First Photographs of Simon and Yasmin Le Bon With Their Newborn Baby
interview: Maggie Koumi
Just three days after the birth of Amber Rose, we arrived at the hospital in St. John's Wood to find a crowd of photographers and fans already gathered outside hoping to catch a glimpse of Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon and his model wife Yasmin with their baby.
Amber Rose was born at 10:39 in the morning on Friday, August 25, and Simon and Yasmin invited Hello! to be the first to take photos of them with her.
When we entered, Yasmin was busy feeding the baby who, with her full head of hair obviously takes after Yasmin's side of the family - she has an English mother and an Iranian father. And as Simon looked on, it was obvious that he's besotted by his beautiful little daughter and by the woman who produced her.
This child is a special joy to them as Yasmin has already suffered two miscarriages during their four-year marriage, and their desire for children is mutual.
We talked to them both - about the actual birth, their hopes and plans for their daughter and how they intend to bring her up.
Did you know whether it was going to be a boy or a girl?
Yasmin: After all, there are very few surprises in life, aren't there!
What were your feelings when you first saw her and held her?
Y: I was just so shocked - I could not believe I was having a baby. Simon told me to look down and see her head! I still look at her and think it's not my baby!
S: I felt fear, because at first she wasn't breathing, and she came out blue. I didn't realise that's quite common, actually - and they require oxygen or some other kind of stimulation.
Y: I read one very simple book. But I thought: I'm coming to a good hospital and they're going to teach me everything I need to know. I realised I was bound to panic at some point, but I knew I'd always have help - and Simon will help, because we share everything.
Your bond with the baby is apparent, Simon. Most fathers won't actually chance a baby's nappy as I've just seen you do!
S: Well, I made a point of learning how to do it as quickly as I could. Short of being able to feed Amber Rose. I can do everything as well as Yasmin. Although, obviously, the bond between the child and her mother is incredible. Right now, when she holds her close, Yasmin's smell is enough for the child to stop crying. I wanted to be able to do everything so that I can cope when Yasmin leaves her with me.
How was it all at the last minute? Was there a panic and a rush to the hospital?
S: No. She started having contractions about eight o'clock on Thursday evening. I asked her how bad it was, and she said not that bad. I said: 'Do you feel hungry?' And she said: 'Yes, how about if we both go out and get something to eat first.' So we went to a Chinese restaurant. When we came back, she told me the contractions were really strong and she'd been having them all the way through dinner... She said: 'Go upstairs and make that cot, quick, while I have a bath!' Then we went to the hospital.
Y: Funnily, on Friday, the day she was born, I'd planned to go to a studio to have a photograph of me taken - nine months pregnant - to put on my wall alongside a photograph of the baby once she was born. Typical - that out of nine months, that should have been the one day I chose to have the picture taken.
Simon, it's been reported that you said you would rather have a girl.
S: What I said was that, personally, it didn't make any difference because I love both boys and girls. But I can think of no nobler cause than to fill the world with pretty girls.
S: With very few limitations, actually. We wouldn't surround a girl with a lot of dolls, and we wouldn't surround a boy with lots of guns. Because both would lead to a certain kind of development.
Y: I think, anyway, that you tend to encourage children to do things that you like, that you're interested in and admire. Amber Rose is going to be brought up around music... Her toys will be creative toys.
Which one of you will be the disciplinarian in the family?
S: I think, deep down, both of us will. We've discussed this - it's very easy for kids to manipulate their parents to the degree where they can get their parents arguing about how they should treat the children. I did it with my parents, and I don't want it to happen to us. We're not going to be the kind of parents who will smack the child for crying to loud, or for doing irritating things that are normal for a kid to do. But, on the other hand, we wouldn't let them get away with murder.
Y: I think you've got to give guidelines so they learn how far they can go - especially when they're young, and particularly with the kind of life style we lead.
Will you be over-protective or are you going to let her learn from her own mistakes?
