THE REBOUND MARRIAGE: Why Heather Never Stood a Chance; realitycheckWhen Sir Paul McCartney Lost Linda - His Soulmate of 29 Years - He Rushed to Fill the Void with a New Relationship. like Many Older Widowers or Divorces, He Wanted to Recreate the Comfort and Security of His First Marriage. but as Anne Garvey Reveals, That Set Up Impossible Obstacles for New Wife Heather to Overcome

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Nobody can ever really know what goes on inside other people's marriages - even one as high-profile as Paul and Heather McCartney's, which we tend to think of as public property (as is the way with celebrity relationships). Was he really a tight-fisted stay-at-home, whose idea of a big night out was a drink in the pub with his roadie? Was she really a shrill harpy who banged on about his lack of style, pot-smoking and gave him hell for failing to take enough interest in her charitable causes?

These allegations emerged from various 'friends' and 'insiders' once the couple announced they were splitting up - and they may all be true, although what went on behind the McCartneys' front door, let alone their bedroom door, can only be matter for speculation. But what we can say with authority is that, given the circumstances of the marriage, it had little chance of success right from the start.

Clearly there was an aching void in Paul's life after the death of his first wife, Linda, and who can blame him for wanting to fill it? 'Men who have been married a long time and find themselves alone because of death or divorce are much more likely than women to go into a new relationship relatively quickly,' says YOU's relationships expert Zelda West-Meads. 'After all, they have had a mostly good experience - even where it has eventually ended in divorce - and they are keen to repeat it. They know what it's like to be married successfully.' Whereas women in a similar position might have a wild fling with their tennis coach or the gardener, but carefully preserve their independence, men are more likely to marry. As psychologist Dr Teri Apter of Cambridge University says: 'It is not so common for women to fall in love as blindly as men do in midlife.' But in their eagerness to fill that loneliness void, older men can make rash choices. Dr Apter says: 'They tend to be men in their 60s [Paul McCartney was 57 when he met Heather] who have been in long-term relationships, fall in love and say they have never felt like this in their whole lives. It brings out their tender side, they sense a new vulnerability they thought they would never feel again, they feel rescued, cared for, loved. It can be exhilarating.' The problem is that Heather, tough though she appears, had to deal with the legacy of Linda, the ghost of the perfect-seeming first wife (it's easy to forget that Linda was initially loathed by the public as much as Heather was - and possibly more). To step into the shoes of an adored partner of almost three decades is daunting. Was Paul really over Linda - the woman he had spent almost all his adult life with, the mother of his children, and his soulmate? Zelda West-Meads is certain that many men (and Paul McCartney she feels is one) continue to mourn the loss of their first spouse. 'The man who has lost a long-term partner can easily be still grieving, unconsciously, for the woman no longer there. He might marry to stem the pain, but the longing for the beloved hangs on. A second marriage is under immediate strain because what seems like an ideal solution - keen younger woman, lonely older man - is nothing of the sort. It is actually part of the grief process which must be gone through.

Marriage, in these circumstances, is no short cut to recovery.' Although Heather has been characterised as a gold-digger, it was Paul who pursued her, found her feistiness fascinating, and made the running. You would have to have a very cool head indeed not to have it turned by this kind of all-out attention from a multimillionaire rock legend.

And younger women can be drawn to the experience and security of an older man. They see them as a sound bet, offering stability, status and financial security, although few can begin to match the [pounds sterling]800 million McCartney pile.

Plus, he had proven ability as a husband. 'Paul McCartney is a successful, active father and stepfather,' says Dr Apter. …