In February 2020, tragedy struck again when Andy – the guitarist for Gang of Four and Michael’s songwriting partner during his short solo career outside of INXS – passed away suddenly from a respiratory illness at the age of 64. Catherine has spoken out about suspecting he was one of the early victims of COVID-19, before the world realised how deadly it was going to be.
“Tiger was devastated for Catherine. She loved Andy, and she has heard through tales passed down just how much her dad loved Andy, too. The four of them were thick as thieves and Tiger always felt her parents were close by when she was with them,” says a source.
Catherine rarely speaks about the loss of Michael, who died by suicide in 1997, and Paula, who passed three years later from a heroin overdose. But on the 20th anniversary of his death, Catherine, writing a personal essay for The Guardian, said: “Michael [was] the first close friend of my age to [die]. Grief doesn’t always manifest in tears and pain.
“For months afterwards, numb and fizzing with a demented energy, I walked into walls and tripped over paving stones. The bruises multiplied as if my body was trying to tell me, ‘This hurts; this really hurts.’”
Catherine’s three-year friendship with Michael blossomed after he called Andy to ask if he would play guitar on his new record. Andy, who is also credited with co-writingand producing, moved with Michael to a house in France to begin their recording process.
Catherine would visit with Paula on weekends, where she observed: “Michael did adore her and she him, although both doubted they were worthy of the other.”
Michael died before he finished the self-titled album, leaving his grief-stricken friend Andy to complete it– and ensure it was dedicated to Tiger, his only child.
In the following years, Catherine sadly watched Paula’s second daughter, Peaches Geldof, suffer from relentless British media attention before succumbing to a heroin overdose, aged 25, in 2014. Sources say she swore to protect Tiger, who features heavily in Catherine’s life.
Making new memories
Last year, Catherine took a trip with Tiger and her fiancé, Aussie musician Nick Allbrook, to Hastings. Sources say they spent “lovely, cosy time with Catherine’s eclectic group of friends, listening to music and admiring each other’s art”.
Catherine has also spoken on her Instagram of listening to one of aspiring singer Tiger’s songs, ‘Teena’.
“Catherine thinks the world of Tiger and is so proud of the woman she’s become,” says a source. “She has no doubt her parents would be, too.
“Tiger admires Catherine’s incredible work as a writer and women’s rights activist. They are kindred spirits through shared losses, experience and creativity.”
Read more in this week's New Idea, on sale now.