Inside Bob Geldofs life – from family heartache, custody battle and affairs

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Bob Geldof is known for being outspoken, never holding back when it comes to what is on his mind, famously swearing on stage at Live Aid and on The X Factor.

The lead singer of The Boomtown Rats has raised millions for those less fortunate than himself over the years, as well as showing a more reserved and kinder side of him when meeting fans.

Over the years, Sir Bob has faced the ultimate heartache following the death of his late wife Paula Yates, as well as the tragic death of his daughter, Peaches.

As the legendary rocker turns 70, Daily Star has explored his famous life…

"Please, stay in and give us the money. There are people dying NOW!" Bob Geldof's impassioned plea, which then turned sweary, is one of the defining moments from the Live Aid benefit concert in 1985.

Early life

Geldof's journey to that day started when he was born, on 5 October 1951, in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland.

His early life had its challenges, aged just six, his mother Evelyn tragically died aged 41 of a cerebral haemorrhage.

Sir Bib was bullied at his Catholic secondary boarding school for his middle name – Zenon – and for his lack of rugby skills, he went on to work as a slaughterman in an abattoir and as a road worker.

Music man

After some time living in Canada, Bob returned to Ireland in 1975.

He became the lead singer of the rock band Boomtown Rats, who were part of the punk movement.

The band's second UK No. 1, I Don't Like Mondays, was an international hit in 1979. The classic track caused controversy as it was inspired by a quote from a young woman who had attempted an armed massacre at a school in California.

The Boomtown Rats disbanded in 1986 but have since hit the road together in 2013 and 2021.

Live Aid

Following the huge success of the Do They Know It's Christmas charity single in December 1984, Geldof and Ultravox frontman Midge Ure organised Live Aid, a benefit concert aimed at raising more funds to ease the Ethiopian famine crisis.

Held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia, the roll call of rock and pop talent included Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats, U2, David Bowie, Elton John, George Michael, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Madonna, Duran Duran.

Queen and frontman Freddie Mercury stole the show with their iconic renditions of hits including Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Gaga and We Will Rock You.

Live Aid raised an astonishing $127 million (£100,247,450).

Starting a family

Geldof's longtime girlfriend and first wife was the rock journalist, and then TV presenter, Paula Yates. She was a Boomtown Rats fan and the couple started dating in 1976.

Yates presented the late-night music show The Tube from 1982 to 1987. In March 1983 they had their first daughter, Fifi Trixibelle.

Bob and Paula then married after 10 years together, in June 1986.

Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon gave the bride away and was Bob's best man.

Another daughter, Peaches Honeyblossom, arrived in March 1989, followed by Little Pixie (aka Pixie) in September 1990.

Extra marital affairs

In February 1995, Paula left Bob for Michael Hutchence, the charismatic Australian frontman of rock band INXS.

Michael had previously dated Kylie Minogue and Dutch supermodel Helena Christensen.

Paula and Michael met when she interviewed him The Tube in 1985, but she later famously flirted with him on a bed on the set of The Big Breakfast in October 1994.

Geldof and Yates divorced in May 1996, and Paula and Michael had a daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (known as Tiger ) in July 1996.

In March 2021, actor Rupert Everett revealed that he and Paula had a six-year affair that began in 1982.

"We were very, very close, I must say, for a long time, and she's someone that I adored and still do. I think I was in love with her. I adored her," he said on Piers Morgan's Life Stories.

Michael and Paula's deaths

Michael Hutchence died in a Sydney hotel room on 22 November 1997.

The cause was hanging, which was ruled as a suicide, although Paula insisted it was a game of auto-erotic asphyxiation gone wrong.

Paula died of a heroin overdose on 17 September 2000, Pixie's 10th birthday, a tragedy that would later reappear in the Geldof family through their daughter, Peaches Honeyblossom.

Following Paula's heartbreaking death, Sir Bob went on to gain full custody of their three children, Fifi, Peaches and Pixie, before Bob became the legal guardian of Tiger Lily.

Custody, Peaches' death and a new love

Less than 15 years after the death of her mother, Peaches Geldof was found dead at her family home following a heroin overdose.

At the time of her death, the model and columnist was just 25-years-old, leaving behind two children and her widower, Thomas.

"I can externalise something that's incomprehensible, something that knows no boundary, that's the abyss of emptiness and loss," Bob told the Irish News in 2020.

Bob began dating French actress Jeanne Marine in 1996 and they were married in April 2015.

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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