The whole world it seems loves Kylie Minogue. She is the sister everyone would love to have. She is also the most glamorous of stars, voted Woman of the Year and Sexiest Body and able to squeeze her perfect physique into the tiniest of costumes. And, yet, her story is a complex one of failure, heartache and triumph.

Sean Smith looks behind the public image to reveal the true story of Kylie, a woman who was never ‘the girl next door’. He describes her rise to the top from a suburban upbringing in Melbourne, her breakthrough in Neighbours, the Stock, Aitken and Waterman years in the UK and how she survived the minefield of the music business when her popularity waned in the mid nineties. He reveals the heartbreak of many failed relationships including with the late Michael Hutchence and the French actor Olivier Martinez. And, how she fought her greatest battle of all – against breast cancer.

Her comeback is one of the most inspirational stories in the history of popular music. Kylie is a modern icon described simply by heat magazine as ‘our favourite pop star.’


“It was after they had got off the tram and were walking to the cinema that Paolo had his first misgivings. ‘I suddenly noticed how tiny she was. I am close to six foot and she was literally a foot shorter than me. I felt very awkward and self-conscious. People have asked me what it was like and the only way I have been able to put it is that it was like taking out my little sister. She was sixteen, but I realized she looked much younger than that because of her size – even though she was so mature for her age in other ways.’ Kylie, meanwhile, was happily unaware of her date’s growing unease: ‘She was saying things like, “I can’t wait to introduce you to all my friends.” She was being very chatty and I was listening, but at the same time I was thinking, “I’m not sure about this. Do I really want to be with this girl?”’

Paolo has no idea if Kylie was beginning to pick up on his negative vibes at this point, but he was becoming quieter and quieter. They went in to watch the movie together and, just like every other young couple, bought popcorn and enjoyed a little kiss and a cuddle before the film started. There was no groping in the back row! After the movie, they caught the tram back to Camberwell. By this time, Paolo had decided that he did not want to take things any further with Kylie, and set about trying to let her down gently. He used the old excuse that he would have far too much work to do in the coming months, as he had been neglecting his studies to play football, and he had his Year Twelve exams (the Australian equivalent of A-levels in the UK). ‘I told her I would not have a great deal of time to socialize, which was actually true. I genuinely didn’t have time for a girlfriend, even one as brilliant sexually as Kylie.’

Eventually, poor Kylie got the heavy hint and agreed that this would be their first and last serious date together. ‘She had gone from a long-term relationship to a casual fling in half an hour.’ Paolo will never know if Kylie was crestfallen or not, as she made the last leg of her journey home by herself.”

what sean says

In recent years I have probably been asked more about Kylie Minogue than any other celebrity. During her cancer ordeal I was often phoned up by media wanting a quote or an observation – as if I could have anything useful to say about that. The worst one was when a magazine asked me if I wanted to send a message to her. What could I say that wasn’t trivial, unhelpful and pointless?

I was happier answering questions about her boyfriend at the time, the handsome French actor Olivier Martinez. In 2003 I said, ‘Kylie falls in love quite easily. She is in the first flush of romance, enjoying something new. She is smitten by Olivier.’ Three years later I said, ‘For the first time in twenty years, she has had a chance to simply hang out with a boyfriend – and has found true love. I’m sure that if Kylie were to marry Olivier, everyone around her would be thrilled.’

Clearly I don’t always get it right and should know when to shut up. Olivier Martinez …..Whatever happened to him?