The singer-songwriter talks candidly about her friendship through Jackie Onassis, gift humiliated through Harvey Weinstein and also why she has no time for the us president



Carly Simon somehow shows up both brittle and unbreakable as she opens the door to she hotel room in Boston, Massachusetts, whereby a publicist hovers discreetly. She is put on a blue sweater, blue jeans and a blue scarf and also is laugh broadly. She hair is shoulder size with the acquainted low fringe. She put on a pair of glasses; lukewarm hotel tea is ordered and also poured.

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The singer-songwriter is chatty and also charming. She claims she has just been listening come the audio variation of her latest memoir, touched by the Sun, about her friendship v Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the widow of former president man F Kennedy and also the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. The is review by Elizabeth McGovern, who plays the Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey. The is fine with Simon, a fan of brother TV, including Downton and also Last Tango in Halifax.

Simon was explained as a “feminist icon” top top the book jacket of she 2015 memoir boys in the Trees, a bible of A-list gossip. The daughter the Andrea Heinemann Simon, a civil legal rights activist, and Richard Simon, co-founder the the publication publisher Simon & Schuster, she uncovered singing one effective way to conquer a childhood stutter, recorded an ext than a dozen height 40 hits and offered lyrics the stuck in the cultural consciousness.

She had romantic liaisons v Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, Jack Nicholson and also Cat Stevens, and also an ill-fated marriage to James Taylor. Now, in ~ 74, if anyone has earned the appropriate to casually autumn names and also use terms such together “lover” there is no affectation, the is her.


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Carly Simon with Warren Beatty in 1984. Photograph: Paul R Benoit/APBoth her memoirs are searingly frank. Once she to be seven, Simon to be sexually exploited by a 16-year-old boy. One abusive relationship ongoing until she was around 14. “I think it’s readjusted me because that ever and there to be nobody around who can possibly have believed the story I would have told,” she says.

“It was simply an horrible thing to have actually happened. Do I think it would have actually happened now? The awareness the it might have impede it. Ns don’t understand that for sure, but likewise I’ve been abused in various other ways and also by few of the same people that Ronan Farrow talks around in his book.”

Farrow, one investigative journalist and also friend that Simon, has actually just published Catch and also Kill, about his pursuit to uncover numerous sexual attack allegations versus Harvey Weinstein. Simon alleges the she, too, was abused through the disgraced Hollywood producer – not sexually, but in other humiliating ways.

“He inquiry me to score a movie that his wife at the time had actually made, a tiny Japanese cartoon, and also so ns did that in an excellent faith,” she recalls. “I rental musicians and also scored the movie and, in ~ the recording session, ns said: ‘Well, how shall I acquire paid?’ he said: ‘Well, we’ll number it the end later,’ and also he never complied with up.”

There was another incident in ~ Camp David, the united state presidential nation retreat, the weekend before Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings. Weinstein lugged his film Paris, Texas for a screening attend by the president, first lady Hillary Clinton and guests consisting of Simon.

“At the finish of it, Harvey had the nerve to obtain this cheap etc from somewhere and bring it come me in the theatre seat and say: ‘Sing now. Song Anticipation.’ The guitar was the end of tune and also one of the strings to be off it. So he unpleasant me greatly. I couldn’t not do it due to the fact that everybody turned about to look at me in the theatre and there i was.”

How go Weinstein acquire away v so lot for so long? “Well, world obviously to be so intimidated through his power and also wanted to it is in on the receiving finish of what one perhaps thought of as largesse, that probably there was goodwill behind every one of his seduction. I have the right to just see him in every the scenes that room painted of him with the women. I was lucky not to be one of them.”


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Simon and James Taylor, to whom she to be married for 10 years. Photograph: Richard E Aaron/RedfernsBut the means in i beg your pardon Weinstein, and also others, took advantage of her still rankles: “I think that stealing from one financially may be one step below sexually. I wrote around it because that this book: i wrote around the various experiences that I’ve just talked to you about, and also my editors, all of whom space men, said: ‘No, don’t write about that.’ i don’t blame them for that. It was just that she not an alleged to talk around it.

