Archive for Friday, July 27, 2001

Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney announces engagement

July 27, 2001


— Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle who lost his first wife to cancer three years ago, is engaged to be married to Heather Mills, an activist for the disabled.

McCartney, 59, proposed on Monday during a trip to Britain's Lake District, his spokesman said Thursday. The two plan to marry some time next year.

The 33-year-old Mills is a former swimwear model whose left leg was amputated below the knee after she was run down by a police motorcyclist in 1993.

The spokesman said McCartney bought the sapphire and diamond engagement ring in India earlier this year.

"Paul and Heather said today they would like to thank their relatives and friends for all the great support they have shown them since they met two years ago," said a statement from McCartney's office.

McCartney, who was knighted in 1997, has three grown children and a stepdaughter from his first marriage.

McCartney spoke briefly with journalists Thursday evening outside his home in St. John's Wood, north London. Asked how he proposed to his fiancee, the former Beatle said, "That's private, that's just for me." He then went back inside for a quiet dinner with his future wife.

McCartney met Mills at a charity function when she appealed for help for her own foundation, The Heather Mills Trust, which provides limbs for victims of war. McCartney said last year that he was smitten instantly.

"So I found out her telephone number like you do and rang her up and said we should talk about some charity stuff," he said. "I did fancy her from the start but I was playing it cool."

The former Beatle's romance with his first wife was legendary among fans.

Linda McCartney, an acclaimed photographer who had been a crusader for vegetarianism and animal rights, died from breast cancer on April 17, 1998, at the family's Arizona ranch. McCartney's spokesman said then that the couple had spent just one night apart in their 30 years of marriage.

McCartney said in December 1999 that he'd cried for 14 months after her death, but felt he was finally ready to get on with life.

Mills was married briefly in 1989. In 1999, she had been due to marry documentary cameraman Chris Terrill, but two weeks before the date of the wedding the ceremony was called off.

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