissa, 21 in June), was going
through his divorce. He says: "I wasn't actually looking for anybody to have a
relationship with. It was a pretty heavy period for me, but in the end, we were both won
over. We have the same sense of humour, the same interests in history and life.
"She's always accepted me totally for what I am, as I have her. We've both benefited
from each other's lives, attitudes and personalities. It's a chemistry thing. Ours is very
much a case where two similars have attracted. I couldn't live with somebody who was
opposite to me, or who held grudges. We never go to bed on an argument."
Dwina remembers, "I'd been a loner for about 10 years when I first met Robin. I'd had
a little girl who was born prematurely and. sadly, she died. I was too busy working to
give any thought to romance, living among brick dust in a house in south-east London while
trying to do it up. I didn't have a roof over my kitchen and I was using the electric fire
to cook three course meals." She now has an in-house chef in each of her
She goes on: "Not long after Robin and I met, we both knew we wanted a child together
before actually being with each other. We felt ours would be good genes to put together.
But the baby never came along until we started living together. Robin found a breath of
fresh air blowing through his life when he met me. I've brought him so many things, and
vice versa. I'm poet, artist and novelist, and he has helped me to focus on getting things
finished." Dwina is certainly a prolific author. She's just finished a novel,
"The Shackles", set among the gay and straight communities of Miami's South
Beach area. Two other yet-to-be-published books, "Under Wraps" and
"Whispers Tell Lies", explore women's relationships. "Writing about a woman
who has this deep love for another woman is a subject that's completely natural for me to
tackle," she says. "There's a section in "Whispers tells Lies" about
lesbianism and voyeurism. These are books I just had to write. I don't like the boundaries
that society confronts us with and Robin's the same. He was breaking boundaries when he
talked about me on that radio show."
As they look back on 10 years of marriage, Robin, whose solo hits include "Oh
Darlin" and "Saved By The Bell", says: "We weren't really that
interested in the idea of being married. We didn't even contemplate it, alone expect
it." "Anyway," reflects Dwina, "I don't think that a piece of paper
really ties you down. I've always been a rebel in that respect, and so has Robin."
"But," he insists, "that doesn't mean we have multiple partners. It simply
means that we make our commitments in the eyes of God."
Robin says he fell in love with Dwina for her looks, personality and sexuality as much as
for her spirituality.
Today, she is a Druid leader - her full title is Patroness of the Order of Bards, Ovates
and Druids - and one room in the Miami home houses spiritual artefacts from around the
"I've always shared Dwina's spirituality," says Robin, "though I've never
actually been converted to Druidism. It's really a belief in the elements and the worship
of nature, rather than dancing naked around Stonehenge." But Robin does have some
unusual beliefs of his own. He believes he was Dwina's brother in a previous life. Dwina,
descendant of an Irish king, looked into their family trees and found that one of her
ancestors married one of his ancestors. She says: "We're almost like twins. We were
born on the same day."
And he's also obsessed with historical figures. "First it was Charles Dickens, the
Oliver Cromwell, then Winston Churchill. Now I share my bed with Horatio Nelson,"
reveals Dwina. "And, of course, living in a house with such historical connections as
this, he's in his element." Apparently the house was frequented by President John F
Kennedy 30 odd years ago. He took a succession of blonde lovelies there for amorous
trysts, including Marilyn Monroe. "Our bedroom is where Kennedy made love to all his
girlfriends," says Robin, who seems to have a penchant for buying former lovenests.
His previous Miami home, four doors down, was the hideaway of gangster Al Capone and
Hollywood movie queen Lana Turner. When Robin-John was born, the Gibbs moved to their
"It was like the castle after Sleeping Beauty's 100-year sleep, all over-grown,"
he says. "And inside, it was almost like Miss Havisham's house in "Great
Expectations": everything covered in dust. It had been pretty much empty since
Kennedy's assassination. I used to drive past it every day though you couldn't see the
house for overgrowth. The gates were open and people would drive in and use the grounds
for love-making sessions. I saw there was potential. I just knew this had to be my house
in America. We've now been here for 12 years and I never tire of the place." Their
Miami home is where Robin and Dwina work, Robin on a new Bee Gees album at their own
recording studio in Miami and Dwina finishing her Celtic saga, "Cormac: The
Sage". When they want to relax, they go to their 4 million medieval property set in
20 acres in Oxfordshire.
Theirs may not be a conventional marriage but they're adamant it is one that works.
"Our marriage has always been the same," she says softly, "and I think it
always will be. We have a special relationship." "A very special
relationship," endorses her husband, as they sit in their gazebo looking across a
magnificent moonlit bay. "We have a healthy understanding of each other's needs. I
understand her creative spirit." "It's impossible," insists Dwina, "to
have a conventional lifestyle if you are creative people." "Ours is not a
conventional lifestyle," says Robin. "We don't live by the rules. What we do in
our private lives might not be to many people's liking, but that's their problem. Life
should be lived to the full, and that's what we're doing. I'm not a monk, and Dwina's not
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