Paul McCartney meets Heather Mills

Paul McCartney met his second wife Heather Mills on 20 May 1999.

Their first encounter took place at the first annual Pride Of Britain Awards ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel. McCartney was there to present the Linda McCartney Award For Animal to Viva! founder Juliet Gellatley, and Mills presented a bravery award to Helen Smith, who lost both legs, one arm and a hand to meningitis.

At the ceremony Mills also made an appeal on behalf of the Heather Mills Health Trust, which she was in the process of setting up. The trust existed from 2000 to 2004 and provided prosthetic limbs to people who had lost limbs after stepping on landmines.

McCartney was intrigued by Mills’ charitable work, and a few weeks later he left her a voice message offering to help. He contributed $240,000, the first substantial donation the charity had received.

That summer they stayed in touch and Mills broke off her engagement to freelance cameraman Chris Terrill two weeks prior to their wedding. It was her third failed engagement.

Mills was planning to release a single, ‘VO!CE’, with her sister Fiona to raise money for the charity. In November McCartney invited them to his Hog Hill Mill studio in East Sussex, where he added backing vocals to the song.

Although the tabloids reported on McCartney’s possible new love, it was denied by him and Mills. But by the end of the year they were a couple.

McCartney proposed to Mills on 23 July 2001, and they married on 11 June the following year. They separated on 17 May 2006 and their acrimonious divorce was finalised on 18 February 2008.

Last updated: 7 March 2024
Recording: Try Not To Cry by Paul McCartney
Album release: Yellow Submarine Songtrack
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