Did you know Elton John has an ex-wife? Me neither. But he does, and she’s not happy with him. In fact she’s suing the “Levon” singer for £3 million.
Renate Blauel, a sound engineer born in Germany, married Elton in 1984, divorcing him four years later in 1988. Her lawsuit, details of which were filed this week in London, claims that Elton violated the terms of their divorce by writing about their relationship in Me, his 2019 autobiography.
Per the Independent, Elton did in fact excise sections of the manuscript at Blauel’s request. This was done before the book went to print. But she is still mentioned in Me (I haven’t read it yet), and she claims the book has led to a resurgence of psychological problems stemming from their marriage and divorce. (Her lawyers claim that Elton did not comply with her request to remove parts of the book, so the truth about that is still unclear.)
In the book Elton writes that he feels “huge guilt and regret” over their relationship, conceding that he did not do right by her.
“I’d broken the heart of someone I loved and who loved me unconditionally, someone I couldn’t fault in any way,” he wrote. “Despite all the pain, there was no acrimony involved at all. For years afterwards, whenever something happened to me, the press would turn up on her doorstep, looking for her to dish the dirt, and she never, ever has.”
He also revealed that he and Blauel are not friends, and that she refused his invitation to meet the two children he is raising with David Furnish, whom he married in 2014.
“But she didn’t want to [meet the kids],” he wrote, “and I didn’t push the issue. I have to respect how she feels.”
It seems she felt pretty awful for a long while. The Guardian reports, for example, that Blauel went so far as to change her identity to escape the memory and consequences of her marriage. She did this in 2001. In the years prior she reportedly suffered from severe mental distress, even undergoing electric shock therapy on a number of occasions.
Eventually, her lawyers say, she managed to put her past behind her. Then came Rocketman, the 2019 biopic directed by Dexter Fletcher, and she relapsed big time, complete with nightmares, anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia.
“Renate is particularly upset by the film which is inaccurate, misleading and insulting,” the lawsuit states. “In her mind, the film seeks to portray their marriage as a sham, which she wholeheartedly disputes and considers a false and disrespectful portrayal of their time together.”
We’ll see whether Elton’s guilt is “huge” enough to cover £3 million.