Money can't buy love or even Heather's silence for Sir Paul

Other News Materials 13 October 2007 05:44 (UTC +04:00)

Sir Paul McCartney once sang that money couldn't buy him love. Today it appears it can't buy his estranged wife's silence either.

The failure of Sir Paul and Heather Mills to reach an agreement on their divorce appears to have come down to a confidentiality clause.

He is desperate for her to sign a gag order while Heather wants to be free, after four years of an increasingly acrimonious marriage, to be able to talk and write about it.

There now seems little chance of a deal between now and a five-day public divorce hearing in front of Justice Bennett, a High Court judge.

The legal fees for that hearing alone are likely to cost the couple more than ?1 million (Dh7.48 million) while the total legal bills are likely to make it the most lucrative case for lawyers in history.

A source close to the case has confirmed that the confidentiality clause was a major sticking point during more than eight hours of talks at a mediation hearing on Thursday that was supposed to settle the case. The source said: "They are just not agreeing. Obviously there were other factors but confidentiality is one of the big problems."

The pair emerged from Court 16 at the Royal Courts of Justice in Holborn at around 6.30pm but both declined to comment.

Sir Paul flashed his usual "V" for victory sign while Heather shielded her face from the throng of waiting cameramen and reporters.

Sir Paul was later seen at a gallery launch in the West End with daughters Stella and Mary. Also present were Thandie Newton and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The relatively short length of the marriage implies Heather is not likely to be awarded anything more than a small proportion of Sir Paul's fortune, estimated at ?825 million.

Sir Paul is understood to have offered Heather a record-breaking ?50 million if she agreed to keep quiet about their relationship - while she was willing to accept as much as ?15 million less provided she could discuss it. There appears to be no middle ground. ( Gulf )