“Maybe the time will come when we women who have actually been raped financially will be top top the record to talk around that since I know a most other ladies who have been screwed. A many men have been screwed, too. Over there aren’t as numerous of them as guys who room in powerful positions to execute it, however I’m certain that it’s most likely being excellent by females as we speak.” She to add mischievously: “I can see 10 of castle right currently seducing young boys, saying the they’ll salary them.”

And yet she has gnawing doubts around the #MeToo movement. “I welcome it and also now ns hope the it will go ago to a position where things will it is in normalised,” she says. “Not that I desire anybody to shut up or to no tell it prefer it is, yet it additionally feels a small bit unnatural because that me that guys can’t speak a flattering thing to a woman without there being a possible reckoning.

“I’m a woman and I’ve been topic to that and also there was the spreading couch in a number of cases in mine life that i was harmed by. However I think in ~ this allude it’s simply dangerous for guys to act choose men. Not that the men who walk overboard and also disrespect a woman space acting like men. You recognize what ns mean.”

As has become clear by now, a conversation with Simon is an practice in six degrees of separation. On invoice Clinton, she says: “When he’s interested in a subject and also he’s talking about it come a woman, there’s a various energy the comes across. He has actually ‘the glint’ and also he can’t aid himself. It’s charisma. His challenge changes. He no look the same. His energy comes with the expressions of his mouth and also his eyes. He lamp up a room through his energy.”

Yet also as Hillary Clinton continues to speak out, invoice is conspicuously absent from the 2020 autonomous primary campaign, efficiently banished come exile in the #MeToo era. Simon is dismayed in ~ the thought. “That’s therefore sad because, to me, he is a incredible asset and also he’s such a charismatic and also brilliant, brilliant man, and whatever great he had to learn, the learned it.

“It was of a particular time wherein there was a hairline the a difference in between then and also now. That didn’t perform himself proud, yet that’s passed, that’s end with, and now permit his brilliance bright through.”

Her check out of trump card is fairly different. She met him once in brand-new York in ~ a luncheon for Benazir Bhutto, the so late prime minister of Pakistan, and also was left cold through his overtures. “When ns came into the room, there to be Trump and a whole bunch of new York dignitaries. Trump no paying any type of attention to me at all. Why would he?

“Benazir Bhutto summoned me and also asked me to get in the bedroom with her and so ns went and also we sat on the bed and she held my hands and said: ‘I just love her music.’ we talked around different songs the were her favourites and also it maybe lasted 3 minutes.

“When ns went out of the bedroom, obviously i had every one of a sudden become important through the eyes of Donald Trump. For this reason he was really anxious to accomplish me and invited me to Mar-a-Lago and also was almost everywhere me prefer ugly on an ape.”

She turned down the offer, she says, “because I believed he was type of repulsive”.


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Simon with Bill Clinton in 2003: “He has ‘the glint’ and also he can’t help himself.” Photograph: Steve Granitz/WireImageSimon’s biggest hit, You’re for this reason Vain, appears spookily apt for Trump. Simon agrees. “He is therefore vain, that’s for sure, and not in the best possible way. He doesn’t bring humour to the word. In the song, hopefully, the person can wink at himself in the mirror since he got the joke.

“I nothing think there’s lot interest outside himself. What will occur with a narcissist is the they’re interested in themselves and also anything it is an extension of themselves, maybe their children, but he’s not interested in the approach of great thinkers. Ns suspect.”

Thrice-married Trump has boasted around groping women, and been accused of sex-related harassment, and also of make a hush-money payment to the adult movie star Stormy Daniels. What would Kennedy Onassis, whom Simon befriended in 1983 and also whose own an initial husband to be a notorious philanderer, have actually made that him?

“I think she would have actually been astounded the he could have risen to the place that he rose to. And also some of the points he did and also said would have been fodder for her amusement and also probably disdain.”

Simon would contact Kennedy regularly from rehab while dealing with anxiety and depression, which have actually haunted her as long as she deserve to remember. She starting taking Prozac in 1989 to assist her resolve a fear of flying and also nerves as soon as she to be up because that an award at the Oscars; fortunately, her classification was up first, and also she won, because that the working Girl theme track Let the River run (she likewise sang Nobody does It far better for the 1977 James Bond movie The Spy who Loved Me).

