Monday, June 19, 2006
London (Reuters): As a young Beatle, Paul McCartney wondered what it would be like to be 64. toay he will know. But far from the enduring love he described when, as a teenager, he wrote the Beatles' classic ''When I'm Sixty-Four'', McCartney finds his life in turmoil after he and second wife Heather Mills decided to separate after a four-year marriage. The separation is being played out in the full glare of publicity as intense as anything McCartney experienced during his days as a member of the world's most famous rock group.
Mills, 38, has been the subject of a torrent of tabloid allegations about her past life and has pledged to sue one British newspaper. ''One of the worst aspects of going through what Heather and I are currently going through is the malicious spreading of rumours and made-up facts that is happening in some areas of the media,'' McCartney said in a recent message on his website. McCartney's spirits may be at a low ebb but he remains a national institution in Britain and adored by millions of fans around the world. Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper said McCartney's daughters Stella and Mary planned to celebrate his 64th birthday by throwing a barbecue for close friends and family on Sunday at his estate at Peasmarsh, East Sussex, in southern England.
In contrast to the frugal old age he foresaw in ''When I'm Sixty-Four'' taking holidays ''if it's not too dear'', McCartney is one of Britain's wealthiest people. Legal experts say he could lose up to a quarter of his 825 million pound ($1.53 billion) fortune in a divorce settlement. Liverpool-born McCartney recorded ''When I'm Sixty-Four'' as a tribute to his father Jim who turned 64 in 1966. He wrote the song as a teenager but it was not released until the Beatles' legendary album ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band''.
McCartney's beloved first wife Linda died of breast cancer in 1998. He married Mills, a former model turned charity campaigner against land mines and seal hunting, in 2002. McCartney, who has three adult children from his first marriage, became a father again at 61 when Mills gave birth to Beatrice in 2003. He also adopted Linda's daughter from her first marriage. He has three grandchildren, although none bear the names of those in the song-Vera, Chuck or Dave.