…What’s more, he has a special knack of always being where the action is: in Moscow with the tanks and Yeltsin during the 1991 coup, strolling through downtown Manhattan on 11 September, nightclubbing in Miami with Gianni Versace before he was shot, sleeping with Béatrice Dalle when she was the most desirable woman in France, having an affair with Paula Yates when she was one half of the most famous couple in Britain. Not forgetting his most publicly defining role: gay best friend to Madonna.
Or at least he was. Until she read his book.
“She really didn’t like it.”
Didn’t she, I say? But it’s very affectionate.
“I think it is very affectionate, and certainly with her I was very careful to only write things that were. But she felt it was an infringement of privacy.”
In fact, it is mostly very affectionate. Of their first meeting, he writes: “She had the cupid-bow lips of a silent screen star, and it was obvious that she was playing with Sean [Penn]’s cock throughout the meal. She was mesmerizing. She oozed sex and demanded a sexual response from everyone. It didn’t matter if you were gay. You were swept up all the same.”
When I read it a second time around, though, I think I spot some of the areas of potential concern. His observation that she smells “vaguely of sweat”, to take one example. Or that, like all Hollywood’s alpha females, she’s something of a “she-man”. Or just possibly it was this bit that she didn’t care much for: “Just like America, everything about Madonna had changed. And what had happened had been carefully wrapped in psychological clingfilm and locked inside an interior fridge. Sometimes, in moments of stress, Madonna had power cuts and the old whiny barmaid came screaming out of the defrosting cold room.”
Still, I say, it’s not like you give anything away.
“No I don’t, but goddesses like that are obsessed with their public image and want to control everything about it, so if anyone is to tell anyone anything about her it’s got to be her.”
So has she forgiven you for that now?
“Elephants don’t forget.”
Has she not forgiven you in a jokey way, or has she really not forgiven you?
“She doesn’t trust me any more.”