He Is the Dark Recluse, She the Bubbly Blonde Who Stole His Heart and Helped Build an Advertising Empire (and Mrs T's Reputation). Now They Never Speak. So What Went Wrong? DORIS SAATCHI TALKS FOR THE FIRST TIME ABOUT HER MARRIAGE TO MULTI- MILLIONAIRE ADMAN CHARLES

Daily Mail (London), March 14, 1997 | Go to article overview

He Is the Dark Recluse, She the Bubbly Blonde Who Stole His Heart and Helped Build an Advertising Empire (and Mrs T's Reputation). Now They Never Speak. So What Went Wrong? DORIS SAATCHI TALKS FOR THE FIRST TIME ABOUT HER MARRIAGE TO MULTI- MILLIONAIRE ADMAN CHARLES


Byline: ANGELA LAMBERT

THE FORMER wife of Charles Saatchi, adman and art collector, thinks she knows why he married her, and indeed why they fell in love, though she is slightly reluctant to spell it out.

Finally she explains. `There is a kind of mythic longing of the dark for the light - and vice versa. It's deeply ingrained. I think it goes back to the worship of the sun. Or perhaps it's just the old idea of the attraction of opposites.

`I don't like saying this because it makes me sound racist, which I absolutely am not. But I was a blonde, fair-skinned northerner )and Charles a dark-skinned Iraqi Jew and in the end I think what we felt for one another was the pull of the dark towards the light, and the longing of the light for darkness.'

She sighs, tips her head back and strokes her long smooth neck. It is clear that although Doris and Charles Saatchi were divorced in 1990, and had six or seven years as a recognised couple before they embarked on 14 years of marriage, there is still a sense of pain and loss. These days, she says, they never speak.

During their marriage the Saatchis were one of London's most glittering couples. Seven years younger than his small and beautiful wife, Charles was famous for having created Saatchi and Saatchi with his brother, Maurice.

Their brilliant campaigns during the General Elections in the Eighties made them notable contributors to Margaret Thatcher's string of Tory victories.

The Saatchi family came to Britain from Iraq in 1947, fleeing persecution. Charles was born in Baghdad in 1943 but both he and his younger brother Maurice were educated in this country. Together they founded their advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, in 1970 and by 1986 Charles had fulfilled his vow to make it the biggest in the world.

In 1988, two years before Charles and Doris divorced, Saatchi & Saatchi had profits of [pounds sterling]87.6 million profit.

As well as the agency that bore the names of Charles and Maurice, another Saatchi duo, Charles and Doris, were famous for their astonishing collection of modern art. `One thing that held us in partnership is that we are both by nature collectors,' says Doris Lockhart Saatchi in her starkly minimalist Mayfair, London, home.

The floors are grey marble, the walls plain white, there is a bare minimum of furniture, a handful of paintings, the occasional light, and absolutely nothing else . . . not a book, plant, ornament, magazine, nothing to break up the monotone space and flatness.

As a work of art it's beautiful but as a home it must be a nightmare to live in. Certainly her three silver cats seem to be going quietly mad with boredom.

`Collecting is a way of ordering and controlling the world and we were both, in our different ways, very concerned with having control,' she says.

`If two people are both driven by this force, it can make for a hell of a conflict between them - though never in connection with the art we bought.

In that respect we found uncanny balance, unity and agreement. That was where we met most harmoniously.`

The Saatchis were the first to discover and buy Damien Hirst - who exhibits dead animals preserved in formaldehyde - and in the Eighties they spent millions on amassing new work, now displayed in a vast gallery in St John's Wood, North London.

Yet Charles was always something of a mystery figure; a man of many paradoxes. Fuelled by enormous energy and intelligence, he was secretive, private, a puzzle to his associates. Although the anecdotes about him are legion, he has never given an interview and dislikes being photographed.

Doris, on the other hand, is vivacious, hospitable, charming and loquacious, a small, fine-boned woman with huge grey eyes and a distinctive style. Charles was a powerful Tory supporter; Doris a liberal who helped raise money for Neil Kinnock and the Labour Party in 1990.

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He Is the Dark Recluse, She the Bubbly Blonde Who Stole His Heart and Helped Build an Advertising Empire (and Mrs T's Reputation). Now They Never Speak. So What Went Wrong? DORIS SAATCHI TALKS FOR THE FIRST TIME ABOUT HER MARRIAGE TO MULTI- MILLIONAIRE ADMAN CHARLES
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