The Christine Smith Interview: Adam Ant - I've Had Three Stalkers and Two Nervous Breakdowns but Lily Has Saved My Life; THE HAIR-ERASING ADVENTURES OF EIGHTIES POP ICON ADAM ANT
Byline: Christine Smith
ADAM Ant walks into the bar wearing a tall black hat, blue shades, leather coat and a Spice Girls T-shirt.
I get the picture: This guy is in a league of his own.
What follows does nothing to diminish my first impression of a man who, in my (humble) opinion, remains one the world's natural stars.
I will certainly never forget my afternoon with the 80s king of the new romantics - who is planning a major comeback after years in the wilderness.
What sets this 47-year-old former heart-throb apart from any other celebrity I have met is his remarkable frankness. No subject is taboo with glam pop legend Adam - real name Stuart Leslie Goddard.
We are supposed to be discussing the singer's return to the stage as part of a revival tour next year, when he will wear those wacky clothes , apply that famous white, striped make-up and become again the Dandy Highwayman.
Then Mr Ant will churn out his collection of 22 smash-hit singles (Prince Charming, Stand And Deliver, Ant Music etc, etc).
People can still sing 'em all. That's why Adam became a world-wide superstar. But we don't seem to get onto the subject of his career with any real success. Instead, we talk about sex, condoms, paedophiles and suicide.
Adam readily volunteers deeply personal information while lounging back on a leather sofa and smoking a Cuban cigar.
He is drinking water. Booze will come later, he assures me. The singer - who took up alcohol a month ago on his 47th birthday after a 23-year break - drinks strong beverages only after 3pm.
It is 2pm. Sitting in the American Bar of London's Stafford Hotel, we are on the countdown. In 60 minutes, we can drink. But why did Adam stay dry for so long?
"I got sh*tfaced on New Year's Eve in 1978 with Kenny Morris out of Siouxsie And The Banshees.
"Two bottles of vodka, I laid face-down on the bed. My dad had a problem, his dad did... and my friend was horrified. I decided there and then to give it up.
"But finally on my birthday, I had another drink. Why? My daughter Lily made me realise I should loosen up, live a bit."
LILY, Lily, Lily. Adam is a besotted father. Although he split up with Lorraine, his second wife, shortly after Lily's birth four years ago, he still sees his daughter nearly every day at his London home.
Lily is his raison d'etre and the reason why he has successfully fought a life-long battle against manic depression. Adam is very open about "his illness", as he refers to it.
"Depression is a taboo," he says. "I hate taboos..."
Seven years ago Adam suffered a nervous breakdown and checked himself into a clinic for three months. He admits he was finding it hard coming to terms with the fact that he was no longer famous, no longer the man idolised by millions.
"It was a very terrible thing," says Adam. "People think you are nuts and I just did not want to know. So I went into a clinic. The brain is cut off. I thought I was going to die. The stress... But it's hardly surprising if you've been through the kind of life I have.
"People weren't buying as many records. My record company did not want me. I went through three record companies, went on tour at the wrong time. It destroyed me. It is not nice when people come up saying: 'Didn't you used to be Adam Ant?' I do have a pulse, you know. But I got through it all." Since then, Adam has had regular check-ups. He reckons his last visit to a clinic was two years ago.
"I am off the medication now," he says. "And being a father has ultimately pulled me through. I won't get depressed again. I have to be around to bring Lily up. She has saved my life in every way. "
He reminds me this was not his first breakdown. He fell into a terrible depression back in 1975, aged 21, just before he shot to fame.
At the time, his one-year marriage to Carol Ann had collapsed. …