Children are better off with both parents, Angelina...
ANGELINA JOLIE and Brad Pitt’s epic divorce is finally reaching the courts next month, with Angelina demanding sole custody of their six children – and Brad insisting it should be joint.
No doubt Angelina is devoted to her brood, but I can’t understand why anybody would think they are making their children better off by depriving their father of an equal part in their upbringing.
Divorce is horrible for all concerned and, usually by the time one gets to that point, relations between the parents are arctic.
Both parties will take an extremely hostile view of almost everything about each other and be ready to cite a zillion examples of their ex’s appalling behaviour.
But children don’t feel the same. They have tremendous loyalty to both parents and learn early on to navigate between the two camps.
They hate to hear their parents slagging off each other and generally decide that total discretion is the wisest modus vivendi – rarely telling one parent anything about their time with the other.
I remember freaking out when I learnt, through a third party, that my son Sam, then six years old, had slept in his father’s Majorcan bar during his stay with him. But Sam never mentioned it to me, nor seemed particularly put out when I raised the topic.
Children are very accepting of each parent’s character and, as they grow up, instinctively understand their respective strengths and weaknesses.
There have been countless times when, annoyed as I may have been with my ex, I have known that he would have a better take than me on one of our child’s worries. At moments like this, shared responsibility is a relief.
Divorced parenting is never easy but the best thing you can do for your kids is to try to ensure they have an equally strong relationship with both parents. This is far more likely to be achieved if their custody isn’t entrusted to only one – and they aren’t fought over like a property portfolio.
Christmas cookies make me crumble
THE Christmas Lakeland catalogue arrived this week, triggering my first bout of seasonal l ow self-esteem. The pages are filled with products for the kind of festive home that I have never achieved. Are there really people who whip up gingerbread Christmas trees and Nutcracker soldier cookies? If that’s you – serious respect.
A Royal Yacht could keep Britain af loat
TWENTY-ONE years after Britannia was retired, it’s time to commission a new Royal Yacht. As a country we need to be thinking big and flaunting every asset we have. Pomp and pageantry is one of our star turns, and nobody ever turns down an invitation to Buckingham Palace, nor I bet, would they to Britannia 2. Industrialists love a yacht, and a float- ing Royal conference room advertising the attractions of doing business with Britain would easily repay the £60 million a new vessel would apparently cost. Especially if it were William, Harry and their attractive families on deck – rather than Air Miles Andy.
Oh brother, that was a £200m mistake
IT’S often said that you only need one good idea to make your fortune. The trick is to recognise it.
Many years back my younger brother was working as art director on what was then Harpers & Queen magazine when the junior beauty editor approached him to ask for his advice.
She said she felt stuck in her job and was thinking of leaving to start up a mail-order company selling white sheets and pillow cases.
His reply? ‘That’s the nuttiest idea I’ve ever heard. Whatever you do, don’t do that. Hang on in here. I’m sure you’ll get a promotion soon.’
The young woman was called Chrissie Rucker. And her idea? The White Company, which last year sold £200 million of the stuff.
Victoria’s too Posh to push the Spice Girls
THE Spice Girls are reuniting for a tour that is going to net them a couple of million each. But they are having to do it without Posh Spice, who has refused to join in. And no wonder. For Victoria Beckham those takings are chicken feed, and why would she want to revisit the past? There comes a point where a Wannabe becomes a Hasbeen.
When I interviewed Victoria in 2008 for her first Vogue cover story, she was performing in the last Spice Girls tour.
She invited me and my family to come to the show and welcomed us into her dressing room where, as David fixated on his phone, she was done up in full Posh regalia – squeezed i nto a shiny bronze catsuit, caked in fake tan with a stiff helmet of hair gel and tottering around in platform shoes that make her normal stilettos look like comfy slippers. Ten years later her world has moved on and she is now a sophisticated fashion designer whose every public appearance is an advert for her business.
Any hint of a latex catsuit could kill that hard- won brand image stone dead.
Is this really what a feminist looks like?
THE annual Victoria’s Secret show took place in New York last week featuring models of the moment Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.
The performance is part pin-up calendar, part rock concert, with the highly paid girls strutting their stuff on the catwalk in minuscule strips of lingerie accessorised in exotic bondage style.
Quite where this sits with the proclaimed #MeToo values of these hugely successful models is hard to work out. Personally, I’m all for women being able to wear as little or as much as they are comfortable in and have no problem mixing a sequined thong with feminism.
But where I do get confused is how the girls expect men to react to them in these overtly sexual costumes. Modern-day feminism is all about escaping from the tyranny and subjugation of the ‘male gaze’, so this seems a funny way to go about it.
MIXED MESSAGE?: Gigi, left, and Kendall on the catwalk last week