Paul O’Grady’s daughter breaks silence over sudden death of TV icon
The devastated daughter of entertainer Paul O’Grady has opened up about the shock death of her father earlier this week.
Sharon Mousley, 48, is the only child of the late TV and radio star Paul, who , at the age of 67. And mum-of-two Sharon has opened up about her sadness, and says the whole family has been left shocked by Paul’s death.
Paul had a close bond with his daughter, who was born when he was just 18. Before marrying his partner Andre Portasio, the star lived with friend and former work colleague Diane Jansen, now 76, on a rural farm together in Kent for a number of years.
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Sharon told the MailOnline that Paul’s entire family are heartbroken by his death. “What can I say? We are all devastated, I am, my mum is, everyone is. We loved him and we will miss him,” she said: “We are all distraught.”
Paul gave Sharon away on her wedding day when she swapped vows with Philip Mousley and he was also a proud grandfather as Sharon and Philip welcomed a son named Abel in 2006 and a daughter named Halo in 2009. Recalling the ceremony, Paul said: “It was a really great day. Sharon looked fabulous and Philip is a smashing fella. They fit together like a pan and a lid. Sharon wore a lovely floaty pink dress – because she looks shocking in white. She looked like a Disney princess.”
Paul was close to his grandchildren and shared a picture of Abel on his Instagram account in December, writing “This little monster is 16 today. Happy Birthday Abel love GanGan xx.”
In his autobiography, The Devil Rides Out, Paul thought back to the day of Sharon’s arrival – and how he caused fits of laughter in the maternity ward when he went to meet her while surrounded by other new parents. He wrote: “Diane, sitting on the bed, her face flushing a bright red to equal mine, was just as embarrassed by the situation as I was. She quickly said, ‘Why don’t you have a look at her?”
Paul recalled how he caused laughter in the ward when he went to the wrong cot and another mother had said: ‘You’re looking at the wrong baby, mate. That one’s mine, yours is over there’. He said: “This went down a treat with the mums and nurses, setting them off screaming with laughter and me scuttling over to take a peep at my own child, feeling more like Carabosse than a loving father.”
Paul’s sudden death on Tuesday was revealed by his husband, Andre Portasio, who said in a statement on Wednesday: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.
“We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss. He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion. I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”
His death was met with an outpouring of emotion from fans and fellow celebrities alike – with many taking to social media and the airwaves to pay tribute to him and his incredible life.
Paul, who rose to fame with his drag queen persona Lily Savage, was also married to a woman once for 28 years, but it was a marriage of convenience. It came about when he started working at a gay club called Showplace in 1976, two years after daughter Sharon was born.
There he met a Portuguese model called Teresa Fernandes, who also happened to be gay and was facing deportation. To stop her being kicked out the country, Paul agreed to tie the knot with Teresa in May 1977 as a ‘marriage of convenience’.
They eventually divorced in 2005 after Paul’s manager warned everything would go to Teresa were something to happen to him. Paul said: “I had no idea we were still married until my manager Brendan said: ‘If anything happened to you, everything would go to your wife. It’s like a real-life Corrie storyline.”