But Simon ongoing taking medication, including those not necessarily prescribed because that depression, yet which “changed my consciousness”. She admits now: “I have a one-of-a-kind interest in pills. They have actually a details effect ~ above me in the same method that little candies would. If I desire to readjust my consciousness, particularly if I have a disastrous headache, there’s something an extremely promising about taking a pill. I arisen a connection with them together if there was something much more secretive around it 보다 there yes, really is. Currently I take pills in former of people or not in front of people.”

When recovering from breast cancer, she took the opioid OxyContin for around two year but, unlike countless Americans, did not end up being addicted. There have actually been other drugs. “Is cocaine readily being excellent still, ns wonder? I’ve done it four times, on mine gums, and also I loved it. I believed I to be so wonderful. The made me feeling confident. The made me lose every one of my self-consciousness. I just thought: ‘My God, I’m no worried around how i’m coming across.’ ns was actually recording, but it no on stage.”

Simon has actually seen a radical shift in perspectives towards drugs during her lifetime. She is adamant: “They have to all it is in legalised. It renders it much an ext attractive to the wrong human being if it’s not legal. It renders the price soar. If ban hadn’t happened, it wouldn’t have created some that the alcoholics.”

Alcoholism play a part in the failure in 1983 of her decade-long marital relationship to Taylor, she says. “I was as well young. Ns think us were both also young to understand what the condition of alcoholism was like. He was blinded by the pressure of the alcohol and also the other drugs he was high on.

“I no know exactly how to deal with it. If I had been stronger, ns would have done. Ns tried so countless different things and also I to be wrong about at least fifty percent of them. Ns was wrong about saying you have the right to never perform that again or it doesn’t matter, I’ll do it v you. Every rotate I took appeared to it is in the dorn turn, yet I tried yes, really hard and so walk he. He really tried hard.”

The pair had two children, Sally and Ben (“John Lennon to be our nextdoor neighbour and the an initial person that gave us a gift after ~ Ben to be born”) and also “inspired each various other artistically”, she recalls. However she and Taylor have not talked for years. “That’s one of the sad things in mine life. He just doesn’t desire to have any kind of contact v me at all. I don’t understand what the says around it in interviews. Ns think the just avoids the question.


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Simon through her friend Jackie Onassis in 1989. Photograph: Stephen Rose/Getty Images“I listen to several of my songs currently as if v James’s ears and I don’t like them due to the fact that I think: ‘Oh mine God, what was ns thinking? What would James have thought?’ i listen come his music, especially the larger music of his. I simply hear the on the radio all the time and also it constantly makes me happy. It’s wistful, however happy due to the fact that I love his music therefore much. I love him.”

After Taylor, Simon to be married come the writer James Hart because that 19 years – they divorced in 2007 and also he came out together gay. She has remained in a connection with Richard Koehler, a surgeon, for almost 14 years.

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“Monogamy is a very hard thing,” she says. “Very hard. Ns think there’s constantly an attraction to novelty … It’s more of a male problem. I’ve never known a man who no attracted to the adventure of see whether he could get a mrs to be interested in him.”

It is a emotion that evokes Simon’s most renowned lyric, “You’re for this reason vain/You more than likely think this song is about you.” exactly how did she pertained to write it? “It to be at a party that my sister and I to be giving since I was living through my larger sister at the time and also somebody walked into the party. And also I thought: ‘Wow, he’s so vain.’”

Since the song’s release in 1972, the identification of the vain man has been the subject of intense speculation. “I have told a number of people,” she states cryptically. Simon has previously declared that the 2nd verse was around Beatty. Yet now she qualifies: “Maybe. Ns was required to to speak something.”

Before she travels back home to Martha’s Vineyard, an wealthy island turn off Cape Cod, she wonders whether the same lyric would have produced such intrigue if written by someone else. “I don’t know whether it was me at the time in the universe with the males that ns was with. It certainly is fascinating the it would be therefore interesting. God, I have to think of some much more provocative titles!”

Simon’s memoir, touch by the Sun, published by Little, Brown, is the end now, price £20. To order a copy because that £17.60, walk to guardianbookshop.com. Complimentary UK p&p on orders of an ext than £15, virtual only.