There have only been two times in my life where I’ve written to celebrities, for want of a better word, in a moment of fangirl madness.
The first was in 1990 when English soccer player Paul Gascoigne was ruled out of a World Cup final England would never reach. Lordy, where did those 28 years go? My then boyfriend was over in England playing cricket at the time, I was working night shift here (there go those 28 years again) and I was living a nocturnal life.
I’d get home from work at midnight, watch three games of football, and sleep til noon and drag myself into work. I was probably more exhausted than many lazy Colombian strikers come the end of the month.
I even knew all the words to New Order’s World in Motion. Have a listen.
I’d become quite invested in the English team, particularly in the young upstart Gascoigne, who, at 23, had brought a bit of spark to the game.
When he was yellow-carded in the 99th minute in the semi-final, after previously being carded against Belgium, I cried alongside him.
Gazza was out of the final. As fate would have it, the English lost that game in a shootout anyway, and capitulated to finish fourth, losing to host nation Italy in the play-off. The dastardly Germans ended up winning the thing.
I wrote, an actual letter, (see note about 28 years), addressed to Mr Paul Gascoigne, care of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, Tottenham, London, England, just to let him know that far away there was another 23-year-old, one who had a bit of spark herself back then, who was thinking of him.
I never heard back from Gazza but I’m sure he has my letter tucked away somewhere and he reads it when times are tough.
I never heard back from Catherine Zeta Jones either. It was 2003 and I was about eight months pregnant with my second child. I had been invited to a wedding and had nothing to wear. Catherine knew just how I felt, she was close to term with her daughter Carys when she had to attend the Oscars. We were like sisters. Sisters who would be happy to lend each other clothes. Like that gorgeous Versace gown that shows off your pregnancy boobs and flatters that bump. When are you ever going to wear that again?
So I wrote to Catherine, care of some website I found, and asked her if I could borrow her dress to wear to this wedding. It wouldn’t look out of place at the Green Herring restaurant reception would it? I never got to find out.
And then this week, I read the interview with Natalie Joyce in The Australian Women’s Weekly. What a scoop. I’m well aware, and have been told many times, there are three sides to every divorce story: his, hers and the truth. But it was enlightening to read Natalie’s truth. I can’t imagine how she’s felt, watching it all play out in the press and on television. The separation of a marriage, the very detail of it, should be a very private thing, and for as much as you think I’ve divulged here over the years, my truth could be told in a thousand more columns. The point where you know a marriage is over, what your intuition tells you about things. But people shouldn’t do that.
Natalie said she was speaking out so her daughters “feel empowered and know their mum stood up and defended our fine name”. She wanted to find her voice and speak her truth.
Whether she’s done the right thing, I’m not sure. But the story touched a nerve and I’m penning that letter as we speak to tell her how much it did.