The much loved Boomtown Rats singer and political activist from Dublin, has been known to be a bit of a grump at times, but at Hay Festival over the weekend, he managed to hit the heart strings of everyone in the audience when he made a moving speech about the power of love.
Geldof, 59, admitted that he became a “detestable” character following the break-up from his wife Paula Yates, the television presenter, but his life transformed when he met Jeanne Marine, a French actress who has been his partner now for 15 years, reads the Irish Independent.
Speaking on the final day of the Telegraph Hay Festival, Geldof says (via The Telegraph) he was left heartbroken when Yates left him in 1995 for Michael Hutchence, the Australian singer.
The popular television presenter, Paula Yates, died from a drugs overdose leaving Geldof to raise their three young girls and Yates' daughter by Hutchence.
“My wife left me, I left her, and I was destroyed by this event,” Geldof told a hushed auditorium. “I couldn’t get beyond the huge immensity of loss – that universal grief. Pain crowded in my head. I couldn’t find a way over or beyond it. It was too much, the whole thing."
“I hated women. I didn’t trust them. I didn’t want to be near them.”
At the time, Geldof went to live in Paris to escape the media attention.
“They gave me a dinner and opposite me was this beautiful girl. I registered her beauty but the great English word is: I was 'unmanned’. This woman, for some reason, found something to love in this most unbearable of men, this most detestable of characters.
“When there is an insistence upon love, there is only one inevitable recourse and that is to respond. The soul … gradually gets stitched back together and something resembling a human being gets reconstructed – in this case, me.
“This [my new] record is about understanding at the beginning of my dotage, at the age of 59, something that teenagers and 20-year-olds understand – that the human condition without the existence of love is absolutely futile.”
He closed the festival by performing a song from his new album 'How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell.'