Elton John's ex-wife demands £3m over film and memoir

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Elton John and Renate Blauel got married in 1984Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Elton John and Renate Blauel got married in 1984 and divorced four years later

Sir Elton John's ex-wife, Renate Blauel, is seeking an estimated £3m in damages amid claims the singer broke the terms of their divorce deal.

The sound engineer, who was married to the star for four years, is suing over passages in Sir Elton's 2019 memoir Me, and the hit movie Rocketman.

Ms Blauel claims these revealed details of the marriage, breaking an agreement they made when they divorced in 1988.

The disclosures triggered long-standing mental health problems, her claim said.

In response, Sir Elton's defence acknowledged the existence of the divorce agreement, which both parties signed, but denied any breaches or causing "psychological harm".

According to papers filed at the High Court in London, Sir Elton agreed to remove certain passages from his autobiography before it was published last year, and in the final draft, Ms Blauel only appears on eight pages.

Sir Elton describes her in positive terms throughout the book, calling her "dignified", "decent" and "someone I couldn't fault in any way".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ms Blauel has never spoken publicly about her marriage to Sir Elton

However, Ms Blauel claims some of the remaining passages "seriously misrepresented the nature of their relationship".

For instance, Sir Elton claimed in his book that he did not enter their marriage with the intention of starting a family. Ms Blauel contests that they "did attempt to have children during their relationship but were unable to do so".

A request to have this passage removed was rejected, according to court documents.

She also claimed not to have been consulted about her appearance in Rocketman, in which she was played by Celinde Schoenmaker - although the marriage took up less than five minutes of screentime.

Ms Blauel also said that, following the release of the movie and the memoir, a journalist had "been trying to locate her in her local village", causing her "great anxiety".

Shocked and saddened

Her lawyer, Yisrael Hiller, told the BBC that Sir Elton had "ignored" his promise to keep the details of their marriage private.

"Renate is particularly upset by the film," he added.

"In her mind, the film seeks to portray their marriage as a sham, which she wholeheartedly disputes and considers a false and disrespectful portrayal of their time together.

"Renate wants the privacy that was promised to her - that is why she is seeking an injunction. Any claim for monetary relief is secondary, and would just cover damages and future expenses caused by Elton's breaches."

Her court filing does not suggest a figure for the damages, but the £3m sum is referred to in Sir Elton's defence, as a figure that had been disclosed in previous correspondence between the two parties.

A source close to the singer told the BBC: "Elton is shocked and saddened by Renate's claim after 30 years of a mutually amicable and respectful divorce, especially as he has only ever praised her publicly."

'Huge guilt'

The pair met in 1983, as Sir Elton recorded his comeback album Two Low For Zero at London's Air Studios, where Ms Blauel worked as an engineer.

The couple married the following year in Australia, with Ms Blauel telling United Press International: "He's the nicest guy I've ever met".

However, they divorced four years later. Sir Elton, who had told Rolling Stone magazine in 1976 that he was bisexual, subsequently told the same publication he was "quite comfortable being gay".

The star went on to marry filmmaker David Furnish in 2005, and the couple have two children.

Ms Blauel has kept a low profile since the divorce, but Sir Elton has previously spoken of his "huge guilt and regret" over the hurt he caused her.

Details of their legal dispute first emerged last month, when Ms Blauel filed for an injunction at London's High Court. Further details emerged after Sir Elton's team filed a response this week.

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