Update: 2014 Please note – this blog was originally published in 2008. Tania has since got divorced from her husband.
George Michael’s forthcoming autobiography is set to be explosive. So explosive, in fact, that George may decide that the time isn’t quite right for him to lift the lid on his life, and the lives of people that have crossed his path during his career. While we’re waiting, I thought the time is perfect to take look at the stories of some of those that, for however short a time, were an important part of George’s life and career. Welcome to, “Different Stories”. In Part 1, we take a look at “the girl from the Father Figure video”.
Can you believe it’s more than twenty years since George Michael released his song Father Figure as a single? Two decades! Bloody hell! Some images take longer than that to fade, though. Who of us could ever forget the girl that George was stalking in the video for that song – a young model named Tania Coleridge. It was the height of the hysteria surrounding the Faith album. Save for the Pope, and a few sportsmen, George Michael had possibly the most famous face on the planet. The videos for his songs were glamourous and sexy, with George center stage. The Father Figure video was one of the best and it turns out that the shoot was as eventful as the video is memorable. MId-way through filming, the director ordered Tania to slap George in the face, “with feeling”. She obliged, hitting George so hard she almost broke his jaw. This slap had a profound effect on George. How could a girl be so strong to hurt him so much? Did that make George a girl? Not being able withstand the force of a young girl slapping him in the face caused George to question his sexuality. He became scared of girls, in case they hit him, and… well… the rest, as they say, is history. Of course, we all know George’s story from there on in – it’s well-documented; but whatever happened to“The Father Figure Girl”? It’s time to catch up with her…
First, though, a little history. Tania was born into the English aristocracy, the daughter of the fifth Baron of Ottery St Mary. As she emerged from adolescence, the young Tania knew she wanted to be a model and actress, so she headed over the water, to make a life in Los Angeles, California. So it was that Tania had turned into a 21-year old aspiring model and actress when she met George Michael and was cast in his video. She loved George’s nickname, “Nobby” and often told friends that she would marry a man called “Nobby” one day. She stayed in the US for a while after slapping George, but returned to her home country of England several years later. By the time she hit (slapped?) 30, friends were telling Tania that she had to begin to accept that she might never meet her “Nobby”, but, just as she was about to give up, fate, as it is want to do, took a hand. She met a man named “Willie”, and Tania cried out, “That’s close enough!”. So, Tania married her Willie, and embarked on a new adventure that would take her across the world to Venezuela. Tania and Willie fell in love with a beautiful village on the Venezuelan coast, and they settled there, planting tens of thousands of cacao trees.
In 2002, though, England called. So Tania grabbed her Willie, and returned to Blighty to look after her family’s ancestral home. However, a few short years later, the costs of upkeep on the home became too much, and Tania had to put the house up for sale.
How is Tania doing today? Well, as you can see from the photo below she’s doing just fine. Here she is in her kitchen, in front of her aga…
Tania is still happily married, and along with her husband and three young children, lives just an hour’s drive from George’s former Wham! partner, Andrew Ridgeley. Tania still does a bit of modelling.
Tania’s and Willie’s biggest passion in life is chocolate. Willie eats more of it than Tania does.
So there you have it. Now you’re up to date with the Father Figure girl. Hope you enjoyed catching up with her, after twenty years. In 2008, Tania sprung to fame once again, in the acclaimed Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall documentary series, Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory.
In March 2008, when the show aired, George Michael, David Austin and Kenny Goss were sitting on a couch, watching TV, and couldn’t believe what their eyes were about to see…
David: “Oh. My. God. It can’t be!!!”
George: “Fuck! It bloody is!!!!!”
Kenny: “Who is it? Who are we talking about?”
George: “Sshhhhhhh Kenny, we’re trying to watch a programme.”
David: “I can’t believe it’s her!”
George: “Wow! Me neither! This is wicked!”
Kenny: “George, I thought you didn’t like girls!”
George: “Kenny, you’re not in this. You weren’t there. If you were there, you’d know.”
David: “Good one, George!”
George: “I know!”
Kenny: “But… but…”
David: “For fuck’s sake…”
George: “I wonder if she’s slapped her husband?”
David: “You’re still bitter about that, aren’t you?”
George: “Well, it bloody hurt! And she pulled my pants down, didn’t she, Dave?”
David: “Errrrrrrrrr… No.”
George: “Yeah. You remember. Like that teacher at our primary school. The old perv used to pull our pants down while we were waiting to go to the toilet.”
David: “Errrrrrrrrr… No. You know, I really wish you wouldn’t keep saying things like that.”
Kenny: “Who pulled George’s pants down?”
George: “OK Fine. But she did slap me. You have to admit that.”
David: “Yes, she did slap you.”
Kenny: “That woman hit you, George?”
George: “Yeah. It really hurt.”
Kenny: “Is that why you hit me, George? And why you pull my pants down?”
David: “I thought it was Kevin Spacey that did that. Errrr… Look, I think I need to get some air – I’m going for a walk.”
George: “Cool. Can you bring a couple of pizzas with you when you come back? Cheers, matey!”
And there we must leave George, Kenny and David. To see how the story ends, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait for George’s autobiography to hit (slap) the stores…