Similarly former 1970s film sexpot Jane Seymour, OBE, has endured the view of a wall from her hotel in Pyrmont since arriving from California.
Seymour has spent two weeks in quarantine before starting work on a new film being shot in Queensland called Ruby’s Choice. It appears she has barely been recognised since arriving, apart from a trip to emergency after injuring her leg during one of her sanctioned, escorted walks outdoors.
Meanwhile Kidman and Keith Urban, along with their daughters Sunday Rose and Faith, are midway through their two-week isolation in the luxurious confines of their Southern Highlands estate, having been granted hotel quarantine exemption by the NSW government.
Kidman’s Sydney publicist Wendy Day was quick to hose down claims, published in the Daily Mail, that the star was flouting the rules – along with a detailed fashion breakdown of Kidman’s Ugg boots and Urban’s fleecy-lined tracksuit.
While Kidman was not “locking down” in a cramped hotel room, Day argued photos showing her strolling around the expansive grounds of her property with her family were not entirely indicative of the actual situation. “It’s absolute garbage. She is paying for all her own security and following all the rules, they are in isolation,” Day said, informing PS Kidman was using the time for pre-production for the upcoming project Nine Perfect Strangers.
The new TV series will pump $100 million into the local economy during its 19-week shoot, a welcome relief for the local film industry, which has been reeling from the COVID-19 shutdown.
It is unclear if her co-star Melissa McCarthy is already in the country, though Welsh actor Luke Evans was posting selfies on Wednesday, presumably having completed his mandatory quarantine.
The NSW government states that those returning from overseas can be exempt from staying at a quarantine hotel if there are “strong medical, health or compassionate grounds”.
Hearst’s search for new mag partner
The head honchos at Harper’s Bazaar HQ in New York are not too happy with what has been happening to their beloved fashion bible in Australia. The magazine was unceremoniously killed off on Tuesday, four days after publisher Bauer Media was taken over by private equity firm Mercury Capital.
Bauer shut most of the international titles it publishes under licence here, including Elle, InStyle and Men’s Health, but it was the axing of Harper’s Bazaar – first launched in Australia in 1984 under the editorship of Lee Tulloch – which truly rattled the local magazine market.
The Harper’s Bazaar masthead is owned by the wealthy American Hearst family and has been an icon of international glamour and style around the world for decades. For many years it was a joint venture between the Hearsts and former ACP proprietors the Packers. In 2017 it became a licensing agreement between Hearst and Bauer, which was due to expire at the end of the year.
PS can reveal the bad blood set in around two years ago when Harper’s Bazaar Australia was firmly under the control of German-based Bauer, and the Americans were concerned it was not keeping up with global publishing trends, including the push towards digital media.
Hearst’s global editorial director Kim St Clair Bodden discreetly flew to Sydney to meet with various publishing executives about forming a new alliance in Australia to publish the magazine. It remains to be seen if a new partner will emerge, but in other parts of the world Hearst has done similar transitions for its other titles, including Elle.
In the 1990s, when Harper’s Bazaar was producing bumper issues of 300 or more pages in Australia packed with luxury advertising, the local edition was one of the most profitable in the world for the Hearsts and Packers.
While arch rival Edwina McCann at Vogue Australia is no doubt relishing all the extra ad revenue about to go her way, the loss of such a prestige brand from the market does not bode well for the overall luxury sector, which has boomed in Australia over the past decade.
Meanwhile there was nothing luxurious about how the 40 staff, including loyal Harper’s Bazaar editor Eugenie Kelly, were shown the door at Bauer this week. As one put it to PS: “No speeches, no thanks, no cards … not even a bloody cake. It really was very shabby treatment. People might think it’s all Ab Fab, champers and glamour on those magazines, but in reality we worked out arses off, the days of $25,000 photo shoots are long gone. We pulled off miracles on a shoestring.”
Long before COVID-19 had venues “deep cleaning”, millionaire motorcycle champion Mick Doohan had been doing a bit of “Depp Cleaning”.
Doohan is the owner of the Coomera Waters mansion which has starred so prominently in the sensational court claims regarding Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his former wife Amber Heard. In 2015 the couple famously rented – along with their pet dogs Pistol and Boo – Doohan’s pile, while Depp was filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
It was claimed in a London court that Depp allegedly used blood from his severed finger – an injury he claimed happened when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him – to paint messages on one of Doohan’s mirrors during the rampage which left the home “completely destroyed”.
The damage bill was reportedly more than $200,000, with blood throughout the house, furniture smashed and artworks defaced.
The same property has hosted several other big-name celebrities, including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their children, along with pop star Pink.
Depp’s former house manager Ben King told the court the floors had to be re-sanded, the curtains cleaned, paintwork and plasterwork replaced, and chipped-stone benches repaired after Depp’s stay.
Depp told the court he was a “party” to the damage, most of which he claimed was caused by Heard.
David Bowie, Iggy Pop and A Country Practice
The latest edition of Britain’s MOJO magazine has an extraordinary revelation buried away in a piece on the late, great David Bowie: he was a huge fan of ’80s Aussie soap opera A Country Practice, a passion he shared with his mate Iggy Pop.
Fiona Porteous, daughter of actor Shane Porteous who played Dr Terence Elliott in the series, confirmed this was the case. In 1987 she tagged along with her father and two siblings to a concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre after Bowie had requested to meet with one of the show’s stars.
“There was no way Dad was going to that concert without his three teenage kids! We got to meet him before the concert. It was an amazing experience and I remember we all towered over him, David was quite short, and how exhausted he looked,” Fiona Porteous told PS.
“The funny thing is Dad wasn’t David’s first choice. He had wanted to meet Fatso the wombat, but Featherdale Wildlife Park wouldn’t let him out for the night. Then he asked to meet Grant Dodwell, but Grant had already left the show by that stage. So poor Dad was Bowie’s third choice!”
Andrew Hornery is a senior journalist and Private Sydney columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.