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Thursday, 3 January, 2002, 11:20 GMT
Clapton marries in secret
Eric Clapton
Clapton was married to Pattie Boyd until 1988
Rock legend Eric Clapton has secretly married the mother of his baby daughter.

The 56-year-old guitarist married American Melia McEnery, 25, in Surrey on New Year's Day.


It was a very happy occasion

The Reverend Christopher Elson
Guests attending the low-key church ceremony were told they were there for the christening of the couple's six-month-old daughter, Julie Rose, and his daughter by an earlier relationship, Ruth, 16.

But immediately after the baptism, Clapton and Ms McEnery exchanged marriage vows.

The ceremony took place at St Mary Magdalen church at Ripley in Surrey, where Clapton's son, Conor, who died aged four, is buried.

'Blessing'

Conor Clapton died after falling from a window in a skyscraper apartment in New York in 1991, moving Clapton to write the song Tears in Heaven.

Eric Clapton
Clapton: A guitar hero over four decades
The Reverend Christopher Elson, who wed the couple and christened the children, said: "It was a very happy occasion, and God's blessing upon Eric and Melia in their married life, as well as for Julie and Ruth at the beginning of their Christian lives."

He added that he had known about the wedding for some time and helped the couple plan the ceremony.

The clergyman said no further details of the ceremony would be released and that Clapton had nothing more to say.

Clapton met Ms McEnery, a graphic artist, on a trip to Los Angeles.

'Surprise'

The Sun reported that the wedding was attended by rock musician Andy Fairweather-Low, whose wife Barbara was reported as saying: "Only close friends and family were invited as Eric wanted to keep it private.

"We went there thinking it was just a christening for the girls.

"Everyone cheered when Eric stepped forward - it was lovely, a total surprise."

Mr Elson said that no further details of the ceremony would be released, and Clapton's management company have refused to comment on the story.

Clapton was married for nine years to Pattie Boyd, previously the wife of former Beatle George Harrison, who died last November. Clapton and Boyd divorced in 1988.

See also:

26 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Clapton guitars fetch 60,000
16 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Clapton's Hall of Fame honour
28 Jun 99 | UK
Clapton admits abusing wife
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