Paul McCartney and Heather Mills’ marriage – fairytale wedding to bitter divorce

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills were a golden couple of the early noughties, their relationship swarmed by intense media attention from the outset.

Heather, 53, was the Beatles star’s second wife, the pair walking down the aisle in an intimate Irish ceremony 19 years ago today (June 11).

Though their relationship failed to stand the test of time, their union earned its place in showbiz history and produced one child – their daughter Beatrice Milly.

In honour of the anniversary, Daily Star has taken a look inside their relationship, from the moment they struck up a connection to the court proceedings in their final chapter.

How they met

Long before he met Heather, Paul, 78, was happily married to photographer animal rights activist Linda Eastman, who first met the Beatles in 1966.

They went on to marry four years later and welcomed daughters Mary, Stella, and son James, while Paul adopted Linda’s daughter Heather from a previous relationship.

Paul and Linda remained married until her tragic death from breast cancer in 1998, with her widowed husband telling The Guardian: "The doctors had told me privately that we'd caught it too late, that she'll have about 18 months. And that was what she had."

Model Heather, who lost her left leg in a traffic collision in the early nineties, presented an award at the 1999 Pride of Britain awards in London, where she first made acquaintance with Paul.

Though Heather was engaged to filmmaker Chris Terrill at the time, she decided to call off their wedding two weeks before the ceremony.

Keeping things professional at first, Heather and Paul grew close when they collaborated on recording a single to raise funds for people who had lost limbs in war zones.

Things eventually turned romantic, and Sir Paul proposed to Heather in July 2001, getting on bended knee with a sapphire and diamond ring during a getaway to the Lake District.

"When I proposed I was a bit nervous but I managed. We've had a good reception from relatives and friends and from the media," Paul told the BBC at the time.

"It just all happened all of a sudden. My brother and sister were very pleased," Heather added.

Wedding bells

They initially planned to say "I do" in Sussex before honeymooning in Jamaica, but the quiet and calm of rural Ireland quickly drew them in.

The wedding was shrouded in secrecy, with guests flown to a mystery destination after arriving at Heathrow airport.

Castle Leslie Estate in the town of Glaslough, County Monaghan, was revealed to be the location for the wedding, with the 300 guests dining out on vegetarian food on the historic grounds.

Stars like Ringo Starr, the band's producer Sir George Martin, and model Twiggy were in attendance, as well as Paul’s children from his marriage to Linda.

Heather walked down the aisle in an ecru lace dress she had designed herself, while Paul wore a suit crafted by Richard James of Britain.

During the ceremony, a song composed by the groom, titled Heather, was played, as a tribute to his bride.

"The ceremony was joyful and moving," Paul’s spokesman, Geoff Baker, said at the time.

"Heather captured the hearts of the congregation when, overcome by the emotion of the occasion, she briefly faltered and wept tears of joy whilst making her vows."

The newlyweds tried their best to keep the location of their honeymoon under wraps, but it was later revealed they travelled to Seychelles to mark the occasion.

Marital bliss

In the early years of their marriage, the newlyweds spoke fondly of one another in interviews, with the musician claiming "being in love" with Heather inspired him to write songs.

When asked to describe life as Paul McCartney’s wife, Heather told the late chat-show host Larry King it was "great, really great," before praising his tidiness around the house.

Together they appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? with Chris Tarrant, winning £32,000 for charity.

During their relationship, they lived together in Paul’s Sussex estate, though the Beatles star was often away on tour.

Heather spoke candidly about her experience of miscarriage during their relationship, revealing her prior ectopic pregnancies had damaged her fertility.

However, the couple fell pregnant in 2003, welcoming their daughter, Beatrice Milly McCartney, named after Heather’s mum and Paul’s aunt, in October of that year.

"She is a little beauty. We couldn't be prouder," Paul said of their daughter, as Heather added she was "ecstatic" to become a mum.

Relationship decline

After spending some time apart, Paul and Heather announced their separation in May 2006, releasing a shared statement with the media to break the news.

"Having tried exceptionally hard to make our relationship work given the daily pressures surrounding us, it is with sadness that we have decided to go our separate ways," they said.

"Our parting is amicable and both of us still care about each other very much but have found it increasingly difficult to maintain a normal relationship with constant intrusion into our private lives, and we have actively tried to protect the privacy of our child."

The following year, Heather gave an interview to US show Extra, in which she appeared to blame Paul’s daughter Stella for the breakdown of their marriage.

Stella never publicly responded to Heather's comments.

The end

After six days in court, Paul and Heather’s divorce hearing wrapped in February of 2008, taking place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Made up of a lump sum of money and assets, Heather was awarded £24.3million in the settlement, as well as payments of £35,000 each year for school and nanny fees for their daughter.

The judge, Mr Justice Bennett, described McCartney's evidence as "balanced" but added he couldn't say the same about Mills' evidence.

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He also stated Mills was "a less than impressive" witness.

Dissatisfied with proceedings, Heather reportedly poured a glass of water over the head of Paul’s solicitor, Fiona Shackleton, in the courtroom.

Their divorce was granted in May of that year, and Heather changed her surname back from Mills McCartney, simply to "Mills".

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