Paul McCartney, Heather Mills Divorce Gets Nasty

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," October 19, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: The high-profile divorce between Heather Mills and Paul McCartney, it's getting brutal, and playing out in all of the British tabloids from abuse accusations to public scrutiny. But wait, when the two first announced their split they issued this statement together saying, "Our parting is amicable and both of us still care very much about each other." That tune certainly has changed.

With me now is Jill Dobson, Star magazine editor-at-large, and Neil Sean, entertainment correspondent at our sister network, Sky News, live from London.

So, Neil, how is the British public taking this? Who are they siding up with?

NEIL SEAN, ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT, SKY NEWS: Good evening, John. Well, right now Heather Mills McCartney is possibly the most hated woman here in the U.K. Let me tell you why.

You know, Paul McCartney has been a Beatle for over 40 years. We love him. He's a musical genius. And consequently everybody said to him, don't do this, don't marry her. And consequently he went ahead with it, you know, it could be the old saying, "There's no fool like an old fool." He went ahead with it and guess what? A few years down the line, miraculously, it's all coming back to haunt him. And she doesn't want just a slice of the cake, she wants the whole cake.

GIBSON: How much does she want, Neil?

SEAN: Well, it's debatable, you see, because he's worth so much money. And this is where it gets rather interesting because originally we had reports stating that she actually just wanted money for the period that they were married. Now we're getting reports that she's looking for a bigger slice of the action and that could mean half, of course, of the Beatles' billionaire fortune. And it's hard to put an estimate on how much he's worth because the records keep making so much, so much money in royalties.

And what is interesting now, actually, is that only yesterday here on British TV she appeared on a sort of hospital-type program talking about her charity work, etc. So she's really pushing hard with this PR. But let me tell you, one of the hardest faces you'll ever met in show business...

GIBSON: All right, Neil, we have some of the tabloid headlines, and you can kind of get a picture of what the Brits are thinking. And as we take a look, it's a little different on this side.

Jill, you know, does the American public know who Heather Mills is?

JILL DOBSON, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, STAR MAGAZINE: No, they certainly don't. If you go to any American, they'd say: Who is Heather Mills? Unless you're an entertainment reporter and you've been following this case. And so, here, I think that these allegations — she's made allegations that are in all the headlines that he poured a glass of red wine over her head and then stabbed her with the broken wineglass and all sorts of abuses, domestic violence, drinking, drugs. And she's alleged all of this in the papers that's come out. And over in London she's got this negative image, people think, oh, there's Heather Mills again. Here, in the U.S., people don't know who she is, so she actually has more credibility. So this can hurt his image even more over here. And my advice to him is, give her as much money as she wants and get a gag order and make this end.

GIBSON: Neil, if he did shove money down her throat, would she quiet down?

SEAN: Well, let me tell you, it's obviously understandable that you guys don't know just how bad she is because over here in the U.K. she had her autobiography that was actually openly trashed by her ex-husband and, indeed, all members of her family. So, it seems odd because today on TV we've had so-called friends coming forward and saying that Heather is not like this, etc., etc. It's bad for his image, certainly bad for his image, because we know that, of course, Paul McCartney is a loved person. But it doesn't really matter how much money you give, this woman is a bit of a loose cannon. Maybe you're right, she needs a gag order.

GIBSON: Jill, how can it really hurt Paul? He doesn't really have much of a career left in America. He's not touring. I mean, if Americans say, oh, Beatle gone bad, what difference does it make?

DOBSON: The Beatles are always selling records. He just recently put out a new album. And not only that, but his daughter is a fashion designer, and it can hurt his whole family if his image goes down the tubes.

GIBSON: And it's going down the tubes here?

DOBSON: Well, it's certainly been bashed with this. And if these reports keep coming out, it's going to hurt him a lot.

GIBSON: All right, Neil Sean, over in London, Jill Dobson, here with me.

SEAN: OK, John, thank you.

GIBSON: Thanks to both of you. We appreciate it.

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