Heartbroken rocker SIR Bob Geldof believes his ex-wife Paula Yates leaving him was worse than her 2000 shock death from an overdose.

The former Boomtown Rats frontman and the quirky TV presenter were together for 20 years and married for ten years before she left him for Inxs singer Michael Hutchence.

Geldof, 52, recalls, "Things were spiraling down so much that while her death wasn't the inevitable conclusion, it was certainly a possibility.

"So it wasn't as out of the blue as the leaving for me. Her leaving was worse than her dying."

The I DON'T LIKE MONDAYS singer claims Yates stopped behaving normally when she got together with Hutchence, who later killed himself in a Sydney hotel room in November 1997.

Geldof explains, "When she was with me, that was the real Paula. She was great, very funny, beautiful and a very good mum. Then something happened and I really wasn't party to that part of his life."

The anti-poverty campaigner, who organised the Live Aid concert in 1985, found it difficult to watch Yates descend in drug addiction, but felt powerless to stop her.

He continues, "I couldn't intervene. I wasn't part of her life.

"I tried to shield the children from the affect of it. She wouldn't have been prepared to listen to me at the point anyway."

Since Yates' death of a drugs overdose in September 2000, Geldof has been bringing up their three children FIFI, 20, Peaches, 15 and PIXIE, 13, and has legal guardianship of Yates and Hutchence's daughter HEAVENLY HIRANI TIGER LILY, 7.

05/05/2004 13:43