Following the bizarre twists and turns of Kate Moss's life is hard work. Amidst the wild parties and romantic entanglements, Moss seems unlikely to ever settle into a regular pattern of life. Now, it is reported, the supermodel has asked her ex-partner Jefferson Hack to father another child with her. The response of long-suffering steady-eddie Hack, seen quietly toting their three-year-old daughter Lila Grace around while Kate is on another photoshoot, has not been recorded.
Even by the convoluted standards of Kate Moss, this seems to be a rather far-out idea. Can you imagine it?
Well... yes. The same thought goes through my mind. I mention it to my friends, and have raised it in a sheepish way with my recently ex-husband. Back in the land of singledom, the prospect of having another child has vanished. I might be unusual in finding being a single parent a pleasure but that does not mean I want my child to grow up as a single entity herself.
The new men on the scene can't seem to transform themselves in my imagination into father figures. They might be more appropriate than Kate's bunch but my foreign journalist with a death wish, the computer geek who is forever sending me links to technical sites, and a psychologist who seems to want me as a case study, don't look the material to take on me, my daughter, and my family history. So who better than my lovely ex, tried and tested in the field at waking at four in the morning to change nappies, well up on children's literature and preparation of sausage and mash for tea.
While our five-year relationship faltered eight months ago over some fundamental character differences, I could find few faults in his fathering of our three-year-old. If it was not a relationship I was looking for but a solid, reliable father, he ticks many boxes - lives down the road, has relatively flexible work, takes some of the burden with a solid shared-care agreement. Moreover, our separation has been for the most part good-natured and, arguably, better run than the marriage.
Kate Moss may not be my single-parent role model, but there are benefits to not having a partner. The squabbles about discipline are gone, my daughter and I can eat last night's chocolate cake in bed for breakfast without disapproving glances, and family time is clearly delineated against my free time, so there is no guilt about late nights out with friends. Why not add another child to the mix?
The trouble is, all these imaginings of further children revolve around what I want. In more lucid moments I remember there are three other people involved - my ex, my daughter, and this mythical new baby who would be born into a strange arrangement even by modern standards. Would what is convenient for me now be desirable for any of us three years down the line?
I am not the first who has thought this way. But asking around friends, I discover such a family model is not always the stroll in the park that I fondly imagine. Anna, a friend of a friend, decided, at the age of 40, that she had no chance of children other than asking her old boyfriend to produce the required genetic material. Before she knew it she had a small baby in her arms, and an ex turning up with roses begging her to get married. "I wanted the father involved in my child's life, but not in mine," she tells me. "And that wasn't realistic. There was always going to be how he was to deal with too. I didn't manage it too well, and he got rather hurt."
Another woman I spoke to, Linda, had split up with Simon after a six-year marriage and things were going so well that they became a little too cosy on their old sofa after their three-year-old son's birthday party. "We got on terribly well as friends so when I found out I was pregnant, it didn't seem like the worst thing in the world," Linda says. "Both of us, I think, felt a little guilty not having had another child for the sake of our son, and suddenly the opportunity arose. Simon is still a really lovely guy. I think we will work out a good system. He comes round every weekend to see our boy so it would be just building on that."
So why am I left feeling that, deep down, she's hoping the baby will bring them back together? I am starting to consider whether this vision of harmonious, semi-attached families is a little idealistic, and deliberately blind to the vicious undertow of human emotions.
Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist with expertise in families, agrees. "It seems an extraordinary situation for Kate Moss to suggest," she says. "An ex-partner is an ex because you couldn't manage to stay together. That in itself guarantees there will be difficulties in communication. This is a risky approach.
"In principle, it's no more difficult than divorce," she says. "But when you choose a broken family situation, I'm not sure you can justify that as in the best interests of the child."
Karen Barham, a divorce lawyer-turned-mediator, is more positive. "You would avoid some of the problems that can come with half-siblings - rivalry, for example, if dad No 2 is on the scene. The children would not be treated differently."
When I mention my considerations to my friend Elizabeth, I am upbraided. She reminds me how her ex-husband pleaded with her to have more children. "The way I see it, it took him a while to realise that it was over," she says.
"Imagine you went through with it. You would stop being separated parents who respect the fact that each of you brings up kids differently, because it has become a joint decision again. You will be back in the position you started with - dictating how the other behaves. You have to separate."
My ex-husband is pretty sceptical. I think he thinks I'm being driven by rogue reproductive urges. After thinking about it, I hope Jefferson Hack will be similarly circumspect.Reuse content