How Phil Collins won back the ex-wife he never stopped loving… Even though she’d married another man and he’d paid her £25m divorce money
He has made a successful career writing about the private lives of public figures including Tony Blair, Idi Amin, Richard Nixon and the Queen.
Now Peter Morgan, the 52-year-old scriptwriter behind films such as The Last King Of Scotland and Frost/Nixon, has found the spotlight turned on himself after splitting up with his aristocratic wife.
Morgan married Lila Schwarzenberg — born Princess Anna Carolina zu Schwarzenberg — in 1997. The couple have six children and divide their time between Vienna and London.
But Lila gave a revealing insight into the state of their fractious marriage in a series of highly personal columns for an Austrian society magazine. This included the occasion when Morgan, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2007 for his screenplay for The Queen and in 2009 for Frost/Nixon, was furious to be served a dinner of fish fingers.
‘Peter . . . always says you can gauge the state of our marriage on the number of fish fingers he gets served up in a week,’ she wrote in 2013. ‘And it appears I went too far once again with my culinary neglect towards Peter as . . . I served him the leftovers of the kids’ meal (guess what it was). He took one look and said: “I am neither five years old nor a f****** penguin.” He left the table and left the house in the search for a decent dinner, as he puts it.’
She also disclosed what she said were his efforts to seduce her with the help of the erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey during a holiday to Ibiza. She recorded her surprise that her ‘intellectually orientated husband . . . had bought me this “housewife porn” book.’
Before the birth of their fifth child in 2011, Morgan said of his marriage: ‘We are so wildly chalk and cheese . . . She’s sociable. She loves children . . . Lila’s idea of heaven is a noisy house, people running through it, and that goes some way to describing my idea of hell.’
A spokesman for Morgan tells me: ‘With regret and sadness, it can be confirmed that Peter and his wife have agreed on a separation. This was achieved on an entirely amicable basis. There is no discussion of a divorce, and there are no third parties involved on either side.’
D’ye think that his having been the not very good drummer in my and Gerry Keen’s not very good band might have had something to do with it?