Montag, 6. Mai 2002

Interview Robert Newkirk

SHE might be only just over five feet tall but pop diva Anastacia has the biggest voice in the charts. She has already sold more than six million albums, dueted with Elton John and was chosen to open next month's World Cup in front of one billion people with her hit song Boom.
However, behind the multi-platinum record success is the story of a bitter family rift.
She hasn't seen her father for 13 years and once admitted that she didn't know if he was alive or dead.
But today we can reveal that her dad Bob Newkirk is alive and well. And astonishingly, he had no idea that the soulful voice he had often heard on his car radio belonged to the daughter he knew as plain Stacey Newkirk.
Last night, after he was tracked down to his home in St Louis, Missouri, Bob, 65, broke down in tears as her identity was revealed.
Now he is desperate to heal their rift.
Bob, who had a heart attack two years ago, said: "I had no idea Anastacia was my daughter. But she is still Stacey to me and I want her to come back before it is too late."
Anastacia has admitted she inherited her voice from her father, a nightclub singer for 30 years.
But while she wows sell-out crowds in New York and London with worldwide hits including Not that Kinda Girl and I'm Outta Love, Bob tours old people's homes with a portable karaoke machine and croons old Frank Sinatra numbers.
Anastacia has told how she lost contact with her father after his divorce from her showgirl mother Diana.
She said: "As to my father, I haven't seen him since I was 17. My choice. I didn't see the point.
"It was more nerve-racking seeing him than not. Just a bad relationship. I felt like, 'I call you Dad, but why?'
"I don't know anything about what he is doing or who he is. I don't want to search him out. I don't know if he has passed away, if I have half-brothers or sisters."
But Bob, who is now married to second wife Suzi, was upset that falling out with Diana meant that his relationships with Anastacia, her elder sister Shawn, 36, and younger brother Brian, 31, were wrecked.
"It is not true that Stacey doesn't know where I live," he says. "She knows my address and phone number. The last time I saw her was in New York and we met for lunch with my new wife. Everything seemed fine.
"But the next thing I knew I rang her number and it had been changed. The children are adults now and should hear my side of the story."
As well as changing her name to find fame, Anastacia has also altered her date of birth. She claims to be 29, but Bob recalls the day she was born as September 1968, making her 34 next birthday.
Bob was once the resident singer on a hit national radio show and he sang the lead role in several musicals. He has also made a couple of records, but failed to make the bigtime.
He says his favourite recording is a tape of Stacey, aged six, singing Everything is Beautiful on stage at one of his concerts.
"Stacey would do a solo and sing Jesus Loves The Little Children," says Bob. "All my kids sang. They were so cute. On the tape you hear Stacey's voice and you know she had something going for her even at that age. She was a natural.
"When I was making my living as a singer I used to take her to rehearsals and she just walked up on stage like she was born to do it.
"She was the one with the talent - she always had the pizzazz. I didn't discourage her."
AFTER marrying Diana in 1965 in Chicago, the couple moved around the US to Miami and eventually to New York as Bob followed his career.
But long periods away from home while he was working put strain on the marriage and the couple divorced 10 years later.
"My wife became a born-again Christian. Then one day she just announced she didn't love me any more," says Bob. "She just took off with the kids."
Bob then began a long-distance relationship with his children as they eventually settled with their mother in Los Angeles.
Despite the thousands of miles between them, Bob claims he was determined to remain part of their lives.
"I would fly them in three or four times a year," he said. "I used to take them with me when I was doing shows.
"I didn't want to leave the kids with a babysitter, so I would put them all in the car and we would practise songs on the way.
"I thought if I made it fun for them and they did a couple of numbers with me on stage they wouldn't get bored. I would record them so when we drove home they would have something to listen to.
Bob, who now earns his main living carrying out health checks on customers at supermarkets, said: "When my ex-wife moved again to LA, it became stupid. She got remarried and made it very hard.
"When I married again I asked her if Brian could be my best man, but she refused point blank. She wouldn't even let him come to the wedding.
"My relationship with the kids became so difficult because of the distance, and the last time I saw Stacey was when she was living in New York. She was just getting into music and had done some backing singing for Mariah Carey."
Anastacia recently revealed that she has suffered from the bowel disorder Crohn's Disease since she was a child.
Bob recalls: "My wife and I had lunch with Stacey and I took her to the doctors for treatment for her problem.
"I was there when she had an operation on her stomach. She was amazing - she didn't have any complications. She just bounced right back as if nothing had happened.
"We parted on good terms, then I had some conversations with her on the phone and she didn't appear to have her head tied on too good. She seemed not too sure where she was going or what she was doing and I wasn't too sure who she was hanging out with.
"That's when she changed her phone number. The line had been disconnected and there was no forwarding number.
"She just vanished. I had no way of finding out where she was. It was a nightmare.
"It is not right that she doesn't know where I am. I am not holding any grudge and I certainly hope she's not because we never had any words or anything. She just disappeared from the face of the earth, along with Shawn and Brian.
"There was nothing I could do. Her mother influenced her greatly. It got very ugly. It is impossible when a mother tries to make the children hate their father for whatever reason.
"I've tried to contact Stacey, Shawn and Brian, but they haven't made any effort to call me.
"You can only excuse them to a certain degree because once they grew up they should have been able to see the big picture.
"There is nothing they can say about me and our relationship as father and children that was anything but positive.
"I haven't moved in 12 years. I am in the same place and they are certainly aware of where I'm living. My number is in the phone book, so Stacey is being not too truthful when she says she doesn't know where I am.
"I was trying to track her down and I didn't know how to do it. I would love to talk with her. Let it be her choice.
"It is so silly - people ask me what I hear from the kids and I say, 'Nothing'. They can't believe it.
"I had no idea Stacey had become famous. Anastacia meant nothing to me. But I went out and bought her CD and she is fantastic. She definitely got her voice from me.
"I am so happy for her that she has had so much success."
Bob settled in St Louis with his second wife where they still care for his stepdaughter Cherie, who was blinded in a teenage car accident.
"Cherie plays Stacey's records and would love to meet her," says Bob.
"I would just love to have the opportunity to talk to my daughter and tell her how much I have missed her.
"I am so proud of her, but the fame doesn't matter, I would just like to meet her and see if we can start again. I don't want her to leave it until it is too late."

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