When I first met Nick Rhodes in 1982 I mentioned the one thing I would love to do, but couldn’t, was sing. Intent on impressing me, he said “oh, I can get anyone in a modern day studio, and make them sound great.” That line (along with his unyielding self-confidence and his refusal to go without me) obviously worked, because off I flew into the sunset with him on the red eye to Kansas City – in my swimsuit and cover-up!

Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes on the yacht

Promises promises! Photo by Mike Owens

A few months later we were all singing happy birthday to Simon LeBon when I looked up to find Nick staring at me as though he’d just seen an axe nurderer. “You’re right, you can’t sing!” There were a couple more stabs at sampling my voice into his Fairlight, so he could play me in tune, but those failed miserably too. I couldn’t hit a single note on key. I was forevermore banned from singing Happy Birthday in our home.

Jewels in the studio in 1983

Jewels in the studio in 1983 hitting quarter notes, but not the note

To this day I cringe when called upon to do so. In fact, I actually quit acting due to my phobia of singing! To coax me past my mental block, my coach kept insisting that I must sing Happy Birthday with the house lights up, looking directly into each persons’ eyes (a room full of extremely gifted actors – one of whom was nominated for an Oscar at the time) as I did so. The “fight or flight” instinct got the better of me. I ran straight into the kitchen and a career I knew I could master without singing, and never looked back. BOK, bok, bok!

Julie Anne singing Happy Birthday on Nick Rhodes 50th birthday

Julie Anne singing Happy Birthday on Nick Rhodes 50th birthday

Well in honor of your hitting the half century mark today, dear ex, I’m facing my terror head on, and singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you at the top of my lungs. I even found what would have been “a modern day studio” at the time to record it for you. Many happy, healthy returns of the day, Nick. Don’t worry the volume is off.


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  • June 8, 2012
    10:34 am

    The photo of you singing is definitely my favourite of you ever taken! I love it!

    BTW I still find it hard to believe you’re slightly older than your ex! 😉

    • June 8, 2012
      5:56 pm

      Thank you, but be glad there is no volume on that picture!

  • June 8, 2012
    8:00 am

    Nick is the hardest person to find a birthday gift for – he buys whatever he likes when he wants it, so you have to think outside the box. Only once did I manage to surprise him with a gold Cartier champagne swizzle stick (to remove some of the bubbles). He loved it, but I think I made him chuckle with this one today too – I sent him this post first thing this morning (before it was published), and it got a swift reply:

    Thank you Julie Anne! – Nick

  • June 8, 2012
    8:23 am

    That’s nice you are still on speaking terms, I’ve spent a good chunk of my life with my ex and though we separated because we kind of fell out of love he won ‘t speak to me, won’t even allow his friends or relatives to stay in touch…sad

    • June 8, 2012
      8:52 am

      It’s been 20 years for Nick and me, kinda hard to hang onto resentments that long – give it time, and just get on with your own life. It’s his loss if he wants to throw the baby (friendship) – out with the bathwater (marriage), you can still hang onto your fond memories of your time together with or without him.

  • June 8, 2012
    8:34 am

    Wow! LOL!!What a fab story Jewels! I can’t sing at all either(where of course all my daughters can). But when I put the 2 youngest to sleep for whatever reason they love me to softly “screech” to them. Curious minds want to know though: Can Nick carry a note? Or is he just keyboard magic? On another note, sadly my 17 yr old’s dad and I can’t not even hold a conversation without an argument ensuing. I wish him all the best but it’s been too hard of a road, as hard as we tried to get along….

    • June 8, 2012
      8:54 am

      Haha – aren’t daughters great? They love us even if we sing off key.

      • June 8, 2012
        12:40 pm

        This is fabulous…love it! I’m curious…can Nick carry a tune himself?

  • June 8, 2012
    8:50 am

    On a vacation with my parents when I was young,we went horseback riding. Every single time my mom would start to sing (home on the range, or something as horribly cliche) the horse would stop dead and refuse to move until she stopped!

    As for Nick Rhodes being 50, how did that happen? When I was a teenager [I was 13 in 1984. Being a Duranie was required!]
    the Durans seemed so much older and mature.
    It just dawned on my that actually, Nick is a year YOUNGER than my husband!

    Hope he has a Happy. And that you sing happy birthday as loud as you want!

