As a parent, Mick can be either negligent or protective

July 15, 1993|By Christopher Andersen | Christopher Andersen,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

On the home front, Mick Jagger reveled in his role as paterfamilias. He was photographed sitting in an armchair holding Elizabeth Scarlet, flanked by the baby's half sisters, Karis and Jade. Although Jade lived with Bianca and Karis with her mother (Marsha Hunt) in London, whenever the girls visited their father in New York he insisted on personally screening their boyfriends. He admitted that for a teen-age boy, the experience of meeting Mick Jagger before taking out his daughter must have been "horrific." But Mick, once every parent's nightmare, was now very picky about the kinds of boys his own daughters dated. "I think it's important to try and encourage the ones who are interesting and discourage the ones who are jerks," he explained with a perfectly straight face. "That doesn't mean that the girls don't go off with the ones who are jerks. But you've just got to check them out."

Jade was mortified by her father's comments about her in the press. She was already plotting her revenge, telling friends that she "couldn't wait" to have a baby to call Mick and Bianca Grandpa and Grandma.

Rock's original renegade was now easily worth $100 million. Yet no amount of money could keep Jagger from suffering the frustrations that vex all parents of teen-agers. While Karis was a model student at the same London school attended by Princess Margaret's children, 16-year-old Jade was proving herself to be a handful.

"Jade was a very sweet girl and fairly well grounded," said Bianca's personal secretary at the time, Barbara Levine. "But she was not a shy child and she seemed kind of worldly. Very hip."

Three years earlier, when she was 13, Mick had yanked Jade out of New York's exclusive Spence School because he feared Manhattan offered too many "distractions" for his daughter. After a thorough search Jagger enrolled Jade at St. Mary's School in the hamlet of Calne, some 90 miles west of London.

Regarded as one of the best girls' schools in England, St. Mary's was both academically demanding and far removed from the temptations of the big city.

In the spring of 1988 Jade informed her parents she was leaving school to accept a $1 million modeling contract. Dad and Mom refused. "Bianca and Mick were both concerned parents," said Levine, "but he was more indulgent, less focused, than she was. There were great battles between Bianca and Jade over the phone -- screaming matches. Then Mick and Bianca would confer about what to do with her. In the end Mick offered to buy Jade anything just to stay in school."

Anything apparently wasn't enough.

By way of divine retribution the man who had once been every parent's nightmare watched helplessly as his daughter was expelled from school for climbing out her bedroom window at 2 a.m. to meet her 21-year-old boyfriend, Josh Astor.

The son of raincoat manufacturer Lord Kagan, Astor had been kicked out of Eton at 15 and now lived on his sizable inheritance. Apparently he had a fondness for Stones offspring. During a drug bust six weeks earlier Astor had been rousted out of bed nude. His companion at the time was reportedly Charlie Watts' ** daughter, Serafina.

Astor was out partying at a London nightclub with Jade's best friend, 16-year-old Emma Ridley, when Jade called and pleaded with him to rescue her. Astor and Ridley, dubbed "Wild Child" by the British press for running off to marry a man twice her age, headed straight for the school.

Caught in the act of escaping, both girls were thrown out of school. "My dad will kill me!" cried Jade. "What shall I do? I can't stand school -- I love Josh and I want to live with him. Why can't Dad see I have my own life to lead?"

Fuming, Jagger dragged Jade to his chateau in the Loire for a stern lecture.

Wild Child Emma Ridley was as defiant as ever. "What a hypocrite!" she said of her friend's famous father. "Here is the big Sixties rebel acting just like any other overprotective parent."

Jagger hadn't always been a conscientious parent. Infatuated with Bianca he had abandoned his first child, Karis, and her mother, Marsha Hunt -- the woman for whom the hit "Brown Sugar" was written -- shortly after the child's birth on Nov. 3, 1970. Three years later, tired of having to pursue Mick for the occasional meager handout, Hunt arranged a bizarre cloak-and-dagger meeting with him on the steps of the Albert Memorial in London's Hyde Park. Together they hammered out the details of a 20,000 pound (about $50,000) trust fund to be put in Karis' name. By the end of the day Jagger had knocked the figure down to 17,000 pounds ($42,000).

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