Renate Blauel, the ex-wife of Sir Elton John, is suing the singer for an estimated £3 million in damages.
Blauel claims that details disclosed in John’s memoir and the film Rocketman breached the terms of their divorce agreement in 1988.
Why is Elton John being sued?
Blauel states that passages in John’s 2019 memoir Me, and parts of the Hollywood movie Rocketman (2019) revealed details of their marriage, subsequently breaching an agreement that they made when the two divorced in 1988.
In papers filed to the High Court in London, Blauel’s legal team states that she was forced to change her name and appearance in an attempt to “shed her identity” and keep out of the public eye.
Her claim states, “As a result of the above breaches, [her] right to privacy and autonomy have been shattered.
“She, and the marriage, have become the subject of widespread press scrutiny and discussion.”
Blauel’s claim says that the disclosure of these details have triggered long-standing mental health problems.
What has Elton John said?
In response to these claims, John’s defence acknowledged the existence of the divorce agreement, however they denied any breaches or causing of “psychological harm.”
John’s legal team argues that the details shared were already public knowledge, and that the contract “applies only to private and confidential matters.”
According to papers that were filed at the High Court, John had agreed to remove specific passages from his autobiography before it was published, and that in the final draft, Blauel appears in only eight pages.
In the book, John describes Blauel in generally positive terms, calling her “dignified”, “decent” and “someone I couldn’t fault in any way.”
In one segment, John admitted “huge guilt and regret” for causing Blauel hurt during the relationship.
He also described how the two had limited contact following their separation, and talked about an incident where he had invited her to meet with his children and husband David Furnish because he “wanted her two be part of our lives, and us part of hers, in some way.”
Blauel “didn’t want to” and John did not pursue the issue any further.
‘Misrepresented the relationship’
However, Blauel states that some of the passages present in the book “seriously misrepresented the nature of their relationship.”
In one instance, John claimed in the book that he didn’t enter into the marriage with the intention of starting a family – something that Blauel contests, stating that they “did attempt to have children during their relationship but were unable to do so.”
According to court documents, a request to have this passage removed was rejected.
Blauel also claims to not have been consulted about her appearance in the film Rocketman, in which she was portrayed by Celinde Schoenmaker. The marriage took up less than five minutes of screentime in the film.
Blauel states that following the release of the movie and the memoir, a journalist had been trying to find her in her local village, which caused her “great anxiety.”
How did they meet and how long were they married?
John and Blauel met in 1983, when John was recording his comeback album, Two Low For Zero at London’s Air Studios. Blauel, a German sound engineer, was working at the studio at the time.
They married in 1984, a year later, in Australia. They stayed together for four years, then divorced in 1988.
John had told Rolling Stone magazine in 1976 that was bisexual. In 1992, he then told the same publication that he was “quite comfortable about being gay.”
After their divource, John said that Blauel was “the classiest woman he had ever met, but it wasn’t meant to be. I was living a lie.”
Blauel has kept a low profile since the divorce. John went on to form a civil partnership with David Furnish in 2005, with whom he had two children with via surrogacy.
John and Furnish then married in the UK when gay marriage was legalised, on the ninth anniversary of their civil partnership.