    • June 8, 2012
      5:54 pm

      Oh, I’m sure he is. All our mutual friends in London are posting updates about how much fun they’re having on Facebook.

  • June 8, 2012
    8:57 am

    Wow, stopping a horse dead in it’s tracks with song is a whopper!

  • June 8, 2012
    11:13 am

    This whole post is sweet, I love it! I have a son who turns 11 today and he cannot sing a note, ‘tho he really tries his hardest. He just loves music, just like I do. I am currently going through a divorce and a move, which has been hard on my children and I, but this post gives me hope for an amicable future with my ex. You are a wonderful person Jewels *HUGS* Have a great day-Nikki

    • June 8, 2012
      6:03 pm

      There is no way a divorce is easy. Mine was one of the most detestable experiences ever (we both behaved badly), but time does heal. The best thing you can do for your children is to try and keep it as amicable as possible, and hopefully in time you find your way back to a different kind of friendship with your ex. if not, it won’t matter, because you’ll have a new life you enjoy even more.

      • June 9, 2012
        9:31 am

        Not only divorce but a bad break up after having a child together.

      • June 9, 2012
        9:39 am

        Break ups can be wicked, but nothing like the brutal degradation of a bitterly contested divorce in a courtroom, Carly. It definitely brings out the worst in everyone involved, and is beyond demoralizing. Trust me, to be avoided at all cost.

      • June 10, 2012
        1:30 pm

        Very true, never have been through a divorce and hope never to.

      • June 10, 2012
        6:19 pm

        Wouldn’t wish on anyone, least of all you Carly.

  • June 8, 2012
    11:15 am

    I am very shy about singing in front of others. I think it was because when I was in 1st grade my music teacher picked me to sing a song in front of the class alone. It really scared me and my voiced was quivering… Ever since then, I’ve dreaded singing in front of others, even the Happy Birthday song. A few years ago on my husband’s birthday we had cake for him and my Mom was sick so she stayed home. My Dad is also shy about singing so we were ready to cut the cake and I didn’t want to do it without the birthday song, so I called my Mom on the phone and put her on speaker so she could sing it for all of us! My Mom is the only one in our family that isn’t shy and loves to sing so I knew she wouldn’t mind. Although, she did laugh that we called her to sing the song! So glad Mom saved the day!

    What a nice gift you gave him today!

    • June 8, 2012
      6:05 pm

      50 is a MAJOR milestone, so it had to be done!

  • June 8, 2012
    1:17 pm

    Wonderful post, Julie Anne!

    My mom never liked to sing much and always said that she sang in the key of “J”! My son is 20 now and isn’t much of a singer, but when he was in high school, he was in the Concert Choir. It was his choice and it surprised me, but I never told him that his singing voice wasn’t the best and was just proud that he did it! That shows me that our high school (yes, I graduated from the same one 25 years exactly prior to him graduating there) will let anyone interested in singing participate. And I still think he joined because of a girl. lol I had the voice which I inherited from my dad. Concert Choir, school choir and activities, etc.

    My ex called me back in May and said, “You know. If we were still married, today would’ve been our 20th wedding anniversary.” I was surprised…time sure did fly! After a 13 year marriage, it ended in separation and eventual divorce. Today, we are better friends and talk all the time on the phone…and even get together sometimes to talk over coffee. It’s a better, more healthy relationship now. I never denied him seeing our son because he was always a wonderful dad and father and loved him very much. I guess I’m one of the lucky divorcees; I get along very well with my ex now.

    • June 8, 2012
      6:07 pm

      I love “she sang in the key of “J”! I think I must sing in the key of XYZ all at once.

  • June 8, 2012
    2:29 pm

    Just thought I would share this little funny moment: My mom called me today to tell me, that she heard on the radio, that it was my “musical superhero’s” 50th birthday today!LOL I can’t believe she remembered that I used to call him that!

    BTW.. very clever inserting the video of Marilyn Monroe’s famous Happy Birthday performance.



    • June 8, 2012
      6:09 pm

      Thanks Dawn, it was a very “Nick” kind of thing, and seemed appropriate. BTW, mom’s NEVER forget our teenage crushes!

  • June 8, 2012
    5:44 pm

    How sweet – you are so fortunate to be on good terms with you ex.

  • June 8, 2012
    6:10 pm

    Thanks, from what I hear – this birthday will be one for the record books.