S: Well, I'll let her make mistakes, but there are obvious things that you can teach children. Although, of course, it depends on how the kid turns out. I mean, she might grow up and not want to hear anything I may have to say. I went through that stage with my own parents - and there's nothing you can do except let them go off and do things, and if they make mistakes, they make mistakes.
Y: I would protect her from any kind of false spirit or false emotion. It's quite hard for a child to grow up surrounded by people who are star-struck sycophants. I want my daughter to be resilient, to be able to bounce back, be strong and overcome things.
After two miscarriages, this must have been a great relief. When did you feel safe this pregnancy?
S: After the time when she miscarried the last time, which was at 20 weeks. But Yasmin's not the kind of person who'd sit there worrying. She went back to work straight after the last one because she knew the best way to get out of a potentially depressing situation was to do something. It was a great act of common sense.
Y: I didn't really worry. I knew this one would work out.
S: I think it jogs your memory, when you see the way children react to things. Amber Rose, for instance, takes me back to smells, and how I felt about my mother... You just become sensitive to many more things because you start experiencing them through the child.
Are you already getting images of what she will be like in three or five years' time?
S: No, I'm so knocked out about the way she is at the moment that I don't want to spoil any of the fun now by thinking about the future.
Yasmin, how many children do you want to have?
Do you plan to have the next one soon?
S: Pretty quickly. Within three or four years.
Y: I'd like to while I'm young and strong and have the patience.
Y: I come from a very passionate background. There was love and hate - the whole spectrum of emotions. This was good in that it makes us a very close family, and responsible for one another.
S: To me, it was the freedom to experiment and grow up. I had a very happy childhood with my brothers.
Have you chosen a nanny yet, Yasmin?
Y: I've got a maternity nurse. In fact, she was Julie Anne Rhodes' maternity nurse. And she can stay about six months. But no one permanent yet.
S: I'll stay in England for the rest of the year as we're working on a new album.
And you, Yasmin?
Would you take Amber Rose with you?
Y: If it's more than a couple of days I would, and obviously if I were earning enough money to cover the costs of the nanny and baby coming with me. But if Simon was going to be at home, I think I'd leave her with Simon.
Would you feel totally safe leaving her in Simon's hands?
Y: Oh, yes. He's very gentle. He drops a few things, but... he's usually very capable.
How do you feel about this, Simon?
S: I don't really think there will be a time when both of us are simultaneously travelling abroad. But if it happens, I'm sure she will come with us - probably with Yasmin. And I'm not frightened of taking the child with me either, although I wouldn't take her on tour, because that's hard enough even for a grown-up.
Are you always going to make your home in England?
S: Yes, I think so. In any case, you have to settle for a while when you have children, because they have to go to school. I think the period we are coming up to will be the most settled one in our lives. In ten or 15 years' time we will probably be a little less settled and start moving around again. I've always felt like a nomad - I like that kind of life. And we will try to move around with the children.
Simon, about three years ago, you said it wasn't the right time to have a baby. Now, your instinct for parenthood seems very developed.
S: At that time, three years ago, it never would have been the right time for me to have a baby. I could have gone on like that forever. But Yasmin came back one day and said: 'We're going to have a baby.' And that was that. Then, when you have one, suddenly there's a click. You realise you're a parent with responsibilities and that you've got somebody depending on you for their life. It makes you look at everything in a different light.
Y: That happened to me quite a while ago. You suddenly also become aware of the world around you - how much you want to keep it together for your children.
S: Wonderful. She'll be very fair, and very quick to discipline. She already reacts very quickly to the child, instinctively.
And what sort of father do you think Simon will be?
Y: I would never have married Simon if I'd thought he'd be a useless husband and a useless father. I think he will be a very youthful father - he has a very youthful spirit. And I hope he will instill in his children the sense of fearlessness he has himself. If they grow up with that quality, then I'll be very happy.