With her fierce gaze and insinuating smile, Tiger Lily Hutchence-Geldof has the unmistakable rock star status of her father, the late INXS Michael Hutchence.
The 26-year-old also inherited his musical talent. Last month, she quietly released her debut album, Tragic Tiger’s Sad Meltdown, a phrase borrowed from a headline about her in New Idea magazine.
And it is this title that speaks volumes about the provenance of her character. Friends say joking about the media’s interest in her is exactly the kind of thing her late mother, Paula Yates, would have done.
This week, Paula’s legacy – as a mother, TV presenter, friend and lover – is once again in the spotlight in the wake of the two-part British documentary, Paula.
He wonders how her pioneering but short life has affected those she loves–and whether the toxic mix of drugs, alcohol, and grief that killed her has affected them, too.
Sure enough, the Tragic Tiger suffered needlessly. She was just 16 months old when her father killed himself in a Sydney hotel room, and she was orphaned three years later when Paula, a grieving 41-year-old, died after an “incautious” heroin overdose.
But — after being raised by Bob Geldof, Paula’s ex-husband and father of her three oldest children — Tiger Lily appears to be following a quieter, healthier path.
She now lives in Fremantle, where she began her career as a musician.
Born Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, she was always known as Tiger Lily but today prefers to use the name Heavenly.
Her life is a surfing, meditation and yoga paradise — a world away from London’s gritty drug scene that killed her mother in 2000, and half-sister Peaches, who also died of a heroin overdose at age 25, in 2014.
Tiger Lily was only four years old, alone at home with her mother, when she found Paula dead. She raises the alarm when a friend of Paula’s calls, telling her she “can’t wake Mummy up”.
Geldof’s house was a natural refuge for the girl. Tiger Lily already knows the Boomtown Rats star and philanthropist well, always sticking with him when Paula was struggling in the years after Hutchence’s death.
She was also close with her half-sisters: Fifi, now 39, Peaches, and Pixie, 32. Tiger Lily and Fifi first shared a bed, clinging to each other in grief. Geldof became her legal guardian and officially adopted her in 2007, intent on raising her out of the show business limelight.
On her $22,000-a-year Six in South West London, she was known for her bohemian spirit, the only girl who wasn’t afraid to let her armpit hair grow out.
Efforts to get her onto the London social scene like her sister Pixie – best friends with DJ Nick Grimshaw and model Daisy Lowe – have failed.
After dabbled in acting and performing at a college in New York, she returned to London and studied for a degree at Goldsmiths College in south-east London. After graduating in 2019, she decided to move to Australia, where she would privately recreate the Hutchence dynasty, and reconnect with his friends and family.
It was said that she did not realize that Hutchence was her father until she was ten years old.
Tiger Lily began contacting his family earlier, a source said, and contacted Michael’s sister, Tina, in 2017 through an intermediary.
Tina, a retired makeup artist living in California, had a fractured relationship with Geldof, and reportedly attempted legal action — unsuccessfully — to gain access to her niece as a child. When called last week, Tina did not answer.
Tiger Lily is also believed to have contacted her father’s INXS bandmates, including guitarist Tim Farris, and some of her Australian cousins.
The desire to leave the UK, and all its painful memories – especially Peaches’ death – is understandable.
Tiger Lily and Peaches were very close. A video posted online shows her playing the piano with Peaches’ best friend, Melisande Gutierrez, daughter of Lily.
And in its album notes, Tiger Lily revealed that “most” of the songs are about Peaches.
It was really moving to create with so much freedom and understanding,
“Most of the songs are about my sister Peaches which I lost as a teenager so singing it out loud felt really powerful but my band always made me feel held back”.
Sure enough, it was in Perth that Lily Tiger felt brave enough to spread her wings as a performer.
She was, until recently, in a relationship with Nick Allbrook, former guitarist with the band Freo Tame Impala, who works as a landscape gardener.
Now single, she has been enjoying the folk-alternative music scene locally, performing with friends in bars incl East Perth Place Barbies So is the Fremantle Marine Club.
She notes: “I was always shy about singing with other people but I move around the world and my ex Nick gave me some courage.
There was something about living so close to nature that meant I felt creative and open-hearted. It was as if the wide open landscapes of Australia had finally given my heart enough room to open properly.
Surprisingly, there is no wealth to support her new creative endeavours.
She was to receive three lump sum payments, $22 million each, from the Hutchence estate when she turned 18, 21 and 25.
In this case, sources say that there was money for tuition and nannies, but nothing more. And Geldof has always been very clear that he expects his children to provide for themselves as adults.
As Fifi said: “No gilded lily. Dad grew up to make his own money and he instilled that in us.”
“The only thing that absolutely bothered her, I think, was that there didn’t seem to be any legal or even financial acknowledgment that she was her father’s daughter,” said director Richard Lowenstein, who met Tiger Lilly in 2019. The entire estate was gone.
“I was telling her, ‘He might still come to you when you’re 25,’ but she stopped laughing and said she’s given it up now. It’s literally gone.”
Hutchence’s estate was controlled and trusted by his former attorney and Colin Diamond, Tiger Lily’s godfather, who said that Hutchence’s fortune had been “devoured by parties, gifts and huge legal bills”, meaning he died penniless.
Lowenstein added, “She met [him] He handed her an envelope with $900 in it and said, “Here you go, this will supply you.” I think Bob shook his head in horror and they both just walked out.”
Lowenstein said he was pleased to be able to give her an acoustic guitar that had belonged to her father, which made her “very elated”.
What about her two remaining sisters, Fifi and Pixie?
The eldest of the Yates-Geldof girls, Fifi, like Tiger Lily, is not one to be in the spotlight.
She is 39 years old, and lives quietly in the suburbs of London with her husband, Andrew Robertson, and their many dogs.
She has struggled with depression for most of her life, which erupted during her parents’ divorce.
Fifi was not on good terms with Paula when she died, and hints that her mother’s drinking and drug use may have been to blame.
She once told an interviewer, “We had a tempestuous relationship to say the least. I don’t think I knew her very well.”
“If the situation that was going on at the time — I won’t elaborate on it — was going on today, then not talking will happen again. I don’t regret it and still don’t.”
She had a wild period after her A-levels, after Paula’s death. “I completely lost my … for about a year. There was a lot of drinking and drug use.
I was a silly, hurt, stupid, reckless teenager. I really think if I hadn’t met my ex when I was 19 or 20, I would be dead by now.
Sister Pixie lives in North London with her husband, drummer George Barnett, and their daughter, who was born in 2021.
She has had a long modeling career, supports marine conservation and has also worked as a DJ.
Her circle of friends includes Harry Styles and Princess Eugenie (she was a guest at Eugenie’s wedding).
A friend says, “I think she’s sober. I heard that a while ago. She’s completely out of the showbiz scene and almost never goes out.”
No one, it seems, is ready to make the same mistakes that their mother and sister made.
And for Tiger Lilly, who has lived through such tragedy, the “sad breakdown” will probably never come.
Arguably, this is the best legacy Paula could hope for.
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