Liza Minnelli's friends have applauded the singer's split from husband David Gest, insisting she's better off without him.

The pair shocked the showbiz world when they announced their separation in July (03), just 16 months after they exchanged marriage vows in a star studded New York ceremony.

But Minnelli's pal, cabaret pianist Michael Feinstein, is adamant the superstar made the right move - because concert promoter Gest was affecting her work.

He says, "I think she'll be better without him, because he was hurting her career.

"One thing that Liza always did was, she knew how to interact with the press, she never lied to the press. David would - he told everyone her BEACON THEATRE (New York) show was sold out but it wasn't.

"If he'd buy her a diamond he would say he spent $200,000 (GBP125,000) when he only spent $20,000 (GBP12,500), or that she lost 130 pounds (58 kilograms). You just want to say - stop it! After a while he antagonised the press because everything that came out of his mouth was like, where is this coming from?"

And he claims since the split, Liza is a happier and more content person, adding, "It's like she's been let out of prison."

13/08/2003 17:20