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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
McCartney: Then and now
Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
The celebrity couple attended many events together
Sir Paul McCartney, ex-Beatle, painter, poet and widower will re-marry in Ireland on Tuesday, marking the second important phase of his life.

Sir Paul McCartney has been world famous for 40 years.

But the public side of his life with first wife Linda McCartney, who died of cancer four years ago, is noticeably different from his current life with fiancee Heather Mills.

SirPaul
Sir Paul has enbarked on an artistic career
That difference is highlighted in the vastly opposing arrangements for his first and second wedding.

When Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman in 1969 it was a low-key affair at a registry office in Marylebone, central London, booked just the day before the ceremony.

Mystery

There were just a handful of guests, none of his fellow Beatles bandmates, and the best man, Sir Paul's brother Mike, was more than an hour late after his train from Liverpool was delayed.

"I really don't know whether or not I invited any of the band to the wedding," said Sir Paul.

"Maybe it was because the group was breaking up, We certainly weren't a gang any more."

Linda's daughter Heather was bridesmaid while roadie Mal Evans acted as a witness.

Sir Paul himself nearly forgot to buy a ring for the big day, having been wrapped up in a recording session.

But he convinced a jeweller to open up so he could buy a 12 wedding band.

The reception was held at the Ritz in Picadillly but Sir Paul left early to return to the recording studio.

The same day George Harrison's home was raided by police and drugs were found.

Ringo Starr was not invited to Sir Paul's wedding to Linda
Following the wedding, the couple began their slow retreat from the unblinking gaze of the media.

Although the exact details of Sir Paul's marriage to Heather Mills remain a mystery, there is no doubt it will be an entirely different affair.

The secrecy and planning surrounding the nuptials in Ireland on Tuesday are a world away from 1969.

Much of the reason for this can be attributed to the changing nature of celebrity journalism.

But the reports of guests put on standby to keep the date secret speak of a ceremony to rival the 2000 weddings of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Celebrity spotlight

It is expensive, extravagant, high-profile and entirely in keeping with the lifestyle enjoyed by Sir Paul ever since he met Heather Mills.

Sir Paul and Linda McCartney
Sir Paul and Linda formed Wings
While the ex-Beatle has been one of the most famous men in the world for four decades, his life in the late 1970s, throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s has been one outside the celebrity spotlight.

He and Linda brought up their children in their farmhouse in Sussex as privately and as quietly as possible.

Linda and Sir Paul appeared to be living something akin to The Good Life - committed vegetarians, they lived life at a rural pace, and sent their children to the local state school.

Famously, Sir Paul's daughter Mary once asked her father when she was a small child if he was indeed Paul McCartney of the Beatles.

Media stock

For 29 years, with barely a night apart, Sir Paul and Linda lived a life as ordinary as multi-millionaires with global celebrity could.

Sir Paul and Heather
Sir Paul and Heather released an official photo
But in the last few years since Linda's death Sir Paul's media stock has risen and risen.

Partly it is due to the go-getting nature of Heather Mills who has never shied away from using her partner's celebrity to help further the many charitable causes she supports.

The couple have graced many tabloid pages attending a multitude of events and charity launches.

While Sir Paul and Heather Mills seemed happy enough to attend the GQ awards and the Pantene Pro-V awards, one cannot imagine Linda and the ex-Beatle stepping out at similar events.

Sir Paul even made an incongruous appearance on ITV programme Stars and Their Lives, as it paid tribute to the charity work of Heather Mills.

Mills would also seem to have had an effect on the former Beatle's confidence.

Creative talents

In the last two years he has released volumes of poetry and publicly exhibited his art for the first time.

He has always written poetry and painted but only of late has he found the confidence to go public with his wider creative talents.

He has also recently embarked on an exhausting 27-date tour of America and fallen in reciprocated love with New York.

The east coast American city, so often linked with John Lennon, has taken Sir Paul into its arms in the wake of 11 September.

As one of the last two surviving Beatles, he seems to have stepped out of Lennon's shadow and seems finally comfortable with the legacy of the Liverpool band.

In many ways Heather Mills would seem to have taught Sir Paul how to be a star again.

BBC News Online charts Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills' relationship


The courtship

The happy couple

Remembering Linda

PHOTO GALLERY

THE LOCAL HERO

In Pictures
Sir Paul's big day
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