The toyboy husband of Phil Collins’ ex-wife has revealed he bonded with the musician over a shared love of history.
Thomas Bates, 31, who is married to Orianne Cevey, 47, told how he chatted with Phil, 70, about the history of World War II the first of three times they have met.
Speaking to The Sun, he said: ‘Personally, Phil was always very cordial to me. The first time I met him we had a brief conversation about European history and World War Two. It was a nice interaction and he shook my hand.’
Meeting: The toyboy husband of Phil Collins’ ex-wife has revealed he bonded with the musician over a shared love of history
Thomas, who admitted to attempting to play Phil’s hit In The Air Tonight with his old band, said he hopes the rocker and Orianne reconnect, if only for the sake of their sons Nicholas, 19, and Matthew, 16.
He said: ‘I don’t wish anything bad. I want them to have a good relationship together for the sake of their kids.
‘There are graduations and marriages and all these milestones. That is much bigger than all of this as far as I’m concerned.’
Orianne and Thomas secretly married in August, 2020 after just four months of dating.
Conversation: Thomas Bates, 31, who is married to Orianne Cevey, 47, told how he chatted with Phil, 70, about the history of World War II the first of three times they have met Phil pictured with Orianne in 2016)
Phil took his ex-wife to court to force her out of his £30m mansion, with Thomas calling the movie ‘petty and vindictive’ but insisted he has never had any personal problems with the musician.
It comes after Orianne said she felt like she was ‘trapped in a golden cage’ when she was staying with the pop star while he fell into an alcohol-fuelled depression.
In January this year, Orianne moved out of Phil’s Miami mansion with her new husband after they paid $5.5m for the sprawling six-bed property in Fort Lauderdale before Christmas.
The 47-year-old said she decided to elope and marry Thomas after becoming lonely last year.
She told the Sun: ‘I felt like I was trapped in a golden cage. When someone’s depressed, it’s hard to help them out.
‘As much as you love them, why would you keep it up? After years, you get fed up. ‘Phil didn’t take care of himself.
Honest: Orianne recently claimed she felt like she was ‘trapped in a golden cage’ when staying with ex-husband Phil at their Miami mansion. Pictured: The couple pictured in 2016
‘If he wasn’t taking care of himself, you can imagine he wasn’t taking care of me.
‘It is hard. You feel lonely and you feel like you don’t have anybody you can talk to. I was super-sad and super-unhappy.’
She told the newspaper Phil drank alcohol all day and refused to go out and see friends and that she was staying in a separate room, eventually beginning to see other men.
Phil tried to have his ex-wife kicked out last October after finding out that she secretly remarried and moved Thomas, an aspiring musician 38 years his junior, into the $40m home.
Orianne hit back, however, refusing to leave and claiming she was entitled to half its value under a ‘verbal cohabitation agreement’.
Her counterclaim for $20m is yet to be go to trial but in the meantime the two sides agreed a deal where she could stay until late January, giving her time to find a new residence for herself and Phil’s youngest sons, Matthew and Nicholas.
New love: Orianne Cevey married husband Thomas (right) in August last year after she says she began to feel lonely when ex Phil (left) would drink all day and refuse to see his friends
That was a rare moment of compromise between the former couple, who divorced in 2006 but reconciled and lived together in Miami from 2016 to 2019.
The legal battle has otherwise been bitterly contested with Orianne and her attorneys angering a Miami judge by including a slew of humiliating personal remarks about the drummer’s hygiene and sexual performance in her filings, which she was ordered to remove.
Phil’s attorneys hit back by ridiculing Orianne’s claims to have a crippling spinal condition that requires hours of daily therapy, questioning how she could post photos of herself doing a boxing fitness class and riding a jet ski while insisting that she couldn’t sit still long enough for a deposition.
The former flames married in 1999 and had their sons Nicholas and Matthew before splitting seven years later.
Despite agreeing to a record $47m divorce settlement they surprised the world in 2016 when they announced they were back together and living in the Miami home, which Phil purchased through an LLC.
However the relationship ended, seemingly for good, when he discovered Orianne had ‘secretly’ married Thomas in Las Vegas on August 2.
Former flame: Orianneand Phil married in 1999 and had sons Nicholas, 19, and Matthew, 15, before splitting seven years later
According to court filings, the Against All Odds crooner left in a hurry for Switzerland and gave the couple until October 12 to pack their bags and move so he could put the plush property up for sale.
When they failed to leave, Phil sued Orianne for unlawful detainer and forcible entry, accusing the pair of hiring armed guards, covering over security cameras and changing alarm codes to seize the house ‘by a show of force.’
The newlyweds hit back with their own filing, dismissing the allegations as ‘nothing more than a retaliation’ to the new marriage and a ‘shameful story’ that Phil had ‘fabricated’.
Orianne argues that she surrendered a $20m stake in her previous Miami home by getting a ‘quickie divorce’ from her previous husband, Charles Mejjati.
In further filings – now struck from the record – she portrayed Phil as a washed-up has-been who relied on booze and painkillers.
The In the Air Tonight crooner was ‘usually drunk by mid-morning’, her attorneys alleged, to the point that Phil would fall over and injure himself before checking into the hospital under an alias.
The filing provoked an immediate rebuttal from the Collins camp, who described it as ‘a litany of demonstrably false, immaterial, impertinent, scandalous and scurrilous allegations which have nothing to do with the legal claims in this case.’
Judge Spencer Eig agreed, striking the humiliating allegations from the record and warning Orianne that her $20m counterclaim would be thrown out if she repeated them.
History: Phil tried to have his ex-wife kicked out last October after finding out that she secretly remarried and moved Thomas, an aspiring musician 38 years his junior (Orianne and Phil pictured in March 2003)