How we met: Amanda Eliasch & Belinda Carlisle

Anna Melville
Sunday 21 February 1999 00:02

Amanda Eliasch, 38, was born in Beirut. After studying drama in London she took up photography, and was dubbed the new Cartier- Bresson by Charles Saatchi. She has recently had her first major London exhibition, 'Three Way Mirror', in which she showed her pictures of the female form. She now lives in London with her husband, Johann, and their two sons

Belinda Carlisle, 40, began singing with the American girl-band the Go-Gos at the age of 17. She released her first solo album, 'Belinda', in 1986; her second album, 'Heaven on Earth', included the hit songs Circles In The Sand and I Go Weak. She is doing an acoustic tour of Britain until 4 March. She lives in London with her husband, Morgan, and their son

AMANDA ELIASCH: I met Belinda at Roger Moore's house in the South of France four years ago. I didn't know who she was, but she wouldn't talk to me at first and I tried every topic of conversation I could think of. Eventually we got on to the subject of dogs, and once she started talking about them she couldn't stop. My mother breeds whippets, so I like to think I'm an expert. The next day I rang her at her house in Antibes and she invited me over. The first thing I saw was a big black and white fake cow standing by her swimming pool and I thought, "Aha! This is very kitsch and wonderful." Initially I thought Belinda was very attractive and very quiet. In fact she's very chatty, but she waits to see if she likes you before she becomes her outrageous self.

Two years ago Belinda and her husband came to live in England and that's when the friendship took off. They had moved from LA to Antibes and then to England, so she didn't know a lot of people when she got here. We soon realised how much we had in common. In a way Belinda and I view our friendship as destiny because there are so many connections. We're both interested in conspiracies and fate and we're inquisitive. Life's so short and you have to make the most of it, so we cram every day with 20 different things.

The great thing is that you can say or do the most outrageous things and Belinda will never judge you - most friends will tell you that you can't do this or that. We don't meddle in each other's lives, so it's a very fair relationship.We were on holiday in Thailand recently and we ended up in a karaoke bar. Belinda was forced to sing about 20 numbers in the style of a monkey for a dare. She was a great sport - strangely, although she doesn't mind performing for 2,000 people, she really hates singing in front of a small group. We're fairly synchronised. If one of us is in a bad mood, usually the other is too. Belinda meditates, which she has tried to teach me to do. She says, "I go in through this tunnel," and I say, "What is this tunnel?" All I can do is sit still for a bit. I could probably learn to be a bit more Zen.

The big difference between us is music. My mother was an opera singer and my grandmother a concert pianist, and they only liked classical music. If I put on a pop record they would tell me to turn it off, so I only listen to classical. I don't like pop, and Belinda is always saying to me, "You have to learn!" Apart from that, I'd say there are more similarities than differences between us, because if there are too many differences I normally can't make it with someone.

Belinda has a great sense of integrity. Nothing I say is repeated and so she never causes trouble. Most of the friends you trust are those you've known for 10 years. I've known Belinda for a fraction of that, and yet pretty soon I knew that we would always be loyal to one another. I can't see our friendship ending, although according to Nostradamus we're in for a bit of a dodgy period when all the planets line up in 2005.

BELINDA CARLISLE: Four years ago my husband and I were living in France, and we were on our way to a party one evening when an Aston Martin convertible, driven by a blonde babe with sunglasses and scarf round her head, stalled in front of us. "How embarrassing to stall in a car like that," we thought. When we got to the party there she was, the blonde babe, Amanda. She and I got talking because she was staying at the Hotel du Cap close to our house. Amanda says I wouldn't talk at all at first, and the only subject that made me open up was dogs. She is so gregarious and outlandish that people don't know what to make of her at first. I was as intrigued as anyone, but I'm not good in social situations - I clam up. Part of me is very shy.

Because we have boys the same age, we made a playdate for them later that week. After that I would see Amanda whenever she and her husband came to France, but our friendship really developed when Morgan and I moved to England two years ago. Amanda was the first friend I had here and I would call her about doctors or where to go for this and that. I tend to stay in a lot, so if she hadn't heard from me in a while she would assume I was buried in my home and come and get me out. I live in North London and nowadays I'll see Amanda at least once a week, usually on a Saturday, when we have a girly lunch with another friend. We talk on the phone about 10 times a day.

She's introduced me to a world I had no idea existed. In LA, you seem to meet only one sort of person. Through Amanda I've met all sorts, and been introduced to a lot of art and classical music. I think I complement her with my conspiracy theories, stories about alien abduction and by introducing her to all the latest paranoid stuff. We're opposites, yet similar; I think we're both a little eccentric. There seems to be a definite pattern in the sort of people I pick for my friends; most of them are really loud - I'm always the quieter one.

Amanda's hysterically funny. I call her the stinkpot, because she's always up to no good. She reminds me of Lucille Ball, always with some mischief going on. We went trekking in Thailand together, and she always wears these outlandish shoes, so I told her I'd buy her a pair of sensible trainers. She decided to buy her own and found these enormous Baby Spice ones with heels. We spent a week living in the same hotel rooms, and she didn't get on my nerves at all, although we did have a bet on about how much her mobile phone bill was going to be. She couldn't stop phoning people back in England to tell them what we were doing. Once we were up in the mountains visiting hill tribes and I looked in her purse and found her mobile phone on. I went frantic, telling her to turn it off in case it rang and everyone thought she was a witchdoctor.

Some friendships can be hard to maintain, but ours just seems to work. It's hard to pinpoint what makes a friendship because it's so intangible; it's like the x-factor that makes people fall in love, and is probably a similar process. Life is unpredictable and I like it that way, but wherever I am and wherever she is, I know there will always be a connection between us.

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