When Joan Collins and Tony Newley are your parents, your childhood is going to be anything but ordinary. Portrait artist Alexander Newley spoke to Ryan Tubridy on the release of his book “Unaccompanied Minor” which traces his first 14 years with two incredibly famous parents.
“Mum and Dad were the centre of a huge social set. They were the sort of ‘it’ couple of the day. My mum threw these amazing parties and through the door would come people like Natalie Wood and Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior and I remember it because I used to take their coats!… All the big stars of the time came to our parties.”
While Alexander recalls fond moments with his parents on The Ryan Tubridy Show, the book is somewhat darker, as the title might suggest. Alexander’s parents divorced when he was nearly 4 years old and so began a life of ocean-hopping between parents in LA and London. Speaking of his father, Alexander says he wasn’t ready to be a committed family man at the time.
“I think that my father was a highly creative. He was a very sexual man, it was the 60’s, remember that was the time of free love. It was encouraged to “follow your bliss”, as it were, and I just think that in the best possible sense, he was kind of impossible… He wasn’t fully equipped to be a family man.”
Tony Newley passed away in 1999 and Alexander describes his father as joyous, a genius and full of child-like wonder. “A father and son could not have loved each other more than we loved each other,” he says. Of his mother, while Alexander says they share a good relationship, the book has proved somewhat contentious.
“My version of events is not exactly hers but it has forced us to look at our shared story and to reminisce… She has told me a lot more about her experience so it’s been, overall, a good dig for both of us and I think it’s added to the maturity of our relationship… We love each other as mother and son very much.”
Unaccompanied Minor is available for purchase now and you can click here to listen to the programme in full.
Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images
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