BETTE MIDLER struggled to grasp the idea of gay couples who wanted to 'marry' - because she was used to homosexuals who loved playing the field. But the 60-year-old actress and singer, who developed a cult gay following after the release of her first major album THE DIVINE MISS M in 1973, realises that, ultimately, everyone wants someone to love. When told how many gay couples have joined in civil partnerships in the UK since it was made legal in December (05), she says, "Wow! I didn't know there were that many people in love! "You know, I'm old-school. I'm this age, and I've been through a lot and I didn't quite get it. "I understood the civil part of it, but I knew a lot of people who wanted to live alone, have serial partners. It was very hard for me to grasp, I think. It was hard to see that it was an idea whose time had come. "I know a lot of gay people, but I didn't know anyone who was rushing to the altar. But when I see people who are so committed... I think human beings are bound to want that."
The actor plays the titular hero in the forthcoming adaptation.
Rock legend Eric Clapton has admitted the era of the guitar may be ''over''.