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Pete Doherty on Kate Moss: “Our relationship has become an ongoing battle: highs and then violent and crushing lows” | Pete Doherty

Pete Doherty on Kate Moss: “Our relationship has become an ongoing battle: highs and then violent and crushing lows” | Pete Doherty

A many of my early meetings and Kate’s were pretty clandestine. We used to meet in strange back rooms of restaurants in London. Despite being this multi-millionaire she said she was really just a council house girl in Croydon so the first week we were together I insisted she get on a bus with me. She usually went everywhere in a limo. We dressed up, put on wigs and hopped on the bus around London. We used to laugh a little, really. We also had matching tattoos the first week. I think I insisted on that. I wanted her to prove her love, so I said, you gotta get my initials tattooed, you gotta get a tattoo – it was more about insecurity on my part.

I met his parents very early and got along very well with his mother. My mum, dad and little sister Emily came to meet Kate at this new little flat I had moved into in Islington. I had filled it with a bunch of red plastic furniture and two inflatable chairs. My dad said to Kate, “What are you doing? She was only small and he didn’t associate her with the newspaper model. She just laughed.

I thought we could just try as a couple and fuck everything else, that was my approach, but she was more like, no, you have to get clean and then you’ll be fine. It was the ongoing battle for the next two and a half years, really, the drug and his obsession with the tabloids and his image. Kate’s big trick was to “not take her for a bitch”. It was his favorite expression.

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I’ve always wondered if Kate’s big talk, where she was photographed snorting cocaine for a Babyshambles session, had something to do with Paul Ro [Doherty’s acquaintance Paul Roundhill]. The photos were expected to be worth £300,000. They were used on the cover of the Mirror on September 15, 2005, under the title “High As a Kate”. Paul had everyone’s cell phone number, and he was still trying to smooth things over with the papers. He would say, “I’ve been in contact with a guy from the Mirror or the Sun and they want to do something positive,” and he would end up negotiating the deal.

There had been times in the past where photos had been taken from my phone and used in the press, so after the “High As a Kate” thing, Kate turned on me. She said, if you didn’t sell the pictures, how did they get into the papers? And I can’t tell. I just assumed a friend of mine must have done it.

It all really screwed up Kate’s contracts – she lost heaps, including a reputed £4m-a-year deal with H&M – and all her people were pissed at me. The police even wanted to talk to her, but she was not charged due to lack of evidence. As a sort of mea culpa, she went to seek treatment at the Meadows in Arizona, a well-known celebrity rehab facility. She was also supposed to have dumped me, but we were actually still in touch – the deal was that after she left for rehab, I would also go for a month. There were all these stupid things in the papers about our breakup, but it was bullshit.


OWhen I left for my treatment at the Meadows, I had hidden all my drugs in my luggage and fell asleep on the hard shoulder on my way to Heathrow in my Jag. I had stopped for a blowjob. I was awakened with a crack pipe in my mouth by a policeman knocking on the window. He said, “Okay, Pete, are you going to rehab?” It was like he knew what was going on, then I followed the police car to Heathrow. It was so weird.

Doherty, pictured in France last month.
Doherty, pictured in France last month. Photograph: Laura Stevens/The Guardian

When I arrived at the Meadows, they found all the pieces of my luggage, plus what I had hidden in the lining of my jeans – they really knew their stuff. It was a different vibe from rehab in the UK – a mix of absolutely laden trust fund kids and people trying to avoid federal convictions by going into rehab. After two weeks, Kate was supposed to come visit me and take me to the Grand Canyon by helicopter, and I got the nasty surprise when she didn’t show up. In the end I made a runner.

When Kate found out I hadn’t finished the treatment, she told me bluntly that it was over, that we couldn’t see each other anymore. I said, yes, but you were supposed to pick me up in a helicopter for a day trip to the Grand Canyon. The split was all over the press. Kate was quoted in the Mirror as saying: “I wish I had never met him. He is a user in every sense of the word. Everything was falling apart.

Fortunately, Kate invited me over for Christmas. She called on Christmas Eve and said, I’m sending you a car to come to the country. Everything was supposed to be kept secret. It was amazing, actually. One of his security guards, this Maori guy, had his whole family there, and they sang their equivalent of Christmas carols in the large stone reception hall. After that, Kate and I would just have these clandestine meetings. James Brown [Moss’s friend, the celebrity hair stylist] would get in touch with me, call from a certain phone box using a code word, and I would have to go to that flat in Pimlico, across the river from Battersea. It was like a strange apartment that was used for this purpose – we met for the night, or for a few hours sometimes, but I wouldn’t be allowed to tell anyone.

We were attracted to each other. I really loved her, and I knew she loved me – there was all this mess between us, with all of its chaos and my chaos. Sometimes we just needed to see each other. Basically, she snapped her fingers and I came running.


I I think Glastonbury 2007 was the last time Kate and I dated. Something of a beautiful memory, carved in stone. Just wandering around, enjoying a stress-free Glastonbury. I played on the acoustic stage at Green Field. I remember giving Stella McCartney’s husband the thumbs up from the trailer we stayed in after he made some weird comments about my medical condition. I got them all kicked out of the trailer. I had a huge shoebox full of drugs – really happy times.

Kate Moss and Pete Doherty at Glastonbury Festival, 2007 – the last time the couple dated.
Moss and Doherty at Glastonbury Festival, 2007 – the last time the couple dated. Photography: PA Images/Alamy

There wasn’t really a specific incident that ended the relationship. Our worlds weren’t really compatible after all. There were all kinds of incidents. She had this panic button by her bed and a panic button in the kitchen. One day when she was missing somewhere and I was climbing next to the bed, probably for a fallen stone, I accidentally pressed the panic button and 12 armed police ended up at the cottage in St John’s Wood. She was really upset about things like that. It’s become an ongoing battle, really, this relationship. It was always the same, all these years: ups and then crushing, violent downs. It was not sustainable.

I’m quite fragile, really, in myself. This kind of destructive relationship, there’s nothing glamorous about it – it ends up wearing you down and making you mean.

There was one last big kick-off. Kate desecrated this 1930s Gibson I had, destroyed it. Then she covered my teddy bear, called Pandy, in gasoline and set it on fire – it’s not funny. I used to carry it around London with me.

Deep in my heart I like to think it’s just a lie and Kate didn’t really destroy it, she still has it, but no, as far as I know it’s dead , in ashes. It’s still annoying – it was the only thing I clung to. The only time I’ve spoken to him since was eight or nine years ago in Paris. She called me out of the blue. I just said, “Do you still have the tattoo?” It was the only thing I could think of to say.

This is an edited extract from A Likely Lad by Peter Doherty and Simon Spence, published by Little, Brown (£20) on June 16. To support the Guardian and Observer, order your copy at guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply.

This article is from Saturday, the Guardian’s 100-page magazine with everything you need for inspiring weekends. If you subscribe to the Guardian on Saturdays, you’ll never miss an issue and can even have the paper delivered to your doorstep. Click here to know more.

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