  • June 8, 2012
    10:39 pm

    How beautiful comment Jewels.You were so lucky to got marry with him in 1984,and you are so lucky now to have his friendship,you are someone i would like to look alike,and to be.I hope your life is much better now and you are happy.Thanks for what you told about Nick in your comment,I admire him with my heart and i wish him all the best in his birthday. Have a Nice day Noelia xoxoxoxx

  • June 9, 2012
    9:55 am

    First of all, you are a comedy tease. I want to hear the singing!! haha and what did poor Tatjana get her daddy? I have the same problem. My dad can and does buy himself whatever he wants for his b-day and unluckily for me his b-day is always on Father’s Day June 17th. But I am not singing…NO!!Besides he is bringing my 5ft3in red hair pixie prezzie in a month -I cannot compete!! lol

  • June 9, 2012
    9:24 am

    Thank you Noelia, but you should always want to be you!

    • June 9, 2012
      6:20 pm

      thanks very much for replying Julie Anne,you are right i should want to be me,im dealing with this since ling time ago.Ill follow your advice.Kisses

  • June 9, 2012
    10:06 am

    You know, I forgot to ask her what she gave him? Tatjana is a ninja shopper though – inherited that trait from her dad, so I’m sure she found something clever.

    She gave me the coolest Xman gift this year – it’s a little metal perfume pump bottle that I fill right from my eau de cologne, and can travel with in my handbag easily and to TSA regulations. I LOVE it.

    We are both getting our daughters in July! Tatjana just decided to come home for a few weeks, so I’m ecstatic. I know exactly how excited you are.

  • June 9, 2012
    9:54 pm

    Time honestly does fly! Well the “baby” of the band has now joined the 50’s club. Congrats and Happy (for the 8th).. I can just imagine his chuckle.
    I was due to celebrate my own b’day today with extended family however I have had to cancel due to an awful cold. Unfortunately winter has set in Oz and everyone home has a cold. Even my poor 14 week old baby “jack”.
    Will have to dig up some jewels comfort food to get me back on track.

    • June 10, 2012
      6:15 pm

      Get well quick Aussie Mum – can’t have you and baby Jack ill for long! Hope Mia is well.

  • June 9, 2012
    9:58 pm

    By the way……love the pic and pendant on you Jewels.

    • June 10, 2012
      6:16 pm

      Thanks – it was a birthday gift from a close friend, and it makes me feel so good when I wear it.

  • June 10, 2012
    1:30 pm

    I’m in stitches, reading this post, and at the same time in Awe for you; I have the same problem. I hate my own voice, since I was a kid. It sounds like I’m still 9 years old. And not being able to stand, because of my disability, makes it even more worse, as I don’t have any control over my breathing that way. In Primary school I always playbacked. as soon as the teacher came up to me, to listen, I sang for real, but as soon as he turned around again I stopped again.
    2 Years ago I decided I wanted to overcome my fear, and went to a self-called ‘therapist’. It was definitely no succes: I got really terrible nightmares, and started being ‘sick’ every week. So in the end in 6 months I was there only 3x in 6 months.
    My compliments to you!

    • June 10, 2012
      6:18 pm

      I like to sing with the music blasting in my car (I’m usually alone). Sometimes I’ll forget when Tatjana is home, and turn to find her looking at me exactly as her father did 30 years before!

  • June 10, 2012
    3:13 pm

    I have the opposite problem: I think I’m a much better singer than I really am!

    • June 10, 2012
      6:19 pm

      ROTLMAO – shall we audition for Duets?

  • June 17, 2012
    1:38 am

    Hello Jewels! Your site is amazing and props to you for all your success! I remember seeing the pics of you and Nick when you married long ago in all the publications. Back then, my Duranie heart was hella envious (smiles). Your gown was to die for! I chuckled with glee at the wonderful post to sing for Nick’s 50th.

    That you can maintain a friendship today, after divorce, is wonderful. I am married, 20 years as of 5/29/12, no kids. My parents divorced when I was very young. They did not, could not, keep something alive for me and my two brothers sake. I’m blessed that Mom held it together and on Xnas Eve 2005 my Dad finally explained his side after being gone over 25 years! Props to you and Nick for allowing the space AND making the best for Tatjana through it all.

    Jewels, I wish you more continued success!