Heather Mills Biography
- Born: 01-12-1968
- Birth Place: Tyne and Wear, England
Heather Mills Biography
Heather Ann Mills was born in 1968 to John Mark Francis Mills, a former British soldier, and his wife Beatrice Mary Finlay. The family moved from Washington in Tyne & Wear to County Durham when she was a toddler.
John Mills’ relationship with Beatrice was characterised by violence and Mills’ mother eventually moved out when Heather was nine, leaving her and her siblings in the care of their father. Aged 13, Mills ran away from home after she suffered abuse by him and he also became imprisoned for fraud.
However, as is often the case with headstrong teenagers, Mills didn’t see eye to eye with her mother’s boyfriend and she soon found herself living homeless under the arches at London Waterloo. Fortunately, she managed to reconcile with Beatrice before she died of a blood clot in her lungs after minor surgery in 1989.
In May 1989, Mills married Alfie Karmal who encouraged her aspirations to be a model. When she turned 20, Mills had taken part in a dubious photo shoot with a male model in which she had to stimulate sex acts. The subsequent photos were published in a book called 'The Joys of Love' and would come back to haunt her years later as her publicity trail unraveled. Within two years of marriage to Karmal, the relationship had foundered and the pair divorced in 1991.
In 1990, after suffering an ectopic pregnancy, Mills temporarily moved to Slovenia to recover. When she arrived there she witnessed the outbreak of civil war and it had such an impact on her that she spent the next couple of years helping to set up a refugee crisis centre, funded by her modelling. The Heather Mills Trust was also created to raise money for young disabled victims of the war.
Mills’ life took a dramatic unexpected turn in August 1993 when she was hit by a police motorcycle while crossing the road near Kensington Palace. In the accident, her ribs were crushed, lung punctured and her left leg injured so badly that it was amputated below the knee. Realising her modelling career was over; Mills summoned the press to her hospital room and sold her story.
Adjusting to an amputation is of course a major step for anyone, but Mills was not going to settle for any old artificial limb. Due to the nature of her injury, or the ‘stump’ as she refers to it, her prosthetic leg had to be constantly replaced while the redundant leg was just discarded. Mills realised that the discarded artificial limb would then go un-used and the same could probably be said for thousands of others. Taking her cue from her experiences in Balkans, Mills arranged for the prostheses to be sent to the country to aid victims of the war and land-mine explosions.
In 1999, Mills met Sir Paul McCartney at a charity event and, after sparking up a friendship, he lent his backing vocals to a single she was recording in aid of raising money for the Heather Mills Trust. Rumours of their relationship being more than just friends soon began to circulate in the media, with McCartney’s publicists initially vehemently denying the claims, most probably in light of the fact he had lost his wife of 29 years, Linda, to breast cancer only 19 months earlier.
However, despite their best efforts to keep the budding romance under wraps, by mid-2001 McCartney proposed to Mills while they were holidaying in the Lake District.
In 2002, Mills married McCartney at a lavish ceremony in Ireland. At 5.20pm, the bells of the 17th century Castle Leslie rang to let the entire world’s waiting press know that the union was complete. Guests included Elton John, Eric Clapton and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and Mills wore a wedding dress of her own creation, quashing rumours that she would be wearing a design by new stepdaughter, Stella McCartney.
In October 2003, Mills gave birth to their first child, a girl named after her mother, Beatrice. This would be McCartney’s fifth child, with four children already from his marriage to Linda.
Mills returned to her charity work, endeavouring to keep charity causes close to her heart. Her biography, written when she was just 25, made the Times best seller list and all proceeds she had generously donated to raising money for child amputee war victims worldwide.
The accolades and awards she has received through her dedication to charity are numerous, including being named Outstanding Young Person of the Year by the British Chamber of Commerce and, more notably, receiving a nomination for a Nobel Prize in 1996.
It seemed that life was rosy in the Mills-McCartney camp until shock news hit the press in 2006 via the couple’s website that she was leaving McCartney. Their joint announcement followed a few days later through a statement and thus began the media frenzy.
Quotes leaked from both parties as to the reasons for the split. Throughout their marriage, there had always been speculation that McCartney’s daughters, in particular Stella, had not seen eye to with Mills and gossip had lingered that she only married the ex-Beatle for his fame and fortune.
Mills took it upon herself to start issuing emotional comments through the national press. She was quoted in 2006 as saying she was “no gold digger” and referred to the increasing negativity targeted at her as “worse than losing my leg”.
One of the most eagerly anticipated issues surrounded the amount of money Mills was likely to receive in the divorce settlement, with some suggesting it could be as much as £32 million, fuelling further speculation that the entire marriage had been of little consequence other than to win a record payout for Mills.
In July 2006, McCartney filed the divorce papers against Mills claiming unreasonable behaviour. Under UK law, a divorce can sometimes be finalised in as little as six weeks but Mills was not prepared to take the matter lightly and enlisted a series of top solicitors to fight her case for her - including a lawyer who acted in Princess Diana’s divorce case in 1996.
Mills claimed to be receiving death threats following her separation from McCartney and in May 2007, the police claimed that she had been relying on the 999 service too often after becoming increasingly nervous about her safety. The press reported that a senior police officer said Mills had been calling the number a “disproportionate” amount of times, apparently four times in 24 hours, complaining of harassment by photographers outside her home in Brighton.
"A certain part of the tabloid media created such a hate campaign against me it put my life and my daughter's life at risk."
In October 2007, Mills broke her silence and began a round of interviews on UK and American television, back lashing at the hype over her impending divorce. She hit the headlines after an emotionally charged interview on British breakfast programme GMTV, when she accused a “certain corner” of feeding spin to the media to smear her.
"A certain part of the tabloid media created such a hate campaign against me it put my life and my daughter's life at risk,'' Mills commented, "that's why I considered killing myself.''
She also likened her situation, due to the similar unwanted press coverage, to those of the late Princess Diana – who, according to Mills, was "chased and killed" by paparazzi.
In March 2008, the courts awarded Mills £24.3 million in her divorce settlement with McCartney. As part of the deal, Mills will receive £14 million for herself and £2.5 million to buy a house in London. The settlement will also see Sir Paul pay their four-year-old daughter Beatrice's nanny and school fees and will pay Beatrice £35,000 a year.
Despite having sought £125 million from the divorce, a relieved Mills said she was "glad it's over" and "it was an incredible result to secure mine and my daughter's future".
Mills appeared in the fifth series of 'Dancing On Ice', partnering professional skater Matt Evers. Mills said she was keen to take part in the show to raise money for charity and demonstrate that people with disabilities can still master such activities. She was eliminated in the fifth week of the competition.
"I've got 6,000 amputees on my website who look to me for inspirational things to do, jumping out of planes or skiing down a mountain so I thought this would be a really good one try," Mills said.
In 2010, it was revealed that Mills is hoping to represent Great Britain at the 2014 Paralympic Games. The former model said she has been skiing for many years and is training hard to try and make the team. It was revealed in April 2011 that Mills has bought a home in the Austrian Alps to aid her in her training.
However, her ambitions were dealt a blow in May 2011 when she sustained an injury and broke her shoulder. Despite the setback, Mills told Hello magazine that she intends to continue pursuing her Paralympic skiing dream.