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Collins fights e-mail slur

April 30, 2002

JOAN Collins was yesterday forced to deny rumours that her marriage of two months was on the rocks after she was targeted by a bizarre e-mail campaign.

Messages sent to a number of newspapers, including The Scotsman, claimed that her marriage to 38-year-old Percy Gibson was "just for show" and that the couple slept in separate beds, even during their honeymoon.

The e-mails - badly typed and littered with spelling mistakes - offered to reveal personal details about Collins’ private life.

Yesterday Collins pointed the finger of blame at a disgruntled relative.

In an interview with the New York Post she said: "There is a person who used to be in my life who has been spreading all kinds of derogatory and defamatory things about Percy and I ever since we announced our engagement. He's quite vindictive."

Yesterday Collins said she was angry that she and her fifth husband had become the targets of the e-mail campaign, which she dismissed as untrue.

She said: "I find it very sad that someone is spreading this stuff. We’re extremely happy and very much in love. We couldn’t be happier.

"We just drove 12 hours from London to the South of France to spend a week here."

Collins, who has three children, married Gibson, a US-based Scots-Peruvian, at a private ceremony attended by close friends in a London hotel in February.

The couple contacted the New York Post after learning that the e-mails were circulating. Gibson told the paper: "Whoever is doing this is one bitter person. We both have the e-mails in our possession. We’re both fed up with having to respond to allegations just because someone sends them to a newspaper."

And he insisted: "We sleep together every night."

Yesterday five e-mails were sent to The Scotsman from an untraceable internet-based account in the name of Amy Taylor.

The writer claimed to work for Joan Collins and accused the couple of putting on a show of unity for the cameras.

The first one read: "I know a great deal about Joan’s private life and her family...I am not looking for money just love the intrigue of her life."

Another e-mail claimed to contain more personal details about Gibson’s mother Bridget Monaghan, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and included a picture of him with an elderly woman, but the details proved to be incorrect.

And in one of the later e-mails the writer claimed to be the teenage daughter of Collins’ PR woman Stella Wilson.

It read: "my mum is Stella Wison Joan’s pr woman she doesn’t know i’m writing to you i am serious with all of this ..."[sic]

And it continued: "This marriage there is something not right i mean this guy Percy is always on holiday he never works and maybe it’s all right for Joan to made a fool of but it won’t be Joan who has to clean up after her thats what my mum and other people who for her do." [sic]

Last night Stella Wilson said her daughter was horrified to have been implicated in the e-mails and she made it clear that the 16-year-old had nothing to do with the messages.

She said: "It is not my 16-year-old daughter who is sending them, but various of them have claimed to be from her.

"She is at boarding school and she doesn’t even have e-mail. She is as horrified as the rest of us."

Collins agent Peter Charles Worth said the former Dynasty star had consulted lawyers about the accusations in the e-mails: "This is causing Joan a lot of grief," he said.

Collins’ publicist Jeffrey Lane also defended the couple. He said: "I've been staying in the guest room of Joan's apartment in Los Angeles since February and I can 100 per cent confirm that they share a bedroom and live as a couple. This is a fact. It's total nonsense to suggest otherwise.

"Obviously, I'm in my bed and they're in their bed, but they have a perfectly normal relationship. I see them go to bed together every night, and in the morning, when we're all having breakfast, they're like a normal romantic couple holding hands and all that sort of thing."

Collins and Gibson, 32 years her junior, announced that he was to become her fifth husband just 12 weeks after they first met.

The engagement raised eyebrows over the age difference between the couple but the couple were not put off.

They wed in a private, Ј100,000 ceremony at London’s Claridges Hotel, and sold the rights to the pictures to OK! magazine for an estimated Ј375,000.

Gibson wore a kilt as a nod to his mother’s Glasgow roots and guests at the wedding included Sir Michael Caine, Roger Moore, Jerry Hall, Sir Cliff Richard, Cilla Black and Ruby Wax.

Collins first wed in 1951 at the age of 18 but the marriage to Maxwell Reed, 13 years her senior, ended in divorce two years later.

Next came the singer Anthony Newley. The couple were married in 1963 and had two children, Sacha and Tara, but were divorced in 1971.

Her third husband was Ronald Kass, the head of the Beatles’ record company Apple. They married in 1972 and had one daughter, Katy, but that also ended in divorce nine years later.

And marriage to Peter Holm, 14 years her junior, ended in the courts in an argument over money.

by Gethin Chamberlain. Copyright © 2002


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