Relatives of Rolling Stone Ronnie rush to Ireland in bid to halt bender
Family in mercy dash to stop alcoholic rocker's destructive binge with Russian teen
Published 13/07/2008 | 22:22
Relatives of Ronnie Wood are understood to be making their way to Ireland in an attempt to save the world-famous rock star from endangering his life any further.
The 61-year-old Rolling Stone, who is a chronic alcoholic, has gone on one of his infamous benders -- and has been keeping company with a 19-year-old Russian waitress he met in a London lap-dancing bar.
He has so far refused to heed the warning calls of his wife Jo and his family, who have too often witnessed his destructive behaviour.
A week is a long time in politics, but it also seems to be a long time in the life of a world-famous rock and roll star.
News of Woods's Irish bender broke last Wednesday afternoon. On my way down Grafton Street, in the corner of my vision, I spotted Mr Wood, arm in arm with some pretty young blonde girl -- smiling away, cigarette in hand.
They were walking towards Stephen's Green, and I initially thought she was a relation. He looks happy, I thought, and I headed on -- thinking no more about it.
But later an interview I did with Ronnie last year came to mind. It was ahead of the Stones' return to Slane Castle and Ronnie let slip that he only rarely makes it into Dublin, despite only living 30 miles away in Clane, Co Kildare.
He owns an expansive house which includes both an art studio and a recording studio. The house was the location of a party following the sell-out Slane concert.
He said his wife, Jo, had banned him from going into Dublin for fear he "wouldn't come back for three days". The recovering alcoholic said both his wife and handlers feared the temptations would be too much for him.
Ronnie explained: "Well, it's a good test for me to come back to Ireland and not drink. I'll probably do it through the smoking ban too. It'll be weird to go in to a pub and not have a drink and not have a cigarette, so it's strange.
"If I head into Dublin, it's a bit dangerous for me staying on the old wagon. I can do it, I've done it before, but I'm going through a learning curve of abstaining. I love coming into Dublin, but a lot of the time I'm not allowed to because of all the trouble I have got into in the past."
Who doesn't allow you? I asked.
"You know, the wife and the various people who look after me, they think 'The last time you went to Dublin it took you three days to come home'. But I do have a great time there."
When the story of Ronnie's latest bender broke last Thursday, and it seemed that the errant rock star might have left his wife Jo to be with the pretty Russian Ekaterina Ivanova, the resonance of my interview with him came to the fore.
Ronnie hooked up with the young waitress at the Capricorn Club in London a couple of weeks ago and they came to his house in Clane, where he does most of his painting.
They have been seen in local pubs and restaurants, and at a video station in Clane in past few days. Ronnie failed to show at an exhibition of his art in London, last Thursday, and his son Tyrone had to speak in his place.
Ronnie's family have dismissed claims that the Moscow-born teenager is his girlfriend saying that she is merely a "drinking companion".
His wife Jo said this weekend: "It's so sad. You're watching one of the people you most love in the world self-destruct in front to you. But he's not in reality, he's on a bender and he's created his own reality. It's self-destruction and its hard for the family with the world's media looking at him. How do you help an alcoholic? They have to want to get better and they have to want to go to rehab. But how many times does it take to hit rock bottom?"
A publicist for Ronnie was quoted yesterday as saying: "She is a drinking partner. When you're an alcoholic and your family are all telling you to stop drinking, you simply find someone else to drink with. You can see how it happens; you end up pushing away the ones you love because you don't think straight."
Sources close to Wood in Ireland confirmed he and the girl stayed at his house here during the week, but stressed that she wasn't his girlfriend.
Wood and his young companion were believed to have been at the Oxegen festival this weekend.