He has variously been a pop icon, broadcaster, vicar — and most recently a bereft widower following the death, 15 months ago, of his beloved civil partner and fellow clergyman David, after the latter’s protracted battle with alcohol.
But I can disclose that the Rev Richard Coles, one-time multi-instrumentalist in 1980s duo The Communards, is now preparing for arguably the most improbable development in his extraordinary life — moving in with a woman.
Lorna Gradden was once manager of The Communards but is now living on the South Coast, where 59-year-old Coles plans to join her when he retires.
Currently vicar of Finedon in Northamptonshire, he describes Lorna as one of his ‘oldest friends’, and has a characteristically acute vision of their prospective new life in Sussex.
Rev Richard Coles and his late partner David, who died 15 months ago
Rev. Reverend Richard Coles where he is the parish priest of St. Mary’s Church in Finedon, Northamptonshire
‘It sounds exactly like Mapp and Lucia, and I’m sure it will be,’ he says, alluding to the classic novels by E. F. Benson.
It was to Lorna that Coles turned in the days after David’s death, aged only 42, in December 2019, driving down to see her.
And it was Lorna who accompanied him home to the vicarage in Finedon after David’s funeral when, in his words, grief flowed up from within him ‘like lava’.
Coles recalled: ‘I had this conversation with David’s mum where she said, ‘Don’t write yourself off. Go out there, meet someone, have a new life. It’s what David would have wanted.’ I thought, ‘Actually, David would have much rather I was sitting at home in a black shawl, stirring a pot of polenta.”
Lorna is, he says, the closest to another partner anyone can currently be. But, ultimately, he plans to return to Northamptonshire, to be buried next to David.
‘Though the date of my occupancy is still a matter of speculation at the moment . . . I know I will rejoin him. He was a flawed person, like I am, but I deeply, deeply loved him.’
Rod’s girl Ruby and a split in The Sisterhood
Sir Rod Stewart was so proud of his daughter Ruby’s country music band, The Sisterhood, that he performed with them several times on stage.
Sadly, he will never do so again as Ruby, 33, reveals she and her bandmate, Alyssa Bonagura (above right with Ruby), are parting ways.
‘It’s been a magical run and I’m beyond grateful to have had five transformative years in the band,’ says Ruby, daughter of former model Kelly Emberg and Rod (inset with his daughter). Ruby explains that time apart over the past year made them realise they were ready to embark on solo careers.
‘With Covid changing the world as a whole, it has also brought many to changes to our band,’ she reflects.
Ruby Stewart and Alyssa Bonagura of The Sisterhood attend the 2019 TrevorLive Los Angeles Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 17, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California
Life is no longer a cabaret for Nicky
Chain-smoking interior designer Nicky Haslam has called time on his cabaret career.
Despite claiming that puffing on Vogue cigarettes improved his voice, Nicky, 81, will no more reprise Manhattan’s ‘supper club’ music songbook before celebrity audiences in London hotspots.
‘A year of not singing and no practice — my voice has gone,’ he laments. ‘And I am not sure I have the nerve to start it all up again.’ Nicky doesn’t even have a piano any more. However, he does have a souvenir of his pre-Covid crooning days — a plaudit from Bob Geldof. The Live Aid rocker congratulated Nicky on his CD, Midnight Matinee, on which he performs with Bryan Ferry, Helena Bonham Carter and the late Cilla Black among others.
‘Nicky has shown us all how it should be done,’ pronounced Geldof.
Nicky Haslam attends the Amanda Wakeley show during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016 on September 22, 2015 in London
Oops! I forgot my skirt, says daring Sadie
Reformed party girl Sadie Frost was so excited to go out again this week that she forgot how to dress in an appropriate manner.
The 55-year-old actress and former wife of film star Jude Law strutted out of her house in London’s Primrose Hill wearing a £195 navy jumper with the word ‘Defiant’ across it — and not much else, except for a pair of tights.
‘Going out, have I forgotten anything? My skirt!’ joked the mother-of-four as she headed to a bar with her boyfriend, film director Darren Strowger, and their pet dog Cherry.
The 55-year-old actress and former wife of film star Jude Law strutted out of her house in London’s Primrose Hill wearing a £195 navy jumper with the word ‘Defiant’ across it — and not much else, except for a pair of tights
Motherhood throws Ellie a curveball
Pop star Ellie Goulding is due to give birth any day now, but she couldn’t wait to introduce her unborn child to the art world as galleries re-opened this week.
The 34-year-old, who sang at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding reception, went with art dealer husband Caspar Jopling to the Gilbert & George exhibition at The White Cube in London — the gallery founded by Caspar’s uncle, Jay.
Ellie says of her pregnancy: ‘I want a better word than womanly — I have curves I’ve never had before. I’m enjoying it. My husband’s enjoying it.’
Pop star Ellie Goulding is due to give birth any day now, but she couldn’t wait to introduce her unborn child to the art world as galleries re-opened this week
Oscar-winner Olivia Colman reveals she owns the Margaret Thatcher pearls worn by Meryl Streep when the latter depicted the former Prime Minister on screen.
‘I did Iron Lady with Meryl — I played her daughter — and I have the pearls that Meryl wore in the film,’ says Colman. ‘The producers sent me them and said, ‘We were just going through things. They belong to your mummy [as in Meryl Streep] and we think you should have them.’ Which was so sweet because it was sort of passing down, although imaginary mummy and daughter.’
Hollywood star Naomi Watts has failed to light up West London with her ‘clean’ cosmetics company, Onda.
‘Sadly, we had to close the store in Notting Hill, which is devastating,’ says Naomi, 52.
‘It was in its infancy, then Covid hit. So we have one in Sydney and one in New York. We stock 80 brands and it’s about removing harmful ingredients.’
The daughter of Welsh set designer, Myfanwy, added that it ‘is a shame’ the British store had to close as ‘my mum decorated the one in London’.
A poignant tribute to the late racing driver John Crichton-Stuart, 7th Marquess of Bute.
After attending his funeral in West London this week, his 21-year-old model daughter Lady Lola reveals she has acquired a chocolate labrador puppy, whom she has named Jaguar after the car driven by her father when he won Le Mans in 1988.
She affectionately refers to her new canine pal as ‘Baby Bute’.