Heather Mills (born 12.1.1968)
Heather Mills is the ex-wife of Sir Paul McCartney (a former member of The Beatles). Heather is also known for her modelling work and charity work for various causes, including animal rights and help for amputees.
Heather Mills: Childhood
Heather Mills was born in Aldershot, England. Her father, John Mills, was a British paratrooper and her mother, Beatrice Mary Finlay was the daughter of a British Army colonel. The family moved to Tyne and Wear after Heather was born.
Heather's childhood is reported not to have been a happy one. Aged eight, she claims to have been sexually assaulted by a lifeguard at a local swimming pool. She also claims that her father was violent towards Beatrice, though he has always denied this.
Beatrice left the family home when Heather was nine years old. Heather and her brother and sister (Shane and Fiona) were left in their father's care until he was convicted of fraud and jailed. Heather moved to London to be with her mother and her partner (the actor Charles Stapley). However, Heather was unhappy here and ran away to join a funfair. She ended up sleeping rough at Waterloo Station and was put on probation for stealing from the jeweller's shop at which she worked after school. Heather was eventually reunited with her mother in 1989, shortly before her mother passed away.
Heather Mills: Modelling
In 1986, Heather set up a modeling agency as well as undertaking modeling assignments herself. She took part in a shoot for Die Freuden der Liebe (The Joys of Love), a German sex manual. The manual would later be the subject of a tabloid scandal during her protracted divorce with Sir Paul McCartney. Allegations were also made by a former friend, Denise Hewitt that they were both high-class prostitutes, working in London together for a number of wealthy men. Mills has denied these allegations.
Heather Mills: Charity Work
Heather went to Croatia in 1992 to work as a ski instructor. When the war broke out, she set up a refugee centre and helped a number of people to escape. She also undertook modeling assignments to pay for trips to Croatia, delivering donations to the needy.
In August 1993, Heather Mills was hit by a police motorcycle, which was traveling to an emergency. Heather suffered crushed ribs and a punctured lung, as well as the loss of her left leg, below the knee. The lower half of the leg was amputated and she was awarded £200,000 in damages from the police. Heather famously removed her prosthetic limb during a talk show with American host Larry King.
Heather Mills set up the Heather Mills Health Trust, which delivers prosthetic limbs to patients who have undergone amputations, having stepped on landmines. She used money that she earned selling her stories to tabloid newspapers to set up the trust. The trust collects unwanted prosthetics from the developed world and sends them to poorer countries. The first shipment was made to Zagreb in 1994, 14 months after her accident. She wrote a book about the experience, entitled Out On A Limb.
Heather Mills: Personal Life
In 1989, Heather Mills married Alfie Karmal, a catering company manager. They were divorced two years later.
She became engaged to Chris Terrill, a documentary maker in 1999. However, the relationship ended five days prior to the wedding date. Heather claimed that she called the wedding off because Terrill was an MI6 agent. She also claimed that he was gay. Both allegations proved to be false.
In April 1999, Heather Mills met Sir Paul McCartney at a charity event. McCartney donated £150,000 to her charity. Two years later, McCartney proposed to Heather. His first wife, Linda McCartney had died of breast cancer four years earlier. In October 2003, Heather gave birth to their first child together, Beatrice Milly McCartney.
In 2006, the pair announced their separation and lengthy, acrimonious divorce proceedings continued until 2008. The British tabloids made much of the divorce, often portraying Mills as a gold-digger and a liar. In March 2008, Heather Mills was awarded £24.3 million, as well as £35,000 per year for their daughter's maintenance. Although the judge noted Mill's charitable work and described her as 'kindly', he also stated that her evidence was 'inconsistent and inaccurate.' At one point in the hearing, Heather poured a jug of water over Sir Paul McCartney's solicitor, Fiona Shackleton.