Perhaps the first to spring to mind is the dumping of his second wife, Jill, by fax.But long before that less-than-edifying incident came the one that laid the foundation for his solo career away from his band, Genesis.
All these years on, he’s still playing the victim, and I think it’s time he stopped.’The musician’s recent attempt to return to performing – after announcing his retirement in 2011 – has reopened wounds for Andrea, 63, a softly spoken woman who divides her time between Canada and rural Wiltshire, where she is speaking today. The musician – who has battled alcoholism and depression, and can no longer drum since suffering a spinal injury five years ago – pulled out of a concert in Miami last December, citing the return of a ‘neurological affliction’.But he is writing new material and further concerts are expected. ‘Trying to partly blame me for him not seeing as much of his children as he should have done is typical of him,’ she says.We did our best to put it behind us, but the same issues were there.Things got worse as Phil was always arguing and lashing out rather than trying to resolve anything.‘I hated what happened and suffered from immense guilt and shame. I think I just wasn’t coping very well and made a bad decision, which I regret. The last time we were together he booked us into a lovely hotel in Vancouver and tried to persuade me to come home, but it was too late.The song was written, so the story goes, after his first wife left him for a painter and decorator; a fact underlined by his infamous appearance on Top Of The Pops, where he placed a pot of paint on his piano.
But all this time, the other person at the centre of the drama – his first wife Andrea – has listened in distress as her name has been sullied.‘I tried breastfeeding but I had trouble expressing my milk and had to switch to formula.Simon had an allergic reaction to it, and his psoriasis was so severe he had to stay in hospital for two weeks.She and Joely, then a toddler, returned to Britain with him, and the couple married aged 24.‘Drummers don’t get much attention, so when he was just doing that he could be a low-key guy,’ she says.‘Once he became the singer he became much more focused on the band and his career. 1 priority, and his ego started to grow.’‘I told him I wouldn’t survive – I knew it would destroy our marriage,’ she says.The singer came home during breaks in the tour schedule, and sometimes Andrea and the children visited him in the school